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Our SAT Tutoring Program in Greater Cincinnati, Mason, and Loveland, Ohio

Tutoring is a natural choice for the SAT for so many students in Cincinnati who don’t have a natural affinity for puzzles.  Let’s face it.  This test can be a bit tricky, but learning to think through the logical steps that go into each question is highly rewarding. Break problems down into their simpler parts to see the relationships is really part of life, and the step-wise method Mr DiSalvo teaches in his lessons works like a charm for the student willing to learn some English rules, vocabulary roots, basic math formulas and some patience. Our SAT program, which is a favorite choice in Cincinnati, West Chester, Mason, and Loveland, first begins with a brief diagnostic test lasting about fifteen minutes.  We then jump into how to deal with the problems that formerly seemed impossible with the system, showing students how following the program in their  test prep will make the rest of our tutoring lessons go very smoothly.  By the end of our course, we are not just hoping for monumental increases in scores, we are looking to have produced a careful thinker who can make a lasting impact on society.

While there are naturally “SAT brains” out there that love puzzles, students don’t just stumble into a perfect score of a 2400 by chance.  Knowing the fundamental rules of English (and essay writing), math, reading and the Latin and Greek roots, prefixes, and suffixes, allows students the foundation to get started on the road to a perfect score.  While realistically only 10% of the population is capable of perfect score on the SAT, only about .2% actually make that mark on the test.  So how do we give ourselves that chance to increase our percentile rank by 500%?  Step by step.

The SAT exam is really composed of several parts, focusing on content in reading, math, and English (i.e. “Writing”) as the SAT people describe. We at A Plus have found that rather than a question and test booklet oriented approach, having as a basis the student do many questions and practice tests to be prepared for the big day, it is better to be step oriented first, to get down the fundamentals and focus most students are missing to get their maximum scores.

1.  Underlining. Right away we help students understand the pieces they are working with by underlining each context idea they encounter. In essence, students are beginning to process these parts at this point and understanding how they fit with the whole of the question. This step is most relevant in reading comprehension, when we are isolating ideas we are going to soon find in the passage.  We do the same with some English (or one might say “grammar”) questions, except in the case of understanding grammatical questions, we are mainly trying to prevent misreadings and using those pieces to help us classify into some of the same categories we see in our reading questions.  We actually “underline” in a way in the Science and Math tests as well, which are still part of the ACT.  In Science, as in English, we are more narrowly focusing on words that help us see whether we have a main idea  or inferential reasoning question, though seeing the individual pieces we are going to look for is also crucial.

2. Classifying. Classifying our types of questions is imperative to help us know where and how to look. Is it about the whole passage (main idea) or just a certain part (detecting detail)? Or is the question more idea oriented or detail oriented?  These main idea, detecting detail, and inference questions are in the reading section, while only the main idea questions and inferential reasoning questions occur in parts of the English section.  The Science test, being more mathematical in nature, requires students to simply use detecting detail and inferential classifications to know how and where to look in the charts, tables, and graphs (and sometimes passages) to be certain they are on the right track.

3. Go the the right part of the passage.  The “part of the passage” step helps us isolate the actual pieces we’ve broken down and classified in our first two steps for Reading, English, and Science. While the proper charts, tables, and graphs are usually the focus of where we look in the Science test on the ACT, the Reading and English test having long passages, forces us to look either at the beginning and end, or somewhere in the middle, based on our types of questions.

4.  Underlining (in the Passage).  Isolating the pieces in our tutoring is a big part of getting the right answer.  When we underline the parts of the passage that match up with what is in our question in the reading and English sections, we prove to ourselves that the ideas we started with and those that we have found in the paragraphs are truly the same.  This same basic process occurs when we isolate the components in the graphs, charts, and pictures in the Science test that match up with the ideas in the question parts.  Are the pieces basically the same? Are we looking in the right place? That is what we want to know.

5. Predict.  Once one has found the evidence that one is required to find. It is time to put the pieces together. In the Reading, what are the ideas in the passage point to? What can we anticipate before we look at the choices? Seventy to eighty percent of the time we can predict this answer before getting to that point. This improves accuracy and efficiency, which are both very important for the ACT.  With an average of only about 50 seconds per question, we need to be in and out and onto the next question or we will lose precious points.  A similar phenomenon happens in our ACTs when we deal with the Science section: gathering up all of the clues and patterns in our charts, we put those elements together into something coherent that fits the idea we were trying to find in the first place.  Either the answer will be directly there, or we put together the pieces in the puzzle until we have our own idea of the answer.

6. Correlate

Finally, we correlate that prediction we have made with the actual choices.  While we may only be able to anticipate and write down our predictions 75% of the time, we still can pinpoint with considerable accuracy what our choices will look like .  This is a crucial step.  Writing down our answers, though we are dealing with a multiple choice format, allows us to know we are thinking correctly when we see the essence of that prediction reflected in the choices we are given.

The SAT test is a good foundation for the ACT. We need to be more careful with each question, so students are in good habits of carefulness by the time they reach the ACT, which is more equation oriented.  Carefully laying out our pieces, we set ourselves up for success in multiple areas by working the reading, math, and writing on the test.  This is a big reason why students have gotten up to 600 point increases in their tests after working with Mr DiSalvo. Please give A+ Tutoring a call if you would like to schedule a free consultation.  Limited spots are available, so it is best to call early.

Our SAT test prep in available Cincinnati, Loveland, Mason, and West Chester, Ohio and the Tri-State area. Just give us a call at 513 939-9033 for more info.

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