Executive Function Strategies Blog

4 SAT Tips for Test-Preparation Success

Editor's note: This week, we feature guest blogger David Recine, a test prep expert at Magoosh. Please see David's bio below.

What tips do you need to follow to ace the SAT? That depends at least partly on your own skills and learning needs. But here are four tips that can help any student get a strong start as they embark on their SAT preparation and chart their own best path to success.

Know the Score on SSAT Scoring: What is a Good Score on the SSAT?


Editor's note: This week, our guest blogger is Alexis Avila, founder of Prepped & Polished, a tutoring and test preparation company in Natick, MA. Please read his complete bio at the end of this article.

The Secondary School Admission Test (SSAT) is the required entrance exam that leads to enrollment in some of the world’s best independent schools. It is undoubtedly an important test, so students and parents are naturally anxious when it comes to the Score Report. Upon receiving the Score Report, most parents are eager to know if the scores are “good” or “bad.” The most frequent question that parents ask about the SSAT is: “What is a good score?” This is not always easy to ascertain.

Study Tips for Finals: 4 Steps to an Effective Game Plan

The scent of June’s peonies in the air brings the promise of blissful interludes at the beach for our students. But hold on. Keep the cap on the Coppertone for now. Preparing for final exams is now top priority for our weary scholars.

No mas!” a sophomore exclaims. “How the heck am I supposed to get ready for 5 exams in the next few days?”

“Planning,” we say, all cool and confident.

As Executive Function coaches, we are busy sharing study tips for finals with our students. The first step is creating a game plan. Here’s one great real-life example of what that planning can look like (plus a bonus example!).

Test Prep Tips for Success: Studying for Finals

The last time I broke out into hives was when a new student I was working with said she was “looking over her notes” to prepare for an upcoming exam.

You see, that passive eyeball approach is up at the top of an academic coaches’ list of What Not To Do When Studying For Finals. In between scratching (due to my allergy to ineffective study habits), I explained to my student that if she’s not actively grappling with the material by testing her recall and understanding, she may as well be spending her time getting a mani-pedi for all the good it will do her on test day.

“But this is how I always get ready for tests!” she explains, handing me calamine lotion.

“Uh huh. And how’s that method working for you?”

“Well, I’m just not a great test-taker, that’s all.”

And there it is: the difference between preparing for the test and taking the test. Oftentimes students believe that they are poor test takers if they are unable to recall information when it's game time, but in many cases the experience of going blank is actually tied with the test prep the student did before exam day.

“I’m not convinced of that diagnosis,” I reply, getting all House on her. “Maybe you’re just not studying with enough ooomph. Are you willing to try something different this time?”