On a handful of ACT math tests, I’ve seen a unit circle question which requires outside knowledge of the coordinates around the circle. I had heard that there is a “hand trick” out there that students can use to recall those coordinates as you climb up and back down around the circle. Today I found a great blog post from “Mrs. B”. Check it out! http://highschoolmathadventures.blogspot.com/2013/08/Unit-Circle-Hand-Trick.html

## In a few days, the old “Real ACT” prep guide will be re-released with no updates

Those of us who prep for the ACT are painfully aware that the exam has become more difficult over recent years. Dual passages in the reading, new essay prompts, tougher science sections, more alg 2/pre-calc topics in the math are just some examples. We’ve been looking forward to updated prep materials. I was excited to see that Wiley is newly publishing a Real ACT prep guide, but alas, *it is the same book.* The publisher doesn’t claim there is new material, but there isn’t any in case you were hoping for some. The customer service rep did say she was told an actual new guide would be published “in the Spring”.

Filed under Uncategorized

## Schools that don’t require the SAT/ACT

The *Washington Post* provided a list back in July.

Filed under Uncategorized

## The PSAT (and new SAT) Writing instructions Are Missing Something

I have a problem with the PSAT Writing instructional page. There should be clear instructions for the “logical order” questions (look at # 5 above) that require the reader to order numbered sentences. There are already numbers that are in black squares on the page for the writing questions. And for the order questions, some students may just try to use those numbers (the black square ones) as if they are also the numbers for the sentences that you need to put in order. The numbers you need to move around for #5 are in brackets- but why not tell the students that?

Why don’t the instructions include two lines that describe a bracketed series of numbers, [1], [2], etc…, that are in the paragraph and are specifically meant as sentence numbers for these order questions? Many students don’t answer these correctly because they don’t know to look for the brackets.

Filed under Uncategorized

## Some thoughts about that recent Kaplan 1/2 new SAT and 1/2 ACT test

Did you recently take that half SAT- half ACT 90 minute test from Kaplan? Before you get worked up about your results, here are things you should know:

The tests were written by Kaplan’s writers- they are not real SAT questions from the SAT writers, nor are they real ACT questions.

The number of questions on these two tests was about 20% the number of questions one would have normally had during the two full tests. So I would not think of the scores as “an accurate representation.”

The SAT Reading/writing and the ACT English have very similar types of grammar questions. And- those grammar questions are very different than those on the current SAT.

For a real, full-length ACT, click here

For a real, full-length new SAT, click here

Filed under ACT, redesigned SAT

## Summary of math concepts (no calc section) on SAT Practice Test #1, New Format

There have been many anxious inquiries about the topics covered on the new SAT, especially the non-calculator math section.

Typical of the ETS writers, there are still plenty of fractions to simplify on this test. There is also heavy emphasis on understanding how functions work and on systems of equations.

The following is a list of categories topics in the non-calculator section of practice test 1:

- substitution
- adding/subtracting complex numbers
- multi-variable word problems- how to assign the variables correctly
- function word problems- how to compose a function
- simplifying polynomials via addition/subtraction of like terms
- simplifying fractions with polynomials
- systems of equations
- how to predict points when given a point and a slope
- rules of combining like bases and their exponents
- equating corresponding coefficients
- solutions to single variable quadratic equations
- similar triangle ratios
- SOH-CAH-TOA
- simplifying radicals

This shows a new emphasis on algebra II/trig/pre-calc topics.

Download the new SAT practices from the Khan Academy site. Here are the answers.

Filed under redesigned SAT

## A GRE Vocab List- Straight from an ETS GRE Test

Those of you preparing strategies for the text completion and sentence equivalency questions on the Verbal sections of the GRE must already know that vocabulary study is essential. Attached is a list of vocab words from the ETS official study guide’s DVD GRE practice test. GRE words (Word file)

Preparing index cards yourself is better than studying pre-made ones. Here’s a video on my recommended card preparation method: Index Cards

Filed under Uncategorized