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There’s a lot of advice out there about SAT prep tips, some good, some bad. But the worst prep tips come from the writers of the test.
I mean, think about it. The College Board does not benefit from giving great advice about the SAT; in fact it will negatively impact their profits.
Why I don’t trust the College Board’s SAT Prep tips:
If they gave really effective info about how to improve your SAT score, students would score higher, and they would take fewer SAT tests.
If every student got a high score, the test wouldn’t help rank students as effectively, and colleges and scholarship committees would lose faith in the College Board and eventually stop using their tests, and the College Board (a for-profit testing business (EDIT: this was an error on my part – the College Board is NON-profit, but read the comments section for an interesting discussion about this topic) would eventually fail.
If students take fewer tests, the College Board loses revenue, because they produce income each time a student takes the SAT. So why the hell would they give us good advice? They want more money; they really do not care about making your life easier. But they act like they do.
What they do instead is give just enough good advice mixed with the bad advice to keep you coming back, buying their books, logging onto their website, making them MONEY. That’s what they want from you. The College Board tries to act like your “pal,” like they sympathize with your plight. What a joke! They are laughing all the way to the bank.
Useless “Official” SAT prep tips and why they’re BS:
Just read the back cover of the Blue Book (“The Official SAT Study Guide”) for another great laugh. (You can get your own copy of this essential SAT prep book here: Pre-March 2016 edition or March 2016 and after edition)
Now don’t get me wrong, this book is essential for the practice problems it provides, but the prep advice is just not always very good. Here is a sampling of a few of the myths it presents on its back cover:
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“The SAT isn’t designed to trick you.” BS! It’s totally designed to trick you… almost every single question has a “trick” in it!
“The SAT tests your skills in… the same subjects you’re learning in high school.” BS! Expect to be tested on math topics you haven’t studied in years, vocabulary words you’ve never seen before, and strange grammar rules that no one has ever told you about!
“If you take rigorous, challenging courses in high school, you’ll be ready for this test.” BS! Some of my most frustrated SAT prep students are in the highest-level courses their high school offers… and now find themselves being tested on topics they’ve forgotten about!
“The SAT measures what you already know” BS! The SAT Measures how well you’ve prepared for the SAT!
The College Board benefits from keeping students at a low-level, constant anxiety about the SAT (so students buy the Blue Book, visit the website, and purchase other “official” SAT prep materials from them), while keeping them docile and mellow enough to not prepare sufficiently be happy with their scores on the first SAT they take.
“Prep a little bit, but not too much” is the official line from the College Board, and it’s not good advice.
How to ACTUALLY prepare for the SAT (a perfect-scoring pro tutor’s advice):
Listen – you want to get into an elite college? Or maybe your grades suck and you want a trump card/secret weapon? Then you better do some serious prep work, starting today. Use this website, get my SAT prep books, and sign up for the email list to get my FREE Urgent Report on the Critical Reading section.
Build up your vocabulary, read the newspaper, and find a local tutor. Take action daily, weekly, and monthly to positively impact your score. There is no other “secret” advice. Professionally-guided practice problems (like you can find through my website) will help you improve in your weak areas.
Yes, of course I’m trying to sell you on the SAT prep methods I prefer, partially because I believe they are the best and partially so you will send me money and I can pay for rent and groceries.
But the difference is, I benefit most when your scores increase massively so you tell other people how excellent my SAT prep help is. On the other hand, the College Board benefits when your scores slowly creep up as you invest time and money into their questionable advice.
I want to help you improve the first time and provide lots of value so you give me good reviews, while they want to string you along with hope and fear for as long as possible while you take more of their tests. Think about it. Food for thought, right?
Get your SAT prep tips from any source except the College Board, and you’ll probably be starting on the right foot. They have no incentive to really help you. They profit from your misery and frustration. Look elsewhere for SAT advice.
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