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Alexis Avila Founder/President of Prepped & Polished offers advice on how to avoid careless mistakes on the SAT Sentence Error Questions on the SAT Writing Grammar Section.
Before circling an answer because it sounds wrong, come up with a valid replacement for the incorrect grammar.
Full Word-for-Word Transcription
Hi everyone, Alexis Avila found of Prepped and Polished LLC here in Boston.
Now 18 out of the 49 grammar questions on the SAT are sentence error
questions. What a lot of students do, of all levels, is they tend to read
the question, and then if something sounds funny in the sentence, they’ll
circle the answer and then they’ll just move on.
If you want to avoid careless mistakes on the sentence error portion of the
test, you have to work really methodically. So this is what I recommend
that you do with sentence error questions. You want to first read the
sentence and narrow in on the bad grammar.
So “Martha is the woman who sat on the couch.” that sounds pretty good,
“between you and I at the meeting, and who kept asking questions about
American Idol.” Well, we know that after a preposition between, you can’t
have the subject case pronoun after a preposition. So this is what I want
you to do. Instead of just choosing B because it sounds funny, I want you
to really know why we are going to choose B. So I want you to have a valid
replacement for the answer.
So after the preposition between, the pronoun shouldn’t be you and I, it
should be you and me. You need the object case form of the pronoun after a
preposition. So before you actually go ahead and choose B, I want you to
slash the incorrect answer, slash the mistake, and replace it with the
correct grammar. Then choose B and move on confidently through the sentence
error portion of the test. So do those things, and I guarantee you’re avoid
careless mistakes on the sentence errors.
I’ll talk to you soon.
Did you find this SAT Grammar tip helpful? What are some other ways to avoid careless grammar mistakes on the SAT?
Post your tips/comments below.
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Alexis Avila Founder/President of Prepped & Polished offers advice on how to avoid careless mistakes on the math portion of the SAT test.
Underlining or circling the key words in the math question will help you to avoid careless mistakes by forcing you to read the problem carefully and know exactly what you are looking for.
Hi everyone, Alexis Avila, founder of Prepped and Polished LLC. Now many
SAT students, even top level SAT students, make careless mistakes on their
SAT, especially on the math section.
Now remember if you make ten careless mistakes on the SAT math section,
that can cost you between 100 and 150 points, so you want to avoid careless
mistakes and this is how you do it. You’re going to underline and circle or
box key words in the math question.
For example, if A equals 2 x 4 x 6 x 8 and B equals 6 x 8, what’s the
remainder when A is divided by B. So what’s important in this question,
well, we need to know A so we’ve underlined that, and B is 6 x 8, what is
the remainder? I’m going to circle the remainder when A is divided by B.
Now you’re going to solve the question really carefully.
You’re going to clearly take A and divide it by B. So we’re going to say 2
x 4 x 6 x 8 divided by 6 x 8 which is B, we’re going to cancel and then
we’re going to solve and see that when A is divided by B you get 8. Now
this is where a lot of students make a mistake, even top level students.
They’re going to get so excited and wrapped around the fact that they
solved the question that A is 8 that they are going to circle E.
We’re going careful work and so we know that we are looking for the
remainder, and the remainder is clearly zero, there is no remainder when A
is divided by B. You’re going to circle A and move on. We’ve done careful
work. Now what you’re going to do to avoid careless mistakes in the math
section is you’re going to underline or circle key concepts, key words in
the math question. And then you’re going to reread the question and know
exactly what to look for in the SAT question.
I wish you good luck, and I’ll talk to you soon.
Did you find this SAT Math tip helpful? What are some other ways to avoid careless math mistakes on the SAT?
By Amie Hoff, Certified Fitness Trainer and Consultant, NYC
Summer will be here before you know it and yup, you guessed it – that means shorts and bathing suits too! Are you ready? Is your body ready?
If you were one of the many who shelved your workouts over the winter because it was just too darn cold or already fell off the resolution wagon, no more excuses. I’m here to help you get your body moving and shed the winter body fat just in time to shed the layers. Tone up those legs, arms and abs and get ready to turn some heads on campus! Just by making a few small adjustments and following these exercise and nutrition tips, you’ll blast the winter weight gain and be cruising the campus feeling awesome and looking great.
College workout survival tips to help inspire you to get up and moving:
• Get your roommate or a friend to join you. Enlisting the help of others not only makes it more fun, but gives you quality catch up time as well.
• Schedule your workouts just like you would your classes and stick to it. No blowing it off for another day.
• Walk or bike to class, take the stairs whenever possible and visit your friends rather than email. Hint – move, move, move.
• Keep a workout journal to help chart your progress, understand how you’re feeling, what workouts you like (and don’t) and keep an eye on your weight.
• Dress for success – If you do choose to exercise outside, it’s important to dress for the elements. Layer with wicking and breathable fabrics. Cotton is not a good choice as it traps sweat and dries slowly, not fun. Think of light layers that can be peeled off as your body temperature rises. And if it’s still chilly, wearing a hat is smart. Most of your body heat escapes through the head.
• Check for leagues or teams on campus that play ultimate frisbee, volleyball, baseball, etc. Getting a workout while having fun and meeting new people is a bonus. If your school doesn’t have one, start your own!
• Use the stadium bleachers for an awesome cardio workout. Run up and down them for 10 min working up to 20.
• Or, find the building on campus with the most floors and run up and down the stairwell. Trust me, that will get your heart pumping! For even more of a challenge, try taking two steps at a time on your way up.
• When you get bored with your workout, switch up one of the following: Intensity, duration frequency or activity.
• Stock your dorm room and fill your fridge with plenty of healthy snacks so when the urge to order late night pizza hits, you can fill up on good-for-you foods and have healthy options.
• Try the now “it” workout: HIIT – High Intensity Interval Training. Alternating short bursts of intense activity with short slower periods for recovery. A serious calorie burner!
• Keep a food diary to track your calorie intake. When writing everything down, you’ll certainly think twice about what goes in your mouth.
• Download some new up-beat, fun music to get your feet jumping and body moving.
Amie Hoff is a certified personal trainer and fitness consultant in NYC, co-founder of FitKitDORM – Total Fitness in a Kit. www.FitKit.com Enter code DORM at checkout and get a 20% discount!
What was your favorite college workout tip? Do you have any others?
Post your questions/comments below.
Alexis Avila Founder/President of Prepped & Polished talks about the differences between the ISEE test and the SSAT test.
1. The ISEE has sentence completion questions, while the SSAT has analogies.
2. The first ISEE math section (middle and upper level only) has quantitative comparison questions.
3. The ISEE has four answer choices and no guessing penalty, while the SSAT has five answer choices and a ¼ point deduction for wrong answers.
ISEE vs. SSAT expanded
Hi everyone, Alexis here, Prepped and Polished. Now, if you’re applying to
boarding or private school, you’re going to have to take the SSAT, ISEE
test or both. Now, what are the differences between the two tests?
The ISEE test has sentence completion questions. The SSAT test has
analogies. The ISEE test first math section has quantitative comparison
math questions, middle and upper level ISEE test only. The ISEE test has no
guessing penalty and four answer choices.
The SSAT test has a guessing penalty – one quarter point deduction for
questions answered incorrectly and five answer choices to choose from.
Now overall, the ISEE test is a little easier, more straightforward than
the SSAT test. After all, there’s no guessing penalty. However, the second
math section of the ISEE test has 45 questions. You have 40 minutes to do
them. That’s one minute per question – less than one minute per question
and that throws kids off, so be careful with the pacing there. I recommend
the ISEE test for students who aren’t good test takers because there’s no
However, lately, I find that the SSAT test is a more coachable test because
analogy questions are easy to master. Now the ISEE lower level test is for
students currently in fourth and fifth grade. The ISEE middle level test is
for students currently in sixth and seventh. The ISEE upper level test is
for students in eighth through eleventh grade.
The SSAT lower level test is for fifth through seventh graders. The SSAT
upper level test is for eighth through eleventh graders. Now overall, find
a private tutor who will teach you strategies and pacing for all components
of the test.
If you walk into the test knowing exactly what to expect, you’ll be that
much more confident, no matter what test you choose. Now I’m attaching a
link to this that elaborates on these tips.
Good luck to you, and I’ll talk to you soon.
Are you preparing for the ISEE or the SSAT? Do you have other questions about these tests?
Alexis Avila Founder/President of Prepped & Polished shows you how to master SAT sentence completion questions.
First: Read the sentence and blanks, and look for clues in the sentence.
Second: Use the sentence clues to help you predict the missing words.
Third: Eliminate unlikely answer choices.
Fourth: Choose the answer choice that best fits the words you are looking for.
Fifth: Jot down all the vocabulary words you didn’t know and memorize them.
Now you go to all your answer choices and eliminate any word that does not
fit these two words that we’re looking for. In choice E, does apologetic
come anywhere close to the word intelligent? No, it does not, X that out.
In choice D, for the second blank, does imposing come anywhere close to the
word humble? Not at all, get rid of choice D.
Now if you go to choice B, you might not know what the word perspicacious
means, but you certainly know that unpretentious is very close to the word
humble. Now perspicacious, by the way, actually means having or showing
discernment and acuity, so it’s a perfect fit. We’re going to go for choice
Now the last thing that you always want to do with sentence completion
questions is you want to jot down all the vocabulary words you didn’t know.
In this question alone, there’s about ten vocabulary words that you can
jot down, find the definitions, make flashcards, and memorize them. The
more vocabulary words that you learn, the better you’ll do on sentence
completion questions. So do these things, and I guarantee you’ll improve
your score. Good luck.
Did you find this sentence completion technique helpful? How do you tackle sentence completion questions?
Alexis Avila Founder/President of Prepped & Polished discusses his three college application insider tips.
Tip 1: Make the most out of your high school experience.
Tip 2: Don’t take the SAT more than three times.
Tip 3: If there is anything on your college application that may confuse admission officers, clarify this confusion in a separate note.
Hi everyone. Alexis here; Founder of Prepped & Polished. Having a good
college application will help your chances getting into a college. Recently
spoke to several admission directors at some top colleges in the area and
came away with some really interesting info. Here are 3 college application
insider tips. Let’s get started.
Tip Number 1 is take full advantage of high school by taking lots of
extracurricular activities, volunteer experiences, and work experiences,
especially if you come from privilege. You want to show that you took full
advantage of the support you were given; otherwise, you’ll come across as
lazy and complacent. Colleges don’t like lazy and complacent students. Take
advantage of your opportunities.
Tip Number 2 is don’t take the SAT more than 3 times; colleges don’t like
that. In fact, they say that you should have spent your time more wisely in
other areas. Don’t take the SAT 6 times; volunteer somewhere.
Tip Number 3 is if there’s anything on your college application that may
cause confusion to admission officers, clarify that confusion in a separate
note on your application. For example, if you’re a straight-A student and
you got a D freshman year, explain the D.
Overall, you want college admission officers who are reading your college
application to come away with the impression that you’re a good human
being, that you’re going to contribute to society, and you’re going to take
full advantage of your college experience. I wish you good luck on your
college applications. I’ll talk to you soon.
Which of these three tips do you find most helpful? What are some other ways to strengthen a college application?
Alexis Avila Founder/President of Prepped & Polished discusses three ways to get an A in school.
Tip 1: Pay attention in class and take notes.
Tip 2: Learn to love to do your homework.
Tip 3: Earn your teacher’s respect.
Tip two is do your homework. Not only to improve your homework grade but
also to better prepare yourself for tests and quizzes. And if you really
want to get an A, learn to love to do your homework. Now you do this by
setting up incentives for yourself for completing your homework. So get
yourself a snack if you finished your math homework on time or go to a
movie on Friday if you got everything done on Thursday. And if you’re a
slower learner, you’re going to have to put in more time to get an A on
your homework. For example if you have two chapters to read in your US
History book, you’re going to have to re-read those chapters and take notes
if you’re a slow processor.
Tip three is get on your teacher’s good side. Now I’m not saying put a
fresh red apple on your teacher’s desk each and every day. That could hurt
your grade. What I’m saying is try to earn your teacher’s respect. You do
this by coming prepared to class and participating in class. Now do you
come prepared to class? By doing your homework. Doing your homework, you’ll
come armed with questions, your teacher will appreciate that you’re
And also go to your teacher’s office hours from time to time. You’re
teacher will appreciate that you’re showing initiative. Don’t be a negative
distraction during class, have a positive, enthusiastic attitude and I
ensure you that your teacher will reward you with the best grade you have
received so far. So good luck on your grades and I’ll talk to you soon.
Which of these three tips do you find most important for getting A’s in school? What are some other ways to get an A?
Alexis Avila Founder/President of Prepped & Polished recommends five ways to have a successful Senior Year of high school.
Tip 1: Get good grades and show leadership.
Tip 2: Take standardized tests if you aren’t satisfied with your scores.
Tip 3: Finish your college essays by late August or September.
Tip 4: Submit college applications about a month before the deadline.
Tip 5: Visit your guidance counselor and teachers weekly to stay on track.
Which of these five tips do you find most important for Senior Year success? Do you have other tips to share?
“Alexis helped our son take charge of the college search, application, and decision process. This was a tremendous help to our whole family during the difficult college prep time. It significantly reduced our household stress over college. He guided our son in an organized and results oriented manner. Our son is now enrolled at a good college which he is excited to attend.
We received more from Alexis than just the “college coaching”. I strongly believe he helped change our son into a more self-motivated individual. It seems like he really grew up while under Alexis’ tutelage.
Lastly, our son loved working with Alexis and they got along great together. He thinks everyone should use Alexis.”
“Your coaching with our child was absolutely critical to his completing the year. You have the perfect temperament and tone for dealing with a 17 year old, disinterested teen. Thanks Prepped & Polished for all your help, patience and positive reinforcement.”