That’s a fair amount of practice tests, but if I’m reading you right, you haven’t been doing much reviewing as you went along. Which is probably why you probably haven’t seen the kind of improvements you want to see yet.
Here’s how you review a test:
Reading: First, learn every vocab word you don’t know, whether you got the question it was in right or not. Don’t forget that vocab appears in the passages, too. Second, make sure you understand why any wrong answer choice you chose was wrong. This is, arguably, more important than understanding why the right answer was right. No shortcuts here. It’s been a long time since you’ve read those passages, so go back, reread them, and figure out why the answer choice you chose was wrong. Are there patterns in the kinds of mistakes you’re making?
Writing: It’s important that you understand the basic rules being tested in this section. Lucky for you, there aren’t too many. But you should learn them before you go back through your tests, since what you’re going to want to do when you go through the test is categorize the mistakes you made. For example, how many times did you get dangling modifier questions wrong? How about verb agreement, or pronoun agreement? Use the frequency of the kinds of errors you’re making to help you focus your studies going forward.
Math: When you’re reviewing math, you should be categorizing mistakes a few ways. First, figure out which ones you can’t believe you missed because they’re so easy, but you somehow missed. If there are a lot of these, then you’re not being careful enough. Next, figure out which ones you were close on, but your knowledge of the content just didn’t quite allow you to get all the way there. For these, obviously, you need to brush up on the content (e.g. function notation, angle rules, exponent rules, etc.) or, possibly, learn it for the first time. You can’t pwn SAT math if you don’t know the underlying math. Once you’re good on content, techniques like plugging in and backsolving will be all the more useful, as some of the more difficult questions will often lend themselves nicely to a blended math and technique approach.
Hope that helps…
If you divide 3.4 million by 2 and then subtract 34,000 from Brian’s side, then the vote total isn’t 3.4 million anymore—it’s 3.4 million – 34,000. If you add 34,000 to Susan’s side to make the vote total 3.4 million again, now there’s a difference of 68,000 votes between Brian and Susan. This is the mistake LOTS of people make, and the reason I put that question in the Backsolve chapter. (Backsolving helps avoid this easy-to-make error.)
It might help to think about this with simpler numbers. If 100 people vote, and Brian loses by 2 votes, then he loses 51 to 49. The way you’re doing it he’d lose 50 to 48 (not 100 votes anymore) or 52 to 48 (really losing by 4 votes). Does that make sense?
If you want to do it with math, divide 3.4 million by two, then subtract 17,000 from Brian’s side and add 17,000 to Susan’s side. Now you’ve got Brian losing by 34,000, like the question said he did.
It probably won’t hurt, but there’s no such thing as a guarantee like that.
When you’re plugging in with geometry, you just need to make sure you follow the basic geometry rules. In this case, the angles in a triangle must add up to 180º, and a straight line must equal 180º.
Try plugging in 60º for each angle inside the triangle. That makes the supplement of each of those angles 120º, so each marked angle is 60º + 120º + 120º = 300º
Note: this will work with any other combination of angles that add up to 180º. When the SAT gives you a geometric figure with no angles filled in, chances are good that whatever it’s asking about is going to be true for ALL iterations of that kind of figure.
Yep! The question tells you that the two segments have equal lengths. Since you get the full coordinates of both points that form segment CD, you can figure out its length. The distance between (–4, –3) and (6, –3) is 10. Therefore, the length of AB must also be 10.
So the question becomes: what point is a distance of 10 straight down from the point (–2, 3)? To figure that out, just count 10 steps down. You’ll go to (–2, 2), then (–2, 1), then (–2, 0), etc. all the way down to (-2, –7).
So t = –7.
Sure! The first (and probably most important) step is to recognize that the 70º angle you’re given doesn’t really matter. See how it’s completely contained in the angle marked xº? So let’s redraw the diagram without that obfuscatory angle.
There. Not so bad now, right?
These angles must add up to 360º, so you can set up a simple equation:
360 = 90 + 30 + 110 + x
360 – 90 – 30 – 110 = x
130 = x
And there you have it!
Hey there. First, why the frowny face after a 2140? That’s an enviable position to be in at the end of your junior year, with the whole summer ahead of you to improve!
The only soft copy of the Math Guide is the one on Google Play. It’s the first edition (I haven’t gotten around to putting the second edition up since, honestly, there’s not much demand for the electronic version. Seems like everyone wants to do the same as you and scribble all over it. :)
If you’d like another hard copy, send me an email (mike-at-pwnthesat.com). I have been known to do give a hefty repeat buyer discount for students who want second copies.
That sounds like overkill to me. Taking practice tests is how you measure what you’ve learned—not how you actually learn. You shouldn’t take a practice test until you’ve learned every lesson the previous test you took has to teach you.
That really depends on how many you already know. But that’s not the answer you’re looking for. :)
In my experience, it’s not really realistic to learn more than 20 or so words a day really well. I believe in quality over quantity, so rather than trying to cram 50 words a day or something, focus on learning a more modest number really well.
Yes and no. The ones on the web are all in the book—updated, but mostly intact. The book has handwritten solutions to all of them, plus another full drill and some extra practice questions that aren’t on the web at all.
Thanks! Glad you’re finding the site helpful.
The first thing you should do (maybe you’re already doing this and just didn’t say so) is to devote crazy amounts of time to reviewing all your previous mistakes. You’ll never see those exact questions again, but understanding where you made your errors and seeing patterns in your weaknesses (do you fall apart on run-on sentences? On circle problems?) is the best way to improve.
In other words, taking lots of practice tests isn’t as important as reviewing the hell out of the tests you take. For more on this, read this post.
As for resources, I’ve got my favorites.
Because I write them as people ask for them. The ones that I haven’t answered yet are the ones nobody has asked me to answer.
If you’re talking about the Online Course you can’t access those answers unless you actually sign up for the course. So if someone like, gave you the tests, now you’ve got a bunch of tests without answers. :(
Pro tip: If you’re going to buy the online course, buy it from Amazon where it’s WAY cheaper.
I’m sure you’ll be fine. Especially if it’s a cool middle name.
Don’t they take some sort of ID number on AP exams?