- Medium Questions have Medium Answers: If you're working too hard on an easy question (i.e. the beginning of a section), you're probably doing something wrong. Similarly, if you come to an answer too easily at the end of a section (especially Math, though maybe that's just me) -- you've probably done something wrong too. This does not apply to the Critical Reading passages which are not in order of difficulty. (Special delivery from Stacey Howe-Lott.)
- Calculators: The Ti-89 does algebra for you -- if you can figure it out (I couldn't). Ultimately, I used the Ti-84 which has a lot of useful buttons (Math/Frac, Graphing, etc.) -- but it's expensive ($135 new, though offered for much less on discount sites), and it's not really necessary. Read this Bell Curves blog post to find out everything you need to know on the matter of the SAT and calculators.
- Writing Section: Read every single word and complete all exercises in Erica Meltzer's The Ultimate Guide to SAT Grammar. Just do it; don't even think about it. I couldn't have told you the first thing about dangling modifiers or gerunds or subjunctives, until I read that book -- 45 years old at the time, mind you. And, I scored an 800 on the Writing Section after that book, ok? I'm saying run, don't walk, to get yourself a copy.
- The Essay: Practice writing one per day (or at least a few per week), timed with College Board essay prompts, for the few months leading up to the SAT. Try to get a few people who know about "standardized writing" to score the essays for you. Note: "standardized writing" is not necessarily the same thing as plain old "good writing." Read these few posts for more on that topic.
If you want to see more tips like these, click on the Tips Page of this site. I'm doing my best to fill up those pages/boxes on the righthand side of this site with all the info I learned over the course of last year.
Or maybe I'm just procrastinating from what I should be doing right now (i.e. writing a book about this SAT experience) -- because somebody suggested that my site needed freshening up.
Illustrations by Jennifer Orkin Lewis