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This month I want to focus on a subject many students find challenging: exponents. This post is a basic overview of exponent properties and is a good place to start when preparing for this topic. Three Rules When working with exponents, there are three major rules that govern the simplification of expressions: The first rule […]

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Did I grab your attention with the title of this blog post?  Can you guess what punctuation mark is going to be discussed?  Hint:  It’s not the question mark.  This month’s punctuation lesson is on the period!  I am sure many of you are very comfortable with when to use a period, but, since its […]

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This month’s punctuation lesson is on semicolons and colons, the use of which can cause many students to tremble! The proper use of semicolons and colons just screams sophistication, erudition, and grammatical prowess, so make sure you know when to use these marks! Note: I am including only the rules for the semicolon and colon […]

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The last two SAT Math blog posts have looked at linear and exponential functions. This month we will be focusing on the last common relationship found on the new SAT, quadratic functions. How can you identify quadratic functions? If the equation’s highest exponent is a 2, this is a quadratic function. The general equation of […]

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Last month we looked at the details of linear functions. Recall that linear functions can be identified by a constant addition or subtraction relationship in the output of a function (usually the y values). This month we will examine exponential functions which can be identified by a constant multiplication or division relationship. Exponential functions and […]

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  The apostrophe might seem like an innocuous punctuation mark, but if used incorrectly, the meaning of a word can change. Let’s review the rules for apostrophe use:   Apostrophes are used to indicate possession. For singular nouns that do not end in s, add ‘s. Example: Victoria’s aunt is kind and generous.   For […]

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  The first administration of the new SAT is right around the corner! If you took the PSAT last semester, you have had your first glance at the new material. If you have access to a practice PSAT, this is a great study resource. If not, Khan Academy (khanacademy.org) has plenty of practice problems to […]

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Unlike the old SAT, the new SAT will assess conventions of punctuation. You will be asked to observe standard punctuation practices, including within-sentence punctuation. Within-sentence punctuation includes colons, semicolons, dashes, and parentheses. This month’s focus is on dashes and parentheses. The rule is: Dashes and parentheses both separate information that is less relevant than an […]

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Out with the old, in with the new. The College Board will begin administering its revamped SAT in March 2016. If you have been preparing for the old exam, fear not; many of the skills you have been practicing will transfer to the new exam. Let’s take a closer look at which math skills are […]

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We hope you had a wonderful holiday and a well-deserved break! As the new year begins, it’s time to start thinking about the redesigned SAT, which will become a reality on March 5, 2016! Over the next few months we will be exploring the new exam’s content in more detail; for now, though, we want […]

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The Writing Section on the SAT requires that you have an understanding of subject-verb agreement, one of the most common grammatical mistakes people make. So, let’s first review how to identify the subject and verb of a sentence. A subject and verb are essential to a sentence. The verb is a word or group of […]

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Standardized tests try to avoid having students “solve for x.” Asking a question this simples leaves students the opportunity to plug in the answer choices (A – E) until they find one that works. This doesn’t necessarily test whether a student knows algebra but can instead test whether a student knows how to take a […]

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The comma: a powerful punctuation mark, indeed! While the current SAT does not assess punctuation rules, the revised SAT, being administered for the first time in March 2016, will. The current SAT, of course, has a mandatory essay component, so it’s a good idea to review some basic rules of punctuation. *Commas insert pauses to […]

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For many students, variables can complicate a question. Let’s look at an example of what I mean: The price of ground coffee beans is d dollars for 8 ounces, and each ounce makes c cups of brewed coffee. In terms of c and d, what is the dollar cost of the ground coffee beans required […]

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Welcome to a new school year! I hope everyone enjoyed a well-deserved summer break. We will continue to post relevant topics for the current SAT through January 2016. After that time, we will transition to information for the new SAT, which will be administered for the first time in March 2016.   This month, I […]

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Soon it will be time to take a well-deserved break from the academic rigors of the school year.  Be careful, though, to not let your critical reading and writing skills stagnate.  One of the best ways to prepare for the Critical Reading and Writing sections on the SAT is to read challenging works in a […]

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How did you celebrate National Grammar Day? Did you host a party? What’s that? You say you did not know March 4 is designated as National Grammar Day. Well, in 2008, National Grammar Day was established by Martha Brockenbrough, founder of the Society for the Promotion of Good Grammar. Some people celebrated by writing clever […]

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It’s been awhile since I have written about the importance of expanding your vocabulary for the SAT’s Critical Reading section, but I’m sure you remember it is extremely important you do this! I previously posted links to a number of SAT vocabulary building websites and apps, but now I’d like to share with you some […]

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You may have heard the College Board has redesigned the SAT. Beginning in March 2016, students taking the SAT will notice significant changes to the previous exam. The purpose of this blog post is to introduce the published changes and provide an unofficial timeline of the changes we except over the year. The last major […]

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Let’s talk about the importance of editing your work, both what you submit to your teachers and what you will write for the SAT essay. Editing your work is extremely important! It is a process that allows you to refine what you are trying to communicate and craft the best possible version of your work. […]

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Don’t forget to practice for the SAT Essay! I think many students tend to focus their attention and test preparation on the content covered in the multiple-choice questions of the Critical Reading, Writing, and Mathematics sections, but you can and should prepare for the essay. I have offered essay writing tips in previous posts, and […]

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If you have been prepping for the SAT or any other standardized test, you will come to the realization that standardized exams are not constantly changing – that’s what makes them standardized and beatable. Also, when we think of vocabulary, we often refer to the Critical Reading and Writing sections of the SAT. Understanding terminology, […]

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I have referenced the Grammar Girl website in previous posts, but I wanted to devote a full post to this site as I think it is a great (and entertaining!) resource for reviewing grammar rules. Don’t let the title of this site mislead you! Grammar Girl can and should be accessed by both women and […]

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The SAT Mathematics section requires students to balance time and accuracy. Being familiar with the mathematics concepts tested is only the first step in realizing your success; managing your time should be the next step in your test preparation. The Mathematics section is organized in such a way that the questions become more challenging as […]

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Preparing to take the SAT requires a lot of hard work, concentration, and time. That’s why it’s important to take some well-deserved study breaks to recharge and help you stay motivated. Check out the following movies if you’re in need of some study inspiration: Finding Forrester: Four decades ago, William Forrester won a Pulitzer Prize […]

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Effective writing is a crucial skill needed for success in both college and career. The SAT writing section is designed to assess the writing skills you have developed both in and out of school and is composed of two sections: an essay and multiple-choice questions. The multiple-choice questions will address grammar, usage, paragraph organization, and […]

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I hope that you had a lovely fall semester. The University of Arizona SAT Prep sessions were incredible, and I got to interact with an amazing group of students. Throughout these sessions, a general theme of questions emerged among the students, so I would like to answer some of these questions and highlight some SAT […]

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School’s out for summer! It’s definitely time to take a well-deserved break from the academic rigors of the school year. It’s also a time, though, to not let your critical reading and writing skills stagnate. One of the best ways to prepare for the Critical Reading and Writing sections on the SAT is to read […]

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We are at that time of the year when both students and teachers agree that it’s time for a well-deserved break. As a student intending to take the SAT, you should use some time during the summer to strengthen the skills that will be assessed on the SAT. Below are some pointers that will help […]

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As the spring semester is rapidly coming to an end, the planning for summer and fall courses begins. The priority registration period is a crucial time for students, and preparation is essential. I have found that many students forget about choosing courses ahead of time in preparation for registration. They often wait until the last […]

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One of the most important things you can do when approaching a Reading Comprehension passage is to identify the passage’s main idea, which, for the purpose of the SAT, will also include the author’s purpose in writing the passage. There will almost always be one or two questions per passage that will ask you to […]

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Students are now spending more and more time on the Internet, and their studying trends have evolved to capture this change. I would like to share with you, then, some of the great online materials available to help you prepare for the SAT Mathematics section. Khan Academy I believe this is the best starting point; […]

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It appears that spring is officially here and with that comes the realization that the semester is halfway done. YIKES!!!!  This also means we are all vulnerable to the ailment of “spring fever.” You can see it all over campus – the hypnotic look on students’ faces as the thought of sitting in a classroom […]

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Occasionally, the SAT likes to challenge our minds with really diabolical questions. To make matters worse, knowing the mathematical concept required to solve a challenging question might not guarantee that you will be able to unravel the problem. A valuable yet regularly forgotten strategy is listing things out. Many students overlook this strategy, dismissing it […]

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The ability to clearly communicate your ideas through effective writing is crucial to your success in college and career. The SAT essay is the first section you’ll complete on the exam and is designed to demonstrate how well you can develop, support, and present a point of view on a given topic. Essay topics represent […]

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The Question:  Can any 3 side lengths form a triangle? Well, that is the age-old question when you are looking at triangle problems. Triangles regularly appear on the SAT, and with knowledge of some basic properties, you can easily rock these questions. A triangle is a three-sided polygon where the sum of the interior angles […]

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Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.” -Alexander Graham Bell As the spring semester is well under way and the glow of winter rest has been extinguished, the reality of the work you need to complete may seem overwhelming.  You do not have to feel this way, though.  The key to avoid feeling […]

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SAT Sentence Completion questions test your vocabulary and your ability to understand vocabulary in the context of complex sentences.  You will be required to supply missing vocabulary words, either one or two, to a sentence chosen from a list of five possible answers.  Having a broad vocabulary is key to doing well on this section!  […]

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After the “SAT Math Content” blog post I thought it would be logical to do a follow up with a study plan for the quantitative section. My timeline will be seeking to provide a starting point and I recommend you adopt the study plan in a way that works with academic schedule. The optimal preparation […]

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Commonly, students are overwhelmed when they start reviewing the quantitative section of the SAT. After talking to a couple of students in my class, I realized that lack of knowledge of what to expect creates uncertainty which provokes fear and uneasiness among them. Here are the various mathematics concepts that students need to know: Numbers […]

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The best way to prepare for the SAT is by working hard in school and taking challenging courses.  You should also read and write as much as you can in a diversity of genres as well as improve your vocabulary and develop your problem-solving skills.  Preparing for the SAT, though, doesn’t have to entail hours […]

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You’ve spent valuable time preparing for the SAT.  Here are some suggestions on what to do the week of the exam.  This should not be a time of intense study but rather a time to organize your thoughts and materials and review important test-taking strategies. Before the Test Know the types of questions that will […]

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If you’re taking the SAT exam at the University of Arizona Testing Office, be sure to take a look at our campus map so you avoid getting lost. Getting lost causes unneeded stress, especially on test day. Avoid this stress by familiarizing yourself with campus. Visit the UA campus after school or over the weekend […]

Sometimes it’s good to listen to something other than your thoughts when preparing for the big test. The College Board agrees. Click HERE to see what’s on their playlist.

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Clothing may be the last thing on your mind the day of your SAT, but what you wear could affect your performance. Tucson weather usually ranges from warm to oven-hot! But once you go indoors, it can sometimes feel like you’re in the frozen food section at the grocery store. Go ahead and pick something […]

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Dragging around that big SAT prep book can be a pain in the neck. Get one official SAT question per day on your phone from the people who literally wrote the book on the SAT. Check out the College Board App here, and download it to your Android or iPhone today. The Official SAT Question […]

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In recent studies, researchers found that students do better on the SAT on their second or third attempt.  Cassidy Hopkins, now studying Journalism at Emerson College, took the SAT multiple times: “I’ve recently started to consider myself an SAT pro. Not because I took a bunch of SAT-prep courses, or because I got a perfect […]

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Some students keep it cool in high-stakes test situations, while others are nervous wrecks. Read about nine high school students who were asked to share their SAT story. ‘‘I have a superstition where I can’t wear any jewelry on a test day. I always wear my rattiest T-shirts and sweat pants. When I was in […]

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Follow Nathaly Lopera on her journey to get into college in this New York Times photo slideshow. …I don’t want colleges to judge me over a poor test score, when I personally know that I am better than what those scores say.” –Nathaly L. Driven to Get Into College Click here to read the full […]

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A couple of weeks ago I was teaching an SAT prep course when a student asked, “Is this how all the math questions are going to look like on the SAT? They seem to be really hard.” I could not help but wonder if all the students had the same concerns. I found myself wishing […]