Now that two of my boys are in high school, my ears are frequently tuned towards SAT information. When to take it? How many times? How critical is scoring well to future college placement? And finally, how should my sons best prepare?
If you want to know the basics of the test, visit here.
Should a high SAT score be your goal? Of course you want your student to do well, but the SAT is only one piece of the puzzle. A survey published through the National Association of College Admission Counseling found 75% of the colleges interviewed reported using scores “holistically.” Meaning, the tests are just one factor out of several in how an applicant is evaluated. Extra-curricular activities, GPA, course of study, curriculum quality, college prep-class grades, etc. all are taken into consideration.
How you choose to prepare is entirely up to you, there are prep courses, tutors, practice tests, SAT question of the day, and if you are most interested in preparing for the English portion, this book by K. Tichenell specifically targets that.
Tichenell’s philosophy is that a student must be exposed to lots of challenging, sophisticated vocabulary, and should be well read in good literature. Understanding there are so many books and so little time, the author offers an interesting approach: short stories (i.e.: 6 pages) are presented with a plethora of unique words, with the definition provided in the sidebar. After reading the story the student will answer questions that will specifically test the comprehension of the words. Makes sense. Instead of just trying to memorize word meanings, read them in the context of a story, and you may find it easier to understand words such as nonce, cadent, predilection, vapid, and fardel.
My 16 year old and I both sampled chapter 1. We averaged about 50%. He thought the exercise was challenging, but fun, and felt it was a nice complement to his SAT prep. Clearly we both need more exposure to sui generis palaver.
My husband and I also enjoyed being set straight on when to use “who” or “whom”, and all the little nuggets shared helped us understand the mysteries of the English language! This book includes quite a comprehensive explanation of English rules, standards, and overview of everything one would need to know to master English.
However you decide to have your student prepare for the SAT is up to you, but considering this book provides a wealth of useful advice at a reasonable price, it might be a good place to start. I tend to agree with K. Tichenell’s insight:
The ability to express thoughts clearly, coherently, and persuasively is an essential skill in college, in the workplace and indeed anywhere in the modern world. Even those whose role in society requires little or no communications skills will benefit occasionally from the ability to describe an event and write a convincing letter or, failing that, will suffer from the inability to do so at the hands of those who can.
TOEFL: Test of English as a foreign language.