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PSAT and SAT Prep: Practice, Rinse, Repeat

Even good test takers need practice.  If your child doesn't take tests well, then practice becomes even more important.  Susan asked me a question about how to prepare her son for the PSAT test.
Lee,

I have purchased your materials when you were at the homeschool fair in Bothell last year.  My son is a sophomore. He is very analytical and logical which is good since he wants to be a computer programmer. The problem is that he is not a good test taker because he over analyzes the questions. Is there a program that you recommend to help him learn how to do well on standardized test? He will need to take the PSAT next year and I would like him to be better prepared.

Thank you,

Susan in WA

Hi Susan!

I don't think a program is what will help, I think the key is repetition.  It will take some work and effort on the part of your teenager. There is no silver bullet or perfect program to learning SAT preparation, and there are SO many options out there!

If you can get him to practice sample tests at home, timing them, then he'll probably get faster and learn not to over-think it.  I was able to get my children to do it.  We studied with the "11 Practice Tests for the SAT" book.  We did test prep three times a week.  We did one section of one test each day - it took about 25 minutes.  We found it we VERY helpful!

Here is a link to the book:

11 Practice Tests for the New SAT

If you can't talk him into repetitively studying for the SAT at home, then maybe a program would be helpful.  But it's significantly less money to just buy the book and do it yourself at home.

I don't think I would have him study SAT prep unless he already has taken geometry, though.  The math questions include some geometry, and I think he could get pretty frustrated if he doesn't have that math.

You can also point him to a computer science major. That requires a significant amount of math, but if he likes math and he likes analyzing, then it might be a good fit.

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Comments 5

Guest - J W on Thursday, 05 February 2009 09:32

Many, many moons ago after not doing so great on the PSAT, my Mom got me a book by the Princeton Review (a quick Google search shows they're still around). I studied it and did quite significantly better on the SAT. I've even taught my elementary-age daughter some of the test-taking strategies in that book because they apply to any multiple-choice test. It's worth looking into.

Many, many moons ago after not doing so great on the PSAT, my Mom got me a book by the Princeton Review (a quick Google search shows they're still around). I studied it and did quite significantly better on the SAT. I've even taught my elementary-age daughter some of the test-taking strategies in that book because they apply to any multiple-choice test. It's worth looking into.
Guest - Lee (website) on Thursday, 05 February 2009 10:04

Hi Joelle,
Yes, the book I recommended, called "11 Practice Tests" is actually written by the Princeton Review. They do a much better job of writing in a conversational style - they are MUCH easier to read than the other test prep books!
Blessings,
Lee

Hi Joelle, Yes, the book I recommended, called "11 Practice Tests" is actually written by the Princeton Review. They do a much better job of writing in a conversational style - they are MUCH easier to read than the other test prep books! Blessings, Lee
Guest - J W on Thursday, 05 February 2009 11:35

If that's the Princeton Review's main product for the SAT, they must have re-done the vintage (OK, OK, "old!") book. I remember the book's title was something like "Preparing for the SAT." The book explained the different categories of questions with some examples. They did an excellent job on test-taking strategies, but if you wanted sample tests, either they weren't available "back then" (when I had to walk to school barefoot uphill both ways in the snow for 15 miles) or had to be ordered separately. If Princeton Review still has a book like the one from "waaaaaaaaaay back," then it's pure gold! If the "11 Practice Tests" is the re-do of the "antique" book, then it'd be, like, plutonium. Especially since the "new fangled" essay requirement is something I'd like to know more about!

If that's the Princeton Review's main product for the SAT, they must have re-done the vintage (OK, OK, "old!") book. I remember the book's title was something like "Preparing for the SAT." The book explained the different categories of questions with some examples. They did an excellent job on test-taking strategies, but if you wanted sample tests, either they weren't available "back then" (when I had to walk to school barefoot uphill both ways in the snow for 15 miles) or had to be ordered separately. If Princeton Review still has a book like the one from "waaaaaaaaaay back," then it's pure gold! If the "11 Practice Tests" is the re-do of the "antique" book, then it'd be, like, plutonium. Especially since the "new fangled" essay requirement is something I'd like to know more about!
Guest - Lee (website) on Thursday, 05 February 2009 12:11

Hi again!
That particular book is now called "Cracking the SAT" and it's also wonderful. It doesn't have as many practice tests, but it does have a long section on how to be strategic about the test. It's also a great book.
Blessings,
Lee

Hi again! That particular book is now called "Cracking the SAT" and it's also wonderful. It doesn't have as many practice tests, but it does have a long section on how to be strategic about the test. It's also a great book. Blessings, Lee
Guest - Tammy on Monday, 30 March 2009 03:09

While searching for some good stuff online, came across a site examville.com,
Their standardized practice tests section is good

While searching for some good stuff online, came across a site examville.com, Their standardized practice tests section is good
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Wednesday, 18 September 2019

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