CB Learning Academy – Blog
Helpful Hints (3 of 5): Maximizing Your SAT English Scores
- March 2, 2016
- Posted by: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Category: Uncategorized
With spring just around the corner, our staff at Central Bucks Learning Academy has put together a series of helpful hints for students preparing for the SAT and ACT exams. Over the next couple of weeks, these posts will cover a variety of topics such as test anxiety, skills, and strategies to conquer even the most difficult questions.
Please note the SAT and ACT exams have different names for the grammatical portion of their exam. The New SAT uses the title, “Writing and Language Test,” while the ACT simply calls it the “English Test” section. As both of these sections cover very similar content, many of the same skills apply for both. For simplicity sake, we will refer to them as either the “Verbal” or “English” exams.
5 Tips to Maximize Your SAT English Scores
Understanding the Test Layout:
Unlike the reading portion of the exams, skipping around on the English section can lead to big problems. As students make their way through the passages, they are tested less on the specific content of the passage, but rather more on the way its ideas are ordered and written. For example, they are asked to reorder a sentence in a logical manner or correct a variety of grammatical errors. The questions are laid out to follow the order of the passages, so answering them in order makes the most sense. While taking the SAT and ACT exams, be aware of how much time you spend on one particular question. On a timed test such as the SAT or ACT, it doesn’t make sense to waste five minutes answering a difficult question, when that time could be better used to correctly answer five easier questions instead. All of the questions carry the same value, regardless of their difficulty level, so accumulate as many points as possible.
Who vs. Whom:
For many people, including adults, the proper use of the word “whom” can cause them to scratch their heads. Throughout both the SAT and ACT verbal sections, many students struggle with questions that require them to understand how to use this word correctly. Central Bucks Learning Academy has a very simple solution that’s easy to understand. If you can replace the word with “he/she” the proper usage is “who.” If the word “him/her” fits better, use “Whom.” It’s that simple! Now lets take it a little further. Say this out loud, “Whom, him?” Say it a couple times and it should be locked in your head forever. You can thank us later when you see it on your next exam.
While working through both the SAT and ACT verbal sections, students will be faced with a variety of punctuation problems. Test takers will be required to order sentences correctly while using commas, colons, and semi-colons. At Central Bucks Learning Academy we recommend that you brush up on your basic grammar skills before taking on either of these exams. As you prepare, keep in mind that students are not required to identify the parts of speech, so focusing on your punctuation rules would be a much better use of your time. If you struggle with the grammar and usage rules, contact Central Bucks Learning Academy. A couple of sessions with one of our tutors can make a world of difference in your verbal exam scores.
Identify What is Changing in the Question
As you move through the exam, understanding what the question is asking is the most important aspect of good test taking. In the English sections of the SAT and ACT, students will need to identify what is changing in the answer choices. Certain questions will not actually have a specific question, rather just a series of answer choices. If there is a specific question being asked, pay attention to exactly what is being asked, as there will be trap answer choices available for careless test takers to fall into. Ultimately, both the SAT and ACT exams look for answer choices that are concise, detailed, and consistent, so make sure to keep these characteristics in mind when approaching your next exam.
Throughout both the SAT and ACT exams, students will be faced with questions that test their understanding of apostrophes. For example, test takers will need to know the usage difference between the words “there, their, and they’re” They will need to delineate between the use of an apostrophe to mean possession or instead to create a contraction of two words. Many of these apostrophe rules are taught to students in the elementary and middle school grades, so it is a good idea to review these basic rules to maximize your score.
At Central Bucks Learning Academy we put the individual child’s needs first! If you need assistance developing a study plan or are in need of SAT and/or ACT tutoring, contact us today and we will be happy to help! To learn more about our upcoming programs and specials follow us on Facebook or on the CB Learning Academy Blog.
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Central Bucks Learning Academy
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