Blog & Resources

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 makethegrade.net.

Plan ahead.  Emergencies create urgencies.  Use a calendar and plan

Process of Elimination and the “4I” Rule

The major advantage that test-taking students have on standardized tests like the PSAT, SAT, ACT as well as PSSAs, is that the tests are multiple choice style. In fact over 90% of the test questions are multiple choice.  (For the SAT there are 67 critical reading and sentence completion questions, 54 math questions and 49 writing questions that are multiple choice, with 10 free response math questions and a written essay).

Last post I introduced the concept of the “5 MlSes,” where most students miss questions because they do not fully understand or utilize the information in the question. Process of elimination takes advantage of utilizing the answers given to arrive at the correct answer.

Here is another very useful strategy that anyone can easily use.

The “4I” rule states: If you can eliminate four incorrect answers from the list of answers, then you are left with the correct answer.

This seems obvious, but it is not how most people think. Most of us are conditioned, by years of school, to create an answer and then check to see if it is on the answer list. This is how we are taught to learn and produce answers. This method works fine in the classroom, but not on standardized tests. Always remember, the SAT and these tests are not like school.

Here is a simplified example:

Fill in the blank: The capital of Oregon is ________________

Unless you are up on state geography, this is hit or miss. All or nothing. Now try the “4I” rule.

The capital of Oregon is:

a) Washington
b) Paris
c) Tokyo
d) Atlanta
e) Salem

You may not have known that Salem was the capital, but you likely knew that the other four were wrong. Four incorrect = one correct.

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 makethegrade.net.