Alexis Avila talks about how test preparation is …
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Josh Ochs of Media Leaders interviews Alexis Avila Founder of Prepped & Polished, LLC in South Natick, Massachusetts. Alexis list his favorite seven tips for teens preparing for the SAT Test.
Tip 1: Take Advantage of Free SAT Material on the Web
Tip 2: Buy the Official College Board Study Guide
Tip 3: Understand the SAT Format
Tip 4: Don’t spend too much time on Sentence Completions
Tip 5: Skip around a little on the math fill-in section
Tip 6: Wake up early Saturday morning for two months
Tip 7: If you get stumped, circle the question, then move on
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Full Word-for-Word Transcription
Josh: Hello and welcome to Media Leaders. In this video we want to
show you seven SAT tips for teens. I’m honored to have Alexis Avila, the
founder of Prepped and Polished with me today, Alexis welcome to the call.
Alexis: Thanks for having me Josh.
Josh: Well it’s an honor to have you here. Let’s jump right in to the
good stuff, you’re going to walk us through seven tips for people that are
taking their SAT. Can you tell us what you’re going to teach us?
Alexis: I’m going to teach you how to take advantage of free stuff so
you don’t have to pay an arm and a leg for tutoring. I’m going to tell you
about buying a key book for SAT. Walk you a little bit through the SAT
format. Talk a little bit about sentence completion, just some insider tips
on the math fill-ins. How to wake up early, you know really get primed and
ready. And also lay a cool strategy for an SAT.
Josh: Sweet. Walk us through the first one.
Alexis: All right. So SATs, you’ve got to take advantage of free stuff
out there, okay? There’s a lot of free stuff that you can study with. Khan
Academy.com, great videos to help you with problems that are found in the
old official college course study guide. CollegeBoard.org go to it
immediately, sign up for the question of the day, have it delivered to your
in box, SAT problem, free, again. Quizlet.com, you want to practice your
SAT vocab, you don’t have to buy books in the book store for that, go to
Quizlet.com, it’s all free. Free SAT vocab, practice and take quizzes.
Josh: Great resources. Walk us through the next tip?
Alexis: Okay. So you’ve got to buy the official college board study
guide whether you work with a tutor or independently. It has the most
realistic practice tests possible in this book, there’s ten of them. And I
recommend that you get through as many practice tests as possible. And make
sure that you time yourself when you take these practice tests. And if you
want to get explanations for the questions found in the SAT official
college board study guide, purchase Tutor Ted’s SAT Solution Manual, it’s
not perfect but it’s pretty much the only one out there, the only book out
there that actually has an explanation for each question found in the
official college board SAT study guide.
Josh: That’s super helpful. Walk us through the next one.
Alexis: Okay. Understand the SAT format, okay? This is what I do with
all my students to get them feeling confident and knowing what to expect.
First, section one and section ten are always the same section. Section
one, essays, section ten, short grammar writing section. The next level of
predictability is found in section eight, nine, and ten. Those are always
the shortened versions of the critical reading math, and like I said
section ten is also a short grammar writing section. Section two through
seven, not as much predictability but guaranteed in those sections your
going to find two critical reading long sections, 25 minutes, two math long
sections, 25 minutes, and one long, 25 minute, writing grammar section. And
then you’ll have one experimental section.
Also, know the nuances within each section, and learn how to pace for
them. So for example, the two long critical reading sections, one of those
long critical reading sections has eight sentence completions as opposed to
five sentence completions on the other one. So there’s a different kind of
pacing structure that you should learn. So that’s what I have to say about
the SAT format. I could go on forever about it.
Josh: That’s good to know. Take us on to the next one.
Alexis: Okay. Get to the critical reading. So don’t spend too much time
on those sentence completion questions folk. Why? It’s simple, it’s math,
there’s 19 sentence completions versus 48 reading comprehension questions.
If you get complacent and smug, and take your sweet old time doing those 19
sentence completion questions you’re going to have five minutes left to do
all that reading. You don’t want to be in that pickle. So trust your gut,
study your vocab, get through those sentence completion questions
relatively fast so you can have ample time to do the reading questions.
Scan the questions first when you at the critical reading, scan the
questions first, mark up the passage that answers the specific question on
the fly as you’re reading, it’s like an open book test. And the at the very
end, answer all the general questions, answer those last. It will make
sense because you can only answer general questions once you have the full
scope of the passage.
Josh: Wow, that’s really helpful. Walk us through the next one?
Alexis: All right. We’ll skip around, here’s a little insider technique
for you. Skip around on the maths fill in, the long 25 minute math fill in
section, where you have eight multiple choices and then ten fill-ins after.
Why? Because on the SAT you want to answer all the easy immediate questions
before you tackle the hard ones. Well the order of difficulty goes from
easy to hard, from one to eight multiple choice, and then they get easy
again. So I recommend that you do the first five or six multiple choice
questions, just take a quick glance at number seven and eight multiple
choice which are the hard ones, and if they’re too hard just circle them
and go right to those easy fill-ins, take care of those, and at the very
end go back to those last two multiple choice questions.
Josh: I love it. That’s really helpful. Very counter intuitive. Walk
us through the next tip?
Alexis: Yep. Okay. Well this is kind of like another tip, I really
believe that kids have to develop a routine going into the SAT. So I
recommend you wake up early for at least two months before, each Saturday
leading up to the test. Up to two months before that. The key is to build
your confidence. It’s to build a consistent study program if you want to
get your confidence going up. So you want to wake up early for two months
so you get used to doing SAT problems early in the morning. Again, now
while you’re waking up Saturday, I want you to eat a good healthy breakfast
devoid of fatty foods. Find a quiet study area free of distractions. Have a
nice stop watch so you can pace yourself. And waking up early means go to
bed early too.
Josh: So smart, very true. Walk us through the next tip?
Alexis: Okay. Stumped? Circle the question. The tip is basically this,
the SAT is a marathon, it’s not a sprint, which basically means that you
want to keep moving at a nice steady pace, you don’t want to cram and
agonize over question number one. If you can’t answer it you circle that
question and you keep moving. If you spend more than a minute on a problem
it’s probably a good indicator that you’re kind of going about the problem
the wrong way. You circle that problem and then you keep moving to the next
question. Answer as many questions as you can, and then at the very end
with a fresh set of eyes you go back to the questions that you circled
along the way, tackle those, that’s the way to go.
Josh: That’s super helpful. well walk us through what you’ve taught
Alexis: Okay. well I basically taught you to take advantage of all the
free SAT material on the web, you know you don’t have to spend a gazillion
dollars on SAT preps, there’s a lot of free stuff out there. And if you do
spend a gazillion dollars on SAT prep, fine, but also take advantage of the
free stuff. Buy the official college board study guide, that is basically
the number one and number two key resource you can buy. Everyone uses it,
buy it. Understand the SAT format. I don’t know about you but I feel more
confident when I know what to expect going into game day. Understand the
SAT format. Don’t spend too much time on sentence completion questions,
because there’s more, the lion’s share of those questions in the critical
reading section are critical reading questions themselves. Skip around a
little in the math fill-in section. Take care of the easy and medium
questions first. And then wake up early Saturday morning for the next two
months leading into the test so you get accustomed to what it’s like to
work your brain with multiple choice questions early in the morning. And
finally, if you get stumped circle the question and keep on moving, the
test is a marathon not a sprint.
Josh: Wow this has been really helpful. Alexis, thank you so much for
joining us today.
Alexis: My pleasure Josh. I’m humbled. Thank you very much.
Josh: Thank you. And those of you that are watching this video, click
the links below this video and in the area below, and you can learn more
about Alexis and his company Prepped and Polished. Thank you everybody for
being a part of Media Leaders. Have a great day, and as always, keep it
light, bright, and polite.
Are you preparing for the SAT? Which tip do you find most helpful?
Post your tips/comments below.
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Alexis Avila Founder/President of Prepped & Polished, LLC located at 21 Eliot Street in South Natick, Massachusetts discusses similarities between marathon training and test preparation.
You do not want to jump into rigorous preparation at week one of a sixteen week training schedule. Rather, you want to prepare and build you miles/study harder and longer gradually.
You don’t want to cram a few days before the test, nor do you want to run a 20 + mile run the week of the marathon!
On test day/marathon day, you want to move through the test steadily and pace yourself well.
Doing Test Prep Right! Marathon Training and Test Preparation Article
Have you considered running a marathon? How else is marathon training similar to test preparation?
Post your tips/comments below.
Alexis Avila Founder/President of Prepped & Polished lists his six favorite free online SAT websites.
1. Khan Academy for SAT Math
2. PWN The SAT for SAT Math-especially for intermediate and upper level test takers.
3. Ultimate Verbal Blog-for Critical Reading and Writing
4. College Board Site-for free practice tests, sample questions, and word of the day
5. Quizlet-for SAT vocabulary
6. Free Rice-for improving vocabulary and donating to charity
Hey everyone. Alexis Avila, founder of Prepped and Polished LLC, here in
Boston, Massachusetts. Now there’s a lot of information on the SAT, and
some of it will cost you money. But these six sites, they will not. And
these are my favorite right now.
Number one is Khan Academy. If you want to practice your SAT math, go to
these YouTube videos. The instructor does a great job explaining all the
math problems you’ll find on the old version of the official SAT College
Board Study Guide.
Site number two that I really enjoy is PWN the SAT. He’s a tutor out of New
York who really knows his SATs, and especially the math. You’ll enjoy his
math problems and challenges and you can print out some PDFs.
The third site I highly recommend is Erica Meltzer’s Ultimate Verbal Blog,
and you can increase your critical reading and writing score, just by
reading her blogs alone, and she has a ton of advice to help better your
critical reading and writing scores for the SAT test.
And the fourth site is the College Boards official site. They have a free
practice test on it, and they have some practice problems for each
component of the SAT test, and you can subscribe to the SAT Question of the
Day that gets sent directly to your email address on a daily basis with a
very challenging SAT problem.
The fifth site I highly recommend is for vocabulary boosting, is Quizlet,
which is the world’s most popular online flashcard site. If you search, you
can find some big stacks of SAT vocabulary to practice from, and they have
games and quizzes so that you can test yourself to see if you’re learning
some of that high frequency vocabulary.
The sixth site I highly recommend is another vocabulary website. My
students really enjoy this one. It’s called FreeRice.com and there are 60
vocabulary levels. So if you get a question or about three questions in a
row right, you increase a level, and each time you get a question correct,
you actually donate 10 grains of rice to charity. So you feel good while
you’re studying SAT vocabulary. So that’s fantastic.
So check out those six sites. I think you’ll really enjoy them. They’re all
free to help boost your SAT grade. And I’m also obviously partial to my
video blogs on my websites, so you can check those out,
So good luck on your SAT, and I will talk to you soon.
Which one of these six websites would you consider using? Suggest any others?
Alexis Avila Founder/President of Prepped & Polished teaches you a helpful backsolving technique for scoring higher on the SAT Math Section.
Plug-in the answer choices usually starting with choice C because it’s the median of the five answer choices. If your first backsolving attempt doesn’t work, eliminate this answer choice and attempt the other answer choices until you find a match.
Hi, everyone. Alexis Avila, founder of Prepped and Polished LLC., here in
Boston, Massachusetts. Now, one way to boost your SAT math score is to back-
solve using the answer choices. So, you can plug in the answer choices into
the problem and not have to worry about setting up complicated equations.
Now, here’s an example of how you can use the back-solving technique to
answer an SAT math question relatively quickly. So if three times quantity
Y minus one over two equals nine over Y minus two, then Y equals what? And
here are the answer choices. So, when you back-solve, you notice the
numbers are going in increasing order from A to E. So, you want to start
with answer choice C because it’s in the middle. Plus, it’s a relatively
easy number to back-solve.
We’re going to plug in one into the answer choices. So, instead of Y, we’re
going to put one to both sides and ask yourself, “Does three times one
minus one, three times zero; does zero equal nine over negative one?” No,
it does not, so you cross out C.
Okay, so answer choice C didn’t work. So, what do you do? Do you go to
answer choice B now and try that, or do you try answer choice D? I’m going
to go to answer choice D because it’s easier to plug in the number four
into the answer choices than it is to plug in negative one. So, if three
times four minus one over two, does that equal nine over four minus two?
So, does three times three over two equal nine over two? Absolutely. It
does. We have a perfect match. You go with answer choice D, and you move on
through the test.
Now, if you wanted to, you could solve this problem the long way, cross-
multiply and get a trinomial, but it will take you longer. Utilize the back-
solving technique with this particular problem, and you’ll solve this
question relatively quickly.
I wish you good luck on your SAT, and I’ll talk to you soon.
Did you find this SAT Math Backsolving tip helpful? Would you consider using this math approach on the SAT test?
Alexis Avila Founder/President of Prepped & Polished teaches you a key technique for scoring higher on the SAT Math Section.
First plug-in numbers for the variables provided in the math problem.
Second make sure you re-read the question, replacing the variables for the numbers you assigned.
Third, solve the problem and come up with your target answer.
Last, go to the answer choices and eliminate all answers that don’t match your target answer.
Did you find this SAT Math Plug-in tip helpful? Would you consider using this math plug-in approach on the SAT test?