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SAT Critical Reading Guide Now Available on Amazon!

24 Sep

I’m happy to announce that my Critical Reading Guide is now available on! I’m selling it for cheaper than the online version – you can get it for about 11 bucks. It’s all the same information. Strategies for sentence completions and tips for the passage based readings for the Reading section of the SAT.

This book is different than others because it offers all the most effective, but efficient strategies in only about 50 pages of material. Apart from that, it’s up to you to actually practice applying those strategies, and discovering what works for you. It’s not going to be a quick fix to low Reading score, but it will give you all the strategies you’ll need to dramatically up your score in the long run.

Buy it here.

Is the SAT Racist?

14 Aug

This has been a question that’s been thrown around for about as long as the SAT has existed – is the SAT racist? Plenty of people suggest that the test is geared toward students of a certain (ie higher) socioeconomic background. It’s an easy thing to claim, but is it true?

Before I start, let me mention that I am by NO MEANS an expert on this topic, and I’m not trying to offend anyone here. Instead, I’m just voicing my honest opinion about the SAT. I’d love to hear about your honest opinion, too.

I think when talking about bias in the SAT, you should separate it into cultural and economic bias. Let me talk about economic bias first. I work in a very poor school district in the US, and I’ve seen firsthand how standardized tests create a disadvantage for students from poorer backgrounds. This applies to the SAT, as well. At this point, this contention can’t really be denied. A California study showed that test takers coming from a family with a total income of less than $20,000 had a mean score of 1310, while test takers from families with a total income of $200,000 received a mean score of 1715.  I don’t think a difference in score of over 400 points can be attributed to randomness.

Does this mean that students from less wealthy family just aren’t as smart as students from better-off families? Not really – all it shows is that those students tend to no do as well on the SAT. This could come from any number of reasons. For instance, communities tend to be relatively segregated by income, so students from families with lower incomes might be in school districts that have less resources, or attract a lower quality of teachers. Students from wealthier families also tend to be more likely to spend money of SAT prep books, SAT prep courses, and SAT private tutors, which can put them at an advantage.

As for cultural bias, there have been some people who claim that the SAT is geared to put non-black or non-Latino students at an advantage. There was one famous question on the SAT that was absolutely a disadvantage for many black or Latino students. On this question, over 50% of white students got the correct answer, while less than 25% of black or Latino students got it correct! This is without question the most famous example of SAT cultural bias. However, CollegeBoard has done a TON of research and made a lot of progress in making the SAT as bias-neutral as possible. I think at this point, it’s pretty safe to assume that you won’t be encountering any questions that are necessarily geared toward a particular culture or race.

However, I think we still have a long way to go in eliminating economic bias. I think that this economic bias tends to spill over into cultural and racial distinctions, which leads some people to assume that the SAT is geared toward white students more than any other. I tend to to think of the SAT as geared toward middle-class to upper-class students, but only because of the extra resources that are made available to these students throughout their lives.

I don’t think the makers of the SAT are at fault for this at all. Rather, I think the studies showing that students from poorer background receive poorer scores are a symptom of an illness in America’s educational system.  I see it all the time with my teaching job, and I know if it’s apparent there, it’s going to be apparent in some shape or form on the SAT.

Obviously, this is a topic which can go into WAY more depth and detail than I have time or space for here. Hundreds of studies have been conducted on these topics, with hundreds of scholarly articles published, and this simple post really only touches the tip of the iceberg with the whole thing.

What do you think? Do you think the SAT is racist toward any group? Why or why not?

Critical Reading Study Guide Now Available!

12 Aug

The first study guide I’m offering is now available online!

For $39, you can receive all of the knowledge and experience for the Critical Reading section that would cost you hundreds of dollars from a private tutor or an SAT prep course.

I chose to create a study guide for the Critical Reading section first, because this is often SAT test takers most difficult section. It’s also the section that I’ve performed best in every time I’ve taken a full SAT, so I wanted to make sure I was delivering a guide which would have the biggest impact.

You can purchase the guide here, or under “Get the Guides” using a secure PayPal link.

Please! Email me with any thoughts, suggestions, comments, or problems you have with this guide.

If you found it helpful, great! More is on the way soon.

Blue Book Explanation Guides

30 Jul

I’m happy to announce a new project I’ve undertaken for SAT Study Guide. This one is a response to frustration that I experienced myself while studying for the SAT in high school. It’s also a problem that has come up for many of my students while practicing problems for the SAT.

If you’ve ever worked out of the CollegeBoard’s Official SAT Study Guide – or, the blue book – you have probably experienced this phenomenon. You complete a practice test, or a practice section, and you flip to the part that shows you the answers. You’re going along, happy to see that you’re getting a lot of them right, and then you come across one that you get wrong. You look at the problem again, and now you know what the answer is, so you think you should be able to figure out why that’s the right answer. 

Problem is, you can’t.

You might study that problem for 10 minutes or more, but you cannot for the life of you understand why the answer is what the blue book says it is. Maybe you even assume that they are giving you the wrong answer (they aren’t), or that it’s just a waste of time to keep trying to understand this one question (it isn’t). Either way, you eventually give up, and move on, and just chalk that problem up as something you might have to go without really understanding.

That’s where my new project comes in. Starting soon, I will be releasing Blue Book Explanation Guides for the second edition of the CollegeBoard’s Official SAT Study Guide.

Every problem, every section, every test.

Never again will you have to wonder why an answer is what the blue book says it is. Not only will these be a supplement to your practice of the SAT, I’m hoping that they will couple as instructional aides in helping you study for the SAT. My explanations will be clear and concise, and will go through each wrong answer to explain why it is wrong. For the math problems, I will show you the easiest way to work out that problem and reach the correct answer.

You’ll have no excuse for skipping a problem as something that you just aren’t going to be able to figure out. Lucky you, right?

SAT Study Timeline

27 Jul

For anyone who isn’t entirely sure where to start with studying for the SAT, how many problems to practice, or where to look for help, I’m currently creating a full-blown SAT Study Guide. It’s going to include:

  • day-to-day instruction on what topics to practice
  • homework assignments focusing on the lesson of the day
  • 2 week timeline for getting ready for the SAT

What’s more, this study timeline is going to be used in conjunction with my Critical Reading, Writing, and Math Guides. That doesn’t mean you have to purchase one or any of these guides to succeed on the test, but the timeline is going to follow the instruction I provide in these guides.

Speaking of the guides, I’m a little bit over halfway with my Critical Reading Guide. It’s already over 20 pages of information. It breaks down the Critical Reading Section into every possible type of question you might see on it, and includes practice questions, how-to videos, and homework assignments to boost your skills in each area. I’m hoping to have it released in no more than two weeks, which I think is pretty good timing for the October 6 SAT that’s creeping up. Keep checking in for it – there will be a special deal for it for those who buy it on its release date!