Category Archives: Students & Parents

Students and their parents find great tips on choosing a college, paying for college, writing a standout college essay, and more.

Attack the SAT: What to do when your score plateaus By Allyson Evans

You’ve been studying for weeks and you’ve taken multiple practice SATs. You saw improvement on your first couple of practice tests and were feeling great! Then, you scored your most recent practice SAT and your score stayed the same (or even went down a little). What a bummer.

 

The good news is that you are not alone! At some point, almost all students see their SAT score plateau or even dip a little. So, take a deep breath, know that you’re not alone, and read the tips below to ensure your score starts going up again!  

Don’t give up.

You’re going to have ups and downs when you’re studying for the SAT. It’s inevitable. Some days, everything will just click and you’ll get more points than ever! Then, the very next day, you might miss ten questions in a row. That’s totally normal. The thing that’s going to get you ahead of the competition is your perseverance.

 

Take a day or two off to rest, and then get right back to your SAT study schedule. Follow your One Month SAT Study Plan to make sure you are covering all the topics you need to and in the right order.  While you might be tempted to deviate from the plan, now more than ever you need to stay on track. This SAT study plan was designed to help you learn everything you need to in time for the actual SAT when your score really matters.

 

Also, remember to keep your personal motivation in mind. For most students, that’s thinking about their dream colleges and the scores needed to get into those schools. If you’re not sure yet what your dream school is, check out the average NYU test scores or Georgia Tech scores to give you a sense of what some top schools want. Start by reviewing NYU Scores: What You Need to Get In and Georgia Tech SAT Scores, and then start thinking about the school that would be best for you!

 

Now that you’re back on track and holding your head up high, let’s look at a couple of specific steps you need to take to ensure your next practice SAT score is higher.

Analyze your SAT practice test results.

To keep making progress, you need to know exactly what’s working and what’s not working for you. The best way to determine what’s working is to set aside a few hours and review your most recent practice test or two. Go through all of the answers—right and wrong—to make sure you understand what you did for each question. Even for the questions you got right, you need to comprehend your approach so you can do it again next time.

 

For the questions you got wrong, take the time to understand why you got the questions wrong. Did you miss all the Algebra questions? Or did you miss the meaning of vocab questions? By noticing these patterns, you can start to see what you should focus on for the remainder of your study time. You don’t want to keep trying the same approach—now is the time to really hone in on your weaknesses and strengthen them! Find a solid SAT ebook, like the  Complete SAT Study Guide, and be sure you’ve reviewed all the best strategies and tactics for your weaker areas.

 

Also, if the pattern you’ve noticed is that you’re always short on time, the next tip will be crucial to raising your SAT score.

Pick up the pace.

To keep seeing your SAT score increase, you have to work through most, if not all, of the questions efficiently. It doesn’t matter how many times you can get a data interpretation question right if you have thirty minutes. You have to learn how to solve each question in the allotted time you are given. If your score has plateaued, you need to do some timed practice.

 

Set up your timer and try one section at a time in the allotted time. If you’re really struggling to get through all of the questions, keep an eye on the timer to help you remember how much time you have left. (Once you develop a good sense of the time you have for each question, you won’t need to look as often.) Remember to move on when you get really stuck on a problem, you don’t want to miss an easier question down the line because you got tripped up early on in the section. With a little timed practice, you’ll start to notice your efficiency increase and, no surprise, your SAT score, too!

Recap

When your SAT score plateaus, it can definitely be discouraging. Keep your chin up and stick to your study schedule. Once you’ve analyzed your strengths and weaknesses, spend a little time increasing your speed. If you do all of these things, your SAT score will start climbing back up in no time!

 

 


About the Author:

 

Allyson Evans earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and her JD from the University of Texas at Austin. She has been teaching and tutoring the LSAT since 2007, and loves helping students achieve their goals. She currently practices law in Austin, Texas. When she’s not helping students conquer the LSAT, she enjoys traveling and camping.

 

 

4 Reasons Every College Student Should Consider Studying Abroad By Robyn Scott

The college experience should allow students to start out in a stable and profitable career while also broadening their horizons and introducing them to different cultures and personality types. College helps students transition from adolescence to adulthood and gives them an opportunity to take advantage of myriad different experiences that exposes them to new environments and ideas. One of the best ways for students to broaden their horizons is by taking a semester abroad. Living in a different country helps students improve foreign language skills while immersing themselves in tons of new cultural experiences that will create memories to last a lifetime.

 

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College Application Checklist: Steps to Apply to College By Robert Morris

It’s never too early to start preparing for college applications. You keep hearing that. However, no one tells you how to prepare. What should you do? How will you apply? What documents do you need?

There are many questions on your mind, and it’s not easy to find all the right answers in a single place. There are questions you don’t even know you have and answers you don’t know you need.

 

 

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College Application: What Good Schools are Looking for in Students By Brenda Berg

So, you’re sitting down and you’re starting to write your college application, hoping to set the foundation for the rest of your career. Your college application will be your first form of communication with your preferred college and will be their first impression of you.

And you know what they say, first impressions matter! Many colleges have tight procedures for letting people in. For example, Stanford University only recently accepted 5% of their total 42,100 applicants.

 

 

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5 Tips for Writing a Strong Personal Statement By Kristen Moon

The fall college application season is here, and rising seniors around the world are pondering topics for their personal statements. They all want the same thing – an essay that will help land them in their dream university. The Common App essay prompts, as well as the UC and ApplyTexas prompts, for the 2017-2018 application cycle are all published. If you are a student just getting started, below are 5 tips for crafting a stand-out personal statement.

 

 

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Four Ways to Balance Your Social Life with Studies, and Pursue Your Passion at College By Adela Belin

The college phase is widely considered as the golden years of a student’s life. With so much to do and learn, it is the time when a student truly grows as a person. But, often, we have also seen many starry-eyed students go on to become depressed and low in spirits as enough time passes in the university. Things take on a mundane spin, and high-stress levels build up. They face severe mental problems, such as anxiety and depression, and end up being lost and conflicted. To every bright side, there is a dark one. College has the promise to provide you with the best days of your lives, but it can also be the dark chasm you can succumb yourself to if you do not manage things well.

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Everything You Need to Get a Great Score on the Fall SATs By Kristina Carroll, CollegeWeekLive

The SAT exams are approaching, and you’re probably feeling a little overwhelmed. There are many simple strategies you can take advantage of that will help you improve your score, and boost your confidence on exam day. Here are five of our favorite SAT tips and tricks.

 

 

Simplify Your Questions

There will be many instances on the SAT when questions, passages or math problems are so long that you’re overwhelmed immediately upon reading them. This is done intentionally, and there is typically some excess information that you don’t even need in order to solve the problem or find the correct answer. According to Clay Cooper of PrepExpert, one way to tackle this on the English section is to get rid of prepositional phrases that aren’t underlined, because they are often there just to lengthen the sentence and make the error harder to spot. Similarly, for the math section he recommends replacing abstracts with tangibles. In other words, if you substitute variables with simple numbers like 0 or 1, the math problem will instantly become much simpler to solve. For more PrepExpert tips and tricks, view Clay’s SAT webcast here.

Stay Calm

One of the biggest things you can do to ensure you get a great score on the exam is to prepare ahead of time and stay calm. If you wait until the day before the test to start studying, not only will you be less likely to retain the information you’re learning, but you’ll also have much more anxiety come test day. Here are some helpful tips from our friends at Noodle Pros to help you take the stress out of the SAT exam.

Take It Multiple Times

Very few students are able to reach their target score after taking the exam for the first time. It’s much more typical for students to take it two, three, or even four times before they feel like they’ve done their best. This is because the SAT is unlike exams most students are used to, and it takes some time just to get adjusted to the testing style and structure, nevermind the content. Therefore, it’s best to start taking the exams as early as possible, so you have plenty of time senior year to retake them. Check out this webcast hosted by Urvashi Keown of TestRocker, to learn how to improve your score and use it to maximize your scholarship winnings.

 Be an Active Reader

Kathy Rogers of Score at the Top recommends active reading as one of the best strategies for tackling the reading section of the SAT. This means you should read at a slow pace, underline key words, and circle important nouns, names and trigger words. At the end of every paragraph, summarize what you read, so that you’re not zooming through the passage and accidentally missing the most important parts. With so many passages, it can be very easy to start daydreaming and skimming the text rather than focusing intently on it, so it is very important to stay focused the entire time. And for more tips on raising your score, check out her webcast.

Practice Timing

The timing of standardized tests is something that affects a large amount of test-takers.  Spending several minutes on one question could actually harm your score significantly, because it will cause you to have to rush at the end, and potentially not finish the exam. Each section is timed separately, so it’s important to time how long it takes you to do certain questions in a practice test, so you have an estimate of how long it will take you on the real test. Then, look at how long you get for each section, and compare that to the number of questions in the section to get an average amount of time per individual question. Signet Education tutor Ellie Campisano’s advice for those who are taking above the recommended time per question is to not force yourself to stick to the time limit when first starting to practice. For example, if typically takes you three minutes to answer a math problem but you only get a minute and a half, don’t start practicing under that minute and a half window. Instead, work yourself up to it by starting at the time that you’re comfortable with, and practicing until you reach your goal time. For more of Ellie’s tips and tricks, check out her webcast here.

 

 

New Semester? 4 Grade-Saving Necessities You Can’t Afford to Skimp On By Emma Sturgis

You don’t escape back-to-school shopping lists in college. The items you need simply scale up. Rather than shopping for glue sticks and craft paper, you’ll need planning and note taking basics, a tablet or laptop, high-speed Internet service, and an ergonomic desk and chair set. You’ll also need to know how best to implement these tools, so keep reading.

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5 Surefire Ways to Get a Scholarship This Semester By Dixie Somers

Scholarships come in all shapes and sizes, but in an odd twist, their ubiquity can make them difficult to sift through and find the ones that are truly valuable or meaningful. If you’re applying for a college such as this one in  Salt Lake City and could use a little financial help, here are just five ways to find a good scholarship.

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