Your SAT Action Plan
Each time you take a practice SAT take a few minutes to fill out the College Hill Study Plan. Blank Plans appear at the end of each test; for the CD or online tests, make your own copy of the plan. The Plan shows you your progress and provides an action plan for improving your score over the next week. Here's how to fill it in:
Write your raw and scaled scores in the box at the top, following the directions in the Score Conver sion Table at the end of each test. These provide a record of your weekly progress.
Questions About the Test
1. What were your test conditions? Did you take your practice SAT as you would take a real SAT? Were you sitting at a desk and at a neutral site? Did you time yourself strictly? Did you take the test all at one sitting? If your conditions were not realistic, make sure that they are more realistic next time. Also, note any conditions that may have affected your performance, like "broken clock," "noisy radiator," "freezing room," or "phone interruption." Learning to deal with distrac tions and with the length and time limits of the SAT is very important to peak performance.
2 . What was your pre-test routine? What you do just before the test can be very important to your performance. Having a raging argument with someone, for instance, probably won't help. To perform your best, get at least 8 hours of sleep the night before, get 30 minutes of exercise prior to the SAT, and have a good breakfast. Write down anything significant that you did just prior to the test, like "ran 4 miles," "had oatmeal and orange juice," "was yelled at by Dad," or "did 15 minutes of yoga."
3. Did you attack the questions you need to attack? The table on the upper right of the worksheet shows you what percent of questions you should plan to attack, and what percent you should get right, in order to achieve particular score goals. Set an aggressive but realistic score goal for yourself on each section: Critical Reading, Math, and Writing. Then, after taking the test, notice how close you came to the percentages you need on each section. The "attack" percentage is the total number of questions you answered (right or wrong) divided by the total number of questions on that section. (There are 67 total Critical Reading questions, 54 total Math questions, and 49 total Writing questions.) The "get" percentage is the total number of raw score points you got on each section divided by the total number of questions on that section. For instance, if you're gunning for a 600 math score, you'll have to get 67%, or about two-thirds, of the available points on that section. Of course, you should attack more than 67% of the questions to give yourself room for error, but don't answer too many questions so that you rush and make a lot of careless mistakes. A good compromise is to attack about 85% of the questions and leave the hardest 15% (about 3 of every 20) unanswered, hoping to get 67% of the available points.
Be sure to attack the easy questions first. On every subsection except the Critical Reading passages, the questions start easy and get harder. If your plan involves skipping questions, make sure they are the hard ones at the end, not the easy ones at the beginning. However, don't get bogged down on any question, even one that is supposed to be "easy." Your job is to maximize your points, so if a question seems challenging at first, move on and come back to it later if you have time.
4. Did you rush to complete any section? Although it's always better to skip tough SAT questions rather than get bogged down by them, it's also never good to rush. After you complete a practice SAT, ask yourself: did I make any careless errors because I was rushing? Remember: because of the SAT's wrong-answer penalty, skipping a question is better than getting it wrong!
5. How many more raw points do you need to make your score goal? Again, the table at the top right of the worksheet provides your guide. Just look up your score goal for each section and find the corresponding raw score needed for that goal, and then subtract your actual raw score for each section. This tells you how many more questions you'll need to pick up.
6. Did you make educated guesses on any questions? While some students are very reluctant to leave any question unanswered, others have the opposite feeling and think that they should never guess on a question unless they are absolutely certain. But this is a bad strategy too. Educated guessing usually helps your score; if you can eliminate just a couple of wrong answers, take your best guess. When reviewing your test, look at the questions you guessed on, and notice whether you picked up points from them.
7. Study Plan. This is the real key to improving your SAT score. Go to the answer explanations and carefully read the explanations for the questions you missed. Then notice the lesson(s) listed after each explanation, and list these lessons on this part of the Study Plan.
Test # _________
RAW SCORES: CR _________ M __________ W ________ Essay ________
SCALED SCORES: CR _________ M _________ W _________ Essay ________
1. What were your conditions?
2. What was your pre-test routine?
3. Did you attack all of the questions you need to attack? (See the table above.)
4. Did you rush to complete any selection?
5. How many more raw points do you need to make your score goal? CR ________ M________ W _________
6.Did you make educated guesses on any questions? If so, how many points did you pick up on these questions?
7. STUDY PLAN: Use the detailed answer key after the test to review the answers to the questions you missed. Below, list the lessons linked to the questions you missed, and list the tough words you missed from the test.
Lessons to Review:
Words to Review:
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