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8 Steps to a Stress Free SAT / ACT Experience

The SAT is coming up.  Whether you or your child has prepped for it or not… the day before and test morning are important lead up times prior to the ‘big day”.  Here are some simple tips in avoiding stress and making the SAT a better experience.  I have found with my students that relaxed and confident students always perform closer to potential on standardized tests.  Some of this will appear obvious, but better safe then stressed out and sorry 🙂

I suggest getting your backpack set up with all the needed goodies the night before…

1. Where am I going? – Know your location.  Normally you plan to take the test as close to home as possible – preferrably at your own high school. However at times this is not possible.  If you haven’t already, drive the route to the school and make sure you know how to get there. There may be detours or construction.  Further, the entrance for the test center may not always be the main entrance of the school building

2.  Where’s my admissions ticket?  If you’ve registered online, be sure to print out your ticket and have it ready Friday night.

3. My photo ID – even if you take the test in your home school location you need photo / student ID.

4. #2 pencils – sitll the standard of usage here.  Suggest 3 or 4

5. Does my calcualator have batteries? A good idea to have extra AAA batteries

6. What time is it? Wear a watch. You can never tell where the clock in the test center toom will be.  A watch also helps you with test section pacing.

7. I’m hungry and thirsty.  It’s a long test.  There are short breaks.  Take water and some easy to eat snacks. You cannot

8. Get the wheels spinning – Get up and give yourself enough time to do some practice problems in the morning.  It’s your way of saying… “hey brain… today’s the big day”. There are no ‘warm ups” on the SAT or ACT.

For more ideas contact Dr Steven Greene at

Midterms occur this month for High School Students.  These are important exams and require effort and planning. Here are some basic ideas to help you thrive on the midterms and avoid unneeded stress.

1. Early and Often: Start to study early and give yourself time.  15 minutes of review a day over a few weeks is much more effective than 3 hours of cramming.

2. Collect and Organize: Gather and organize all of your papers, worksheets, notes, old quizzes and tests, etc from the classes in one place.  Typically midterms cover the entire year to date so work from September and October is important.

3. Ask Questions Now: Whether you typically need help or see your teacher outside of class, it is a good idea to clarify any information or answer any questions you have early in the study process.

4. Know Your Abilities: Identify your areas of need.  People tend to redundantly study information that they already know because it’s more comfortable.  Make a plan to address your areas of need.

For more tips or to create a midtern study action plan contact Dr Greene at mAke the grAde AcAdemic services at or 215 540 TEST

With the Octover PSAT complete and the October SAT and ACTs and November SATs done, students will be receiving their score reports shortly.  It is important to understand how to interpret these scores to help plan your test prep strategy moving forward.

Contact the MTG office for a free test evaluation.


SAT Subject
Tests Available
Register-By Date*
Oct 1
  1. Subject Tests
Sep 9
Nov 5
  1. Subject Tests
Oct 7
Dec 3
  1. Subject Tests
Nov 8
Jan 28
  1. Subject Tests
Dec 30
Mar 10
Feb 10
May 5
  1. Subject Tests
Apr 6
Jun 2
  1. Subject Tests
May 8


Test Date

Registration Deadline

September 10, 2011August 12, 2011
October 22, 2011September 16, 2011
December 10, 2011November 4, 2011
February 11, 2012January 13, 2012
April 14, 2012March 9, 2012
June 9, 2012May 4, 2012

Education is not just for school age students,
Education is also for people in business and in the work force.

When people think of education, they often think of school and classrooms and homework. For some, the end of their formal education is college, or high school.  However, once in the work force, or business owners, or sales people… gain great benefit from continuing their professional education.  This may take the form of advanced degrees (e.g. an MBA) or in more targetted classes (how to use Excel or PowerPoint).   Some companies will set up custom educational programs to address specific needs or training in skills that they want their employees to have.

mAke the grAde, through our sister service CrossTernal Methodology, offers classes for people in business and sales. These classes focus on prospecting skills, follow up techniques, business automation and time leveraging as well as sales and presentation skills.  Best of all, potential students can ‘test the waters’ with a free consultation at

It’s always a good time to learn something new that will improve your skill set.

Dr Steven Greene of mAke the grAde AcAdemic services describes the programs for Math support that MTG provides. This includes working with students in 4th grade through middle school, high school and university level. Subject include General Math, pre-Alegebra, Algebra, Geometry, Advanced Algebra, Pre-Calculus, Math Analysis, Calculus and others.


Dr Steven Greene of mAke the grAde AcAdemic services describes the programs for Science support that MTG provides. This includes working with students in 4th grade through middle school, high school and university level.  Subject include General Science, Physical Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics and Anatomy / Physiology.  MTG specializes in Sciences that are math intensive like Physics and Chemistry.


Study actively.
Do  problems.
Make flashcards.
Be engaged.

As end of the year finals and quarterly tests  approach, it’s as important as ever for students of all levels  to have good, effective study skills.  Active studying vs passive studying is a much more effective way to learn and to reinforce information.

For example, rather then reread a chapter in a History book, outline the chapter…. but how to outline… well there are many ways to make an effective outline (addressed in another blog post or at

Also, rather than scan Chemistry or Math concepts, catagorize problems into sets and do a series of practice problems.

Make flash cards for vocabulary rather then simply scanning word lists.

Active study takes about the same, or less, time than passive study and is much more effective.

Evaluating Your Test Results and Improving

The scores for the May SAT will be sent out soon. Regardless of your performance on this exam, most students will take the exam a second time with the goal of improving their scores. It is prudent to use the initial results to evaluate strengths and weaknesses and then proceed to revise your study plans accordingly. For example, if your writing score was subpar, you will need to put more effort into improving that aspect of the test in the future. The SAT is best learned slowly and steadily over a long period of time. Be sure to give yourself adequate time. It is far better to have a study plan than to try to work on these exams ad hoc. The plan should include consistent development of test taking strategies, as well as time to do practice testing.

Here are some questions that surround the new scoring system. At this time, some of these questions remain unknowns. These will be addressed in future articles:

  • How will colleges choose to interpret these scores?
  • Will the math and reading sections of the new test be weighted more strongly than the-writing section?
  • How do I know what a “good” score is?
  • Will an 1800 on the new system be the equivalent of a 1200 in the old system?
  • Should I take the test again?
  • Is it bad to take the SAT more than 2 times? 3 times?
  • How does the SAT compare to the ACT?

For more information on test preparation, or general academic tutoring, or a free educational personal evaluation of your child’s need, contact Steven Greene Ed.D. at mAke the grAde Academic Services at 215 540 TEST (8378) or www