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Tips on How to Get a 2400 on the SAT Hey guys, I am a fellow college confidential user, who just got

a 2400 on March 9th 2013 SAT test. College confidential has been a valuable tool for me in my years of preparation for SAT and other tests. I would like to contribute to the college confidential forum in exchange for the help Ive received. Below I have posted a guide to do well on the SAT imbued with my personal journey. Personal Belief: First of all, Id like to say that wherever you are you can definit ely improve, and I would go as far as saying ANYONE is capable of achieving a 2400 or close to it with enough effort. The SAT is a STANDARIZED test, and hence it does not measure raw intelligence or skill at all. Taking the SAT is like figuring out a unique code (excuse my poor analogies, the SAT does not test analogies anymore :P). Once you discover your unique code or battle of attack, the SAT becomes more of a matter of repetition and practice. Once you find something that works for you, you need PRACTICE. The SAT does not change its level of difficulty and that being said once you get a sense of questions through practice (CB tests) youll do extremely well. Never give up! Good Luck! Personal Story: Id like to say that I cannot be considered intelligen t or have a superior IQ to my peers, but I will admit to developing a good work ethic. I took my first SAT in 7th grade to qualify for a CTY program. My scores were abysmal, in my opinion. I had scored a 1580 (490 on Writing, 580 on Math and 510 on CR). I was terribly shocked but as a carefree 7th grader I did not heed much to my base score. I retook in 8th grade again with minimal prep (skimmed through a Princeton Review?), and achieved a slight increase to a 1810 (510 Writing, 710 Math, and 590 CR). Yes, to some that score may be good but I was not satisfied. I suppose the inherent competitive attitude of my school pushed me harder. While I nonchalantly accepted an 1810, other kids in 8th grade were breaking 2100 and one girl even scored a 2240 (IN 8TH GRADE !!). I understand you might say we shouldnt compete and only worry about our own success independent of others, but competition added that extra motivational push. I figured as middle schooler my scores were above the average and so I did not need to worry. I put off any serious worry about the SAT until I took the PSAT my sophomore year. After getting my sophomore PSAT score back, I was shocked; I got a 196 (63 CR, 80 Math, 53 WR). I barely improved and I realized I needed to get down to business especially with writing (though arguably writing is insignificant to many top colleges, it still can be a valuable factor). I began loading up on prep books from Kaplans to Princeton Review to Barrons. These books were good to familiarize myself with the con tent of the SAT as for practice but most are highly inaccurate in terms of actual rigor of tests. I looked over the review content especially for Math and Writing. What I did for writing and math was sit down with Barrons 2400 and review the content tested. After doing that I followed How to Write a 12 Essay in 10 Days by Academic Hackerz here on college confidential. I spent part of my sophomore summer researching essay examples ahead of time and pre-planning a template*see below. Then I utilized college confidential to find a writing buddy who would exchange essays and grade completely objectively based on the CB rubric devoting approximately 2 minutes for each essay. One valuable link I utilized was Preparing For SAT Test. This site has previous essay prompts from past SATs, enough to satiate even the most enthusiastic SAT writer. I did several of these essay prompts and tried to do one daily following my template and pre-planned examples. I acknowledge that writing an essay on a trite CB topic is tedious but as I said the test is standardized the more

practice the better. For math, my foundation was already strong. I did review some content from Barrons 2400 and the CB Blue book but outside of that I did not try to enhance my Math skills for I was proficient; I did, however, need to practice, and avoid stupid mistakes. With Critical Reading, I began to build up on vocabulary. I started finding all sorts of SAT Vocab. Prep books and began memorizing and kept on finding new sources. I went through Sparknotes 1000 Words, Barrons Hot Words for the SAT, Direct Hits, PR Hit Parade etc. I kept on memorizing until I exhausted my sources. I used quizlet and physical flash cards to aid in the process. Every day I tried to look over the words and add ten new ones and gradually my vocabulary grew. As for the actual Reading in Critical Reading I have to say that I struggled greatly. It was hard for me to see objectively what the pas sage was saying. I used some strategies like margin notes, and writing down the main idea and that worked for me. I began taking practice tests in the summer very frequently and each time I finished a practice test, I would annotate in a notebook every mistake, detailing my error and rationalizing why I got such and such wrong. I only used College Board tests, and I cannot stress that College Board is the real deal and anything else is not sufficient. You will NOT accurately measure your ability via Kaplan, PR, etc.Taking many practice tests is not enough, you must also thoroughly go through your practice tests and comprehend your errors and through that you will improve. For Writing if I got a multiple choice question wrong, I would mark the right rule next to it. For CR I would read the online College Board explanations and rationalize the answer. For math, I would typically just punch myself for a silly error and detail my mistake in a notebook, writing my errors. Slowly, through each practice test, I saw improvement and I began inching up from sub 2000 to low 2100s then 2200s and finally low 2300s. I remained determined and just put more emphasis on CR. I began to take timed sessions in less time and further scrutinized my details to a point where I rewrote the question and wrote an explanation of why the answer was such in my own words. Yes, laborious, but this process solidified my sense for the CR and made me ready to more fully tackle it in March. I walked out of the test in March feeling a bit ambivalent on how well I did. And March 28th, I reluctantly refused to check, until finally to my parents nagging I capitulated and saw the glorious triple 800. I suppose what I hope everyone gains from this story is that wherever you start is irrelevant. If y oure willing to put in the effort and time, you can get a 2400 on SAT. I started with a 1580 and I moved up, so I would definitely encourage you to adopt the can-do attitude. ************************************************** *********************************** Content-Tips on Each Section Writing: Multiple Choice: Writing is by far one of the easiest to improve. I started out with a 490 and worked my way up to 800 on the Writing section. The key to doing well in writing is learning the rules. I would say learning the 14 essential rules are the most vital part. Everything after that is applying the rules to practice tests. Erica Meltzer created a great blog: ultimatesatverbal. blogspot.com and this site has the essential rules under Reading and Writing Tips for the SAT and ACT: Complete SAT Grammar Rules. Learning those rules is really all the preparation you need to do, then you just need to practice. I al so got the Erica Meltzers book The Ultimate Guide to SAT Grammar and found it very thorough and directly pertinent to material only on SAT Writing. The book is an awesome supplement but Im sure the link with the rules is sufficient. Once you know the rules enumerated in Melzers guide, you shall be ready to handle the Writing multiple choice. For error-Id whenever I got a question wrong, I would simply annotate the rule I forgot to employ (Subject-verb

agreement, pronoun shift etc.). By doing that, the rule stuck in my head better. For sentence corrections, one needs to again know the rules and PRACTICE. Similar grammatical construction errors repeat all the time, and with more practice the more keen your eye becomes. All in all, I encourage you to check Meltzers website and if you still need that push consider buying her book. Take note of the grammar rules and maybe even apply them. When checking your work, try saying the sentence out-loud and mentally justify your answer. The Essay: As said before the essay was mainly about practice. I believe in pre-high school I scored 4s on the essay. However, I used onlinemathlearning.com to find essay prompts and I followed Academic Hackerz guidef: How to Write a 12 Essay in 10 Days. This guide taught me how to develop a template and pre-plan examples. The SAT essay does not measure your writing ability in any way and only is a test to see how well you can follow the rubric. All you need to do is mechanically follow a template, use some good vocabulary, and have varied examples. Personally, I used one literature, one historical and one science/contemporary world example. The personal examples detract from your essay and should be avoided (though as last resort may be unnecessary). Typically non-personal examples show a greater level of scholarliness and may impress your reader but I suppose if your writing style meets the rubric the content is irrelevant. Even if you feel like youre stretching your examples, its okay because in the end the writers only spend a f ew minutes on your essay and analyze the writing style more than the content. Even some very minor exaggerations are alright, but dont say something blatantly erroneous for that shows incompetence and will detract the readers opinion. On the essay in March, my examples on the topic of the value of details were greatly stretched but by following an effective writing style I got a 12 on the essay. Ill try posting it later (be warned my handwriting is sloppy). I suggest directly starting the essay off with your thesis, and just developing 2-3 sentences supporting your claim. A hook is not necessary to get a 12 and in fact spending time thinking of a hook may just detract from time spent on writing the actual essay. Then devote 3 body paragraphs to examples (diversity!) and in each body paragraph summarize the plot in relation to the thesis and be sure to connect the example to the topic (e.g From this example, one can see how honesty may not always be necessary and how Lennie died happily with Georges lies. ) This connection shows how you are a competent writer and can incorporate the example into the essay. Transitions are okay to use, despite teachers protests of their inherent clich and banal nature. Saying another example just strengthens your idea s and connects your thoughts more smoothly. Dont think too much on the side to take; you only have 25 minutes. Pick the stance where you can develop 3 somewhat tangible examples and begin the writing. Once you have the template you can speed through a lot of the essay process. With pre-planned examples, writing the body paragraphs should not take too long either. Use good vocabulary but be cognizant of your useage. Dont stuff your essay with random words, but if you study for CR you should be fine. Heres my template: Intro: The premise that *topic* is an unequivocal truth. (starts out with thesis) Although some people uphold the idea that *opposite view* is true, these people are too parochial in their perspective. (In this sentence, I attack the opposing viewpoint to further add credence to my thesis). *Insert 2-3 sentences about overall topic and opinion. * Through examples in literature, history and the contemporary world, one can see the truth behind this assertion. (end intro with what you plan to talk about).

Body 1: One paragon that exemplifies this topic is. * continue with details several sentences* From this example, one sees how *thesis* applies. (2-3 sentences detailing connection). Body 2: Repeat Body 1 w/ different transition sentence Body 3: Repeat Body 2 Conclusion: In summation, through examples from A, B and C one can see the veracity in this claim. Follow the template, research examples, and use elevated vocabulary and youre good. ************************************************** ********************* Math: I did not get many prep materials for math. I did use Barrons 2400 and one book that I did like was Grubers SAT Math. This book had strategies for attacking the more difficult math problems. I spent a little bit of time reading through it, and did not really analyze the tactics. However, if your base math score is low Id suggest this book. But I feel math boils down to practice and taking tests and understanding the type of questions that appear. For math, if you are not sure, plug in the answer choices. That is a time-consuming method but can be effective if you really have no clue. Underline what the question is asking. Ive made so many silly mistakes because I know how to do all the math, but I dont answer whats being asked. That was my biggest issue for math, but that will come with concentration and practice. Also, get a Ti-89, or a graphing utility. These can be real lifesavers on the test. For you can quickly solve simultaneous equations, graph functions and make lengthy calculations that may be a way to solve the problem. Many times on the SAT math problems I mistakenly take the roundabout way of doing a problem by some esoteric method, and my calculator is there for the heavy calculations. Also with your calculator you can mess around with trigonometry (law of sine, cosine) to solve for angles and sides (Not that you need to) but it can def. verify the solution. Overall, get a prep book to review the concepts then just practice. ************************************************** *********************************** Critical Reading: Sentence Completion: Try to cover up the words and fill in a word that is similar. Even if you cant get a word try to get a sense of what mood the words need to be. If it is two blanks, then try to establish one of the words needed or mood and then use POE. These strategies can only be effective if you KNOW the vocabulary. Many people claim to read novels and challenging literature, but this idea although effective is a very gradual process. To build vocabulary fast, as blasphemous as it sounds, use vocabulary prep books. There is much debate on which books to use and I just took in whatever I could find in my local library and online. Barrons Hot Words Sparknotes 1000 Word List *Direct Hits*- recommended highly as most effective Princeton Review Hit Parade 2011 SAT Vocabulary Prep. Kaplan

Many claim Direct Hits is the god of SAT vocabulary. While I will concede that Direct Hits does have a lot of words that appear on the SAT, it is not a comprehensive source to acquire the vocabulary needed to ACE the sentence completion for most people. I used a medley of vocab prep books as listed above to acquire the vocabulary skill needed for the SAT. Dont just stop after Direct Hits keep pursuing more words to study. Complete knowledge of Direct Hits is not a guarantee of a perfect sentence completion score. Also be more cognizant of SAT caliber words in your daily life. Use new words in conversations and essays to really learn the words. As mentioned above, I used quizlet to help me memorize but whatever floats your boat in terms of memorizing. Critical Reading Passages: This is perhaps in my opinion the most dreadful aspect of the SAT: grueling through mundane passages and then forcing yourself to answer questions on it. There is not one fool-proof way to improve CR. Many people who get 800s are naturally inclined towards literature and may have developed a passion or propensity for it earlier on. However, that is a gradual process that will take much time to develop. The easiest way to do well on Critical Reading passages is just to practice with actual SAT CR passages. When I go into a passage, I try to act interested and alert. I pretend I am a professor grading the paper and scrutinizing it. I understand that sometimes the passages are arcane and dull but this is the attitude you develop through practice. By the end of your practice, even a passage on the history of boat building should capture your attention. As I read the passage, I make side notes and annotate after each paragraph. I briefly write down the main idea. After 1-3 paragraphs, I typically turn to the questions and read them. The questions are arranged according the passage so this is a plausible strategy. I do this so I dont forget some of the subplots , and sub-themes necessary to answer the questions. Others prefer to digest the whole passage and then answer the questions. Personally, I would get bogged down in all the details, but others get a more comprehensive sense of the passage and that can help answer the main idea questions. I save those for last until I go through the rest of the questions. One strategy I employ is playing devils advocate. Before you answer a question, ask yourself why isnt this right? Make sure you can justify why other answers are erroneous. Remember the answer will always be in the text; the questions MUST be objective to prevent any dispute. No outside assumptions ought to be made. Follow what the passage says and adhere strictly to the content in the passage. Lastly, if youre really bogged down from a difficult question, try looking for the answer that involves the main idea of the passage. Although a risky move, if the answer involves the main idea, it may very well be correct in describing the viewpoint. In the dual passages, I always read the first passage and answer questions relating to that and then go read the 2nd passage and answer the remaining questions. Taking notes is important because you can quickly compare ideas from each passage and more easily answer the questions referring to both passages. Practice these strategies on college board practice tests and soon enough youll CR score ought to improve. I will say it took a while for me. I was stuck at high 600s for quite some time but I reached a certain practice test where it all clicked and I progressed from there. ************************************************** ****************************** Conclusion: Set a goal and remain resolute on it. Even if its lofty youll still get far. Aim for the stars

and maybe youll reach the sky. Take a LOT of practice tests. I think by the time I took the March SAT, I had taken at least 28 collegeboard tests. You will not run out of sources. The blue book has 10, online course has 10, and you can find prior publicly released tests online. Indubitably, I attribute 99% of my success to practice. Learning the strategies is only step 1. Actually using the strategies effectively is the challenging aspect. Tutors- I do not believe that anyone really needs a tutor. Anyone can develop a work ethic to get to their goal. Tutor companies like Princeton Review and Kaplan in my opinion may aid people who are completely unaware of the SAT, but if you are a cc user, I feel the courses are pricey and unnecessary. I am not qualified to make such an assertion for I have not been to any of the program, but that is my personal take. My family is not loaded and I utilized whatever resources I could. I recommend the library for prep books. The library was my savior during the past several months. Most of my study was independent. I did buy the online course at College Board to acquire more practice tests but not much else. Of course, if after much struggle, and serious attempts your score is flat, you may want to consider a tutor and consult your peers. Prep Books- SAT College Board Official Study Guide-Really all you need, other sources like Grubers and Barrons 2400 are extraneous but could help Good Luck, my fellow cc users, I hope you have benefitted from this guide. I hope you realize that the SAT is definitely conquerable with enough practice. Keep your eyes on the prize and keep PRACTICING!