Tuesday, December 18, 2007

How about some Vocab?

Here is a nice list of 1000 SAT Vocab Words; have fun stormin' the castle! (do you think it is going to work? It'll take a miracle) b' bye!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

'Twas the week before Christmas . . .

"Twas the week before Christmas Break and all through High Schools, not a SAT prep book was stirred, not even by an over-achieving geek.

Well, it doesn't rhyme very well and it would be painful if I kept it up, even for me. Seriously, this week is usually a time to let down a bit and relax. Most schools are in the holiday spirit and know that minds are elsewhere. So Mr. Grinch may give you a test before Dec 20, but the majority of work will not be tough. So, relax and enjoy the week.

This Christmas break is a nice long one, with Dec 25 on a Tuesday, we get two weekends. It is an excellent time to do some prep work - WITHOUT PRESSURE!

Take the Big Blue Pillow and begin doing some problems. Let me set the stage for you... wake up some time after 10 or 11am, eat cookies or left-overs for breakfast, curl up on the couch and turn on the tv -- then get down to some serious, or not so serious work.

Here is how to tackle working during the break. Do as many problems as you can until you fall asleep - then take a nap. If you can do the problem - skip it. Only work on problems that you can't do! And here painful part, go look up the concept covered by the problem and read it!

Merry Merry

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Parabola Blog

Another Parabola

Here is another parabola problem that has a square labeled PQRS with an area of 64. The top corners intersect a parabola that sits on the bottom side.

The function of the parabola is y=ax^2

The key to solving this problelm is remember that parabolas are symmetrical. Since the square root of 64 = 8, then all sides have a length of 8. QR = 8, and so the point R is (4,8)

Substitute these two points into the equation and solve

8 = a*(4)^2

8 = a* 16

8/16 = a * 16/16 a = 1/2

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Fun with Parabolas

To get a good handle on SAT parabolas - download my cheat sheet. It covers the basics and has questions from the BBP listed on the bottom.

Fun with Parabolas

Email me any question

Hi - thanks for reading SAT - Tutor

If you can think of the problem, email it to me.

If you can sketch it & scan it all the better

My email address is phil@mccaffreytutoring.com

I'd love to hear from you

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Symmetrical Parabola's: opposit "a"

Thanks for the feedback, come back and tell your friends. Sat-tutor is about to have a whole lot more, including practice problems and video explainations.

When two parabolas are defined by quadratic equations that have "opposite" coeffecients, the SAT is giving you a REALLY BIG clue. Looking something like:

f(x) = x^2

f(x) = -x^2 + k (where ^ is the symbol for exponent & k is a constant)

The SAT will give you points where these two intersect. Notice that they are both symmetrical about the Y-axis, making the two points of intersect equal distance from the Y-axis (where x = 0). Let's call those two points: P & Q

They give some clue about these two points, something like: the distance of line segment PQ is 6. What is the value of k?

First step:

The distance between PQ is important. Since the parabola's intersent at a point x, -x, the total distance between them, 2x is equal to 6. 2x = 6. x = 3, -x = -3

Second step:

Substitute x = 3, into the first equation. 3^2 = 9. The points of intersection P & Q are (3, 9) & (-3, 9)

Third step:

Substitute P or Q into the second equation: f(x) = -x^2 + k

9 = -(3)^2 + k

9 = -9 + k

18 = k

The one thing that I highly recommend SAT prep students is to buy "The Official Study Guide" published by The College Board. It has 8 practice tests from REAL SAT's. It is the only one that has REAL practice problems - so it is the best piece of intelligence.

I have my students go through and do every parabola problem in The Guide.

Check back in a few days and I will post all of the parabola problems in The Guide, with notation for "Symmetrical Parabola" problems.
Excuse the really crude drawing but it is now 3:30 in the morning. I had crashed in a chair after coming home from my night school class & was on my way to bed when I saw you had posted, so I cranked out this thought before I forgot it.
Now that I know how easy it is to make a drawing and post it - watch out!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Symmetrical Parabola's

The SAT loves to give a trick question: finding something out about a parabola by solving another puzzle first. More on this later - I just wanted to write down the idea so that I can come back and do it justice

Monday, October 01, 2007

SAT Dates

Here is the schedule for the SAT:

SAT Test Date Registration Late Registration
Nov 3 2007 Oct 2 2007 Oct 11 2007
Dec 1 2007 Oct 30 2007 Nov 8 2007
Jan 26 2008 Dec 26 2007 Jan 4 2008
Mar 1 2008 Jan 29 2008 Feb 7 2008
May 3 2008 Apr 1 2008 Apr 10 2008
Jun 7 2008 May 6 2008 May 15 2008

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Root Words

Here is a list of the some of the most common root words from Latin & Greek. Some will say to not try to learn root words themselves. But to use them as tools in building a better vocabulary.

I do not completely agree. Building a better vocabulary is one of the most important things to which an educated person strives . But I have found root words useful in making very good guesses on the SAT. On October 2006's exam, I did not miss a single sentence completion [19 total], though I did not know all of the words.

I remember well taking the SAT in 1980 after two years of excellent Latin instruction [thank you Sister Celestine]. I know that I did better on the then "Verbal" portion because I knew some Latin. The only preparation I did for the SAT was to review a long list of root words and modern words formed from them.

Our good friends over at another company have put this list together:
Cap/Cip/Ceipt/Cept/Ceiv/Ceit [take]

Gen [birth, race or kind]

Dic/Dict/Dit [tell, say or word]

Spec/Spic/Spit [look, see]


Tent/Tens/Tend/Tenu [stretch, thin]

Trans [across]

Doc/Duc/Dac [teach, lead]

Co/Con/Com [with, together]

Vers/Vert [turn]

Loc/Log/Loqu [word, speech]

Sen [feel, sense]

De [away, down, off]

Nom/Noun/Nown/Nam/Nym [name, order or rule]

Cla/Clo/Clu [shut,close]

Vo/Vox/Vok/Vow [call]

Mal [bad]

Fra/Frac/Frag [break]

Gress/Grad [step]

Sec/Sequ [follow]

Que/Quis [ask, seek]

Sacr/Sanct/Secr [sacred]

Scrib/Scrip [write]

Pathy/Pas/Pat [feeling]

Dis/Dif [not]

Circu [around]

Prefixes & Suffices, a taste of what's to come

Pro [much, for or a lot]

Sub [under]

Ab [away, from]

Ob [against]

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The absolute BEST SAT Site Online!

Of course I believe that SAT preparation is an absolute must for any serious student. Here's why (at the end of my rant is the link to the great site)

I remember well walking out of the room in my high school where I took the SAT in 1980 - the sickening feeling still haunts me. What made me so mad was that I had not prepared and could have scored much higher than I did.

We were misled. We were told that it was a true "aptitude" test [of course ETS has stricken any meaning from SAT - it is no longer an acronym, the only letter that is still true is "T" for Test]. We were told it has its roots in IQ testing - rubbish, lies, filth.

It tests nothing but how well you do on it! No other math has the poor wording of this confusing and purposefully tricky examination. No one edits by multiple choice!

I was mad also that the math content was so easy. Yet, in the midst of a hectic junior year studying Trig, AP Chem, AP Bio, AP English, etc., I was stumped by middle school level problems! That is true, the concepts tested on the exam are ones that most students have not seen in years.

So to prepare, READ the content of preparation material and familiarize yourself with the key concepts that you probably once knew well but now will take some time to pull from your long term memory. That way you will not sit on exam day looking like a fool from "Are you smarter than a 5th grader?"

Go to www.proprofs.com/sat/

It is simply fantastic & it is FREE!

I can tell you by experience of taking the exam and reading every practice test out there that the key concepts are covered! Read them - practice the problems and get your mind ready for the sum of a three consecutive odd prime integers greater than 9 is twice the difference of your birthday minus the absolute value of pi during a leap year. In terms of x what is the time that you go insane solving problems that have no basis in real academic instruction.

I'll plan on editing the postings from this blog and heading on over to join ProProfs. I'll see you there

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Back Again, are my roots showing?

After a long hiatus of working with students, boy do I have a lot to post.

Here is a nice find, Latin & Greek roots, prefixes & suffixes. Can't help a po' boy with the vocab!
This will shortly be available at www.mccaffreytutoring.com as a pdf [I only have about a hundred pdf's to post!]

Greek and Latin Root Words*

English Words
arch ancient archetype
aster/astra star astronomy
audi hear audible
bene good/well benefit
bio life biology
brev short abbreviation
chloro green chlorophyll
chrono time chronology
derm skin dermatologist
dic/dict speak dictionary
fer carry transfer
fix fasten affix
gen birth generate
geo earth geography
graph write graphic
hemo blood hemoglobin
herb plants herbaceous
hydro water hydrate
jur/just law jury
log/logue word/thought dialogue
luc light lucid
manu hand manual
meter/metr measure thermometer
neg no negate
ocu eye ocular
olig few oligarchy
op/oper work operation
osteo bone osteoporosis
path feeling sympathy
ped child pediatrics
phil love philosophy
phys body/nature physical
pod foot podiatrist
proto first prototype
pseudo false pseudonym
scrib/script write scribble
sect cut dissect
sol alone solitary
struct build construct
tact touch contact
tele far off telephone
ter/terr earth territory
vac empty vacant
ver truth verify
verb word verbal
vid/vis see video

Greek and Latin Prefixes-/-Suffixes*

English Words
ad- to addict
-al relating to maternal
ambi- both ambidextrous
ante- before antecedent
anti- against antifreeze
-arium place of aquarium
auto- self autobiography
centi- hundred centimeter
circum- around circumvent
con- with concert
de- from/down depart
deci- ten decimeter
di- two diameter
dis- opposite disable
-dom quality/state freedom
ex- out exit
hetero- different heterogeneous
hypo- too little hypoactive
-ic relating to poetic
-ile quality/state juvenile
in- not invalid
inter- between interstate
intra- within intramurals
-ism quality/state catholicism
-ist one who practices biologist
macro- large macrobiologist
micro- small microbiologist
milli- thousand millipede
mis- bad miscarriage
mono- single monotheism
nano- billion nanosecond
neo- new neonatology
-ology study of biology
omni- all omniscient
-ous quality/state nebulous
pan- all pantheon
per- throughout pervade
peri- all around periscope
poly- many polygon
post- after postpone
pre- before precede
pro- forward progress
re- again reappear
retro- back retrogress
sub- under submarine
super- more than supermarket
sym- together symbol
-tion quality/state preservation
-ular relating to cellular
un- not unwilling

Monday, February 05, 2007

Another great question of the day

In partnership with Kaplan, the New York Times has a test prep question of the day online:

New York Times Question of the Day

It looks pretty good. There is also a word of the day that archives the Kaplan test prep question, be careful to only do archives after the test changed in 2006 -- don't waste your time on analogies.