Q: Are there other ways to prepare for the college admission tests besides working your tail off?
“When you think of preparing for the SAT, you don’t think of fun. You
think of a lot of work,” says Daniel C. Levine, owner of Big Apple
Tutoring in New York, N.Y. “While studying and putting time into
preparing for the test is hard work and very necessary, there are some
enjoyable activities you can do as well.”
summer fast approaching, now’s a good time to try inexpensive, fun
activities that will also help you prepare for those dreaded tests.
Enjoy a good summer read
Like romances? Mysteries? Comic books? Even newspapers and magazines—Pick up something you enjoy reading and peruse it.
writing in Sports Illustrated, Rolling Stone and Vogue is actually at
the level of the reading comp section on the SAT or very close to it.
In fact, in the past I have seen reading comp sections that were pulled
directly from these magazines,” comments Levine. “It is important to
keep reading during the summer.”
Smith, owner of Northwest Educational Services in Seattle, agrees. “Tom
Clancy or Stephen King are authors who are more popular than critically
acclaimed. However, they stuff their novels with vocabulary. And what
better way to improve your performance on the SAT than to improve your
your parents are chiding you for not reading a classic novel, give them
a copy of this article. (But reading the classics can’t hurt.)
Challenge yourself with crossword puzzles and word games
single best way to improve one’s vocabulary on the SAT is to increase
one’s vocabulary knowledge,” says Ron Friedmann, owner of TutorExperts
in Walnut Creek, Calif.
McDermott, college and career development director at Parkview Baptist
High School in Baton Rouge, La., concurs. “Work the crossword puzzles
found in daily newspapers. Not only will the clues and puzzle answers
increase your vocabulary for the SAT, they might also supply facts for
quick test answers in the reading and science sections of the ACT,”
adds, “Search the Internet and find sites that offer self-administered
IQ tests, brain teasers, word problems or word puzzles. Just play.
Don’t take it too seriously. …And don’t think your IQ score via the
Internet is accurate!”
Tutor younger students in math
math skills fresh during the summer provides a definite advantage for
students taking standardized tests early in the school year,” says Beth
Dare, director of Simply Mathematics-South Learning Center in St.
Louis. “It also provides an easier transition back into the classroom.
“An upper-level student may maintain his/her math skills during the
summer by tutoring other students. Tutoring is an enjoyable way to
maintain skills while helping another student who may be struggling.” And if you charge for your time, your SAT score-boosting measure could also mean cash in your pocket!
Host SAT/ACT game nights
loves company,” says McDermott. “So gather a group of friends for a
test prep tournament. Use actual former ACT and SAT sections, and set
up the sections around a room. Divide the group into teams; assign
members from each team to each station; set a timer; and let each team
progress through the entire rotation.
After each team has completed all stations, check answers and award prizes to the team with the highest score.
suggests the groan game. Have friends make vocabulary flash cards using
SAT words. Then challenge each other by figuring out how to use the
words correctly and also incorrectly by misusing or abusing the word in
as many different situations as you can.
Smith, “This sounds a little silly, and that is the point. Not only do
the kids learn their own words, but they learn their friends’ words as
well. And usually some humorous competition ensues.”
groan game can also be played on your own. Pick a new word each day and
try to use and abuse it in as many ways as possible. The word will
stick with you—and will drive everyone else crazy.
face it: SAT/ACT preparation is serious work, and fun does not rank
high on the list of vocabulary associated with it,” empathizes
McDermott. “In fact, for the typical high school student, the really
fun part—researching admission and scholarship requirements for that
first-choice university or college—serves as the motivation for really
diligent test prep.”