Friday, June 29, 2012

QAS Test Taking Tip

I just read the May 2012 SAT Booklet that is provided to students who took the test and paid the addition $20 for the QAS, Question and Answer Service.

Go get your hands on some old QAS booklets. Your friends and your school should be collecting these. They are simply the best practice materials available.

Since I have read and practiced taking all of the old SAT QAS booklets. I was able to fly through the new test.  I could see, right triangles, regular polygons (that one actually required me to use a pencil to calculate, even though my guess was pretty good), isosceles triangles, fractions sequences... etc, etc. I did all three math sections, 54 questions total, in about 20 minutes!

How? They use the same question structure about the same content. I know because I have read all of the QAS booklets.

On the Critical Reading, I saw the passage about the Hispanic girl and was able to go straight to the questions and answer most of them without reading the passage. I read the questions  and answer choices aloud to the mother of a rising senior, then I told her the correct answer choice for a half dozen questions - WITHOUT reading the passage. She was cracking up.

How was I able to do that? I have read every passage of every SAT for seven years, along with every question they have published in their books and on their website. I bought the books used for $10 and made copies of the old tests. I studied the WRONG answers and saw a pattern. I was able to see the WRONG answers on the May test and guess wisely on the questions. I completed one entire 25 minute Critical Reading section in about 5 minutes.

Anyone who says that test preparation does not raise your test scores is full of it. I identify common question types as well as common correct and incorrect answers. I can see incorrect answers and eliminate them, because I PRACTICE looking at the right and wrong answers. You can too

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Slope of a line through the origin

Here is another simple SAT lesson. 

Slope ~ Line through the Origin

In the X-Y Plane, line l passes through (0,0)  and (4,-3). Line m passes through (3,-4) and is perpendicular to line l. What is the slope of line m?

Concepts to know:
1.     Positive and Negative Slope
2.     Lines that are parallel with the X and Y axis
a.     The X-axis is the line y=0. Lines parallel the X-axis have no slope, m = 0. All lines that are parallel have the same slope, so any line that is parallel to the X-axis will be a line y = a, where a is a real number. Like y = 4. These are also called Horizontal Lines.
b.     The Y-axis is the line X=0. It has an undefined slope. These lines have the equation x = b, where b is a real number. They are called Vertical Lines. [Note: Vertical Lines are NOT functions].

I tutor one-on-one in Sewickley. Summer rates start at $375 for five lessons and are negotiable for more, but worth it considering how competitive schools are and what a student can make back through academic financial aid.
Email for more information.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


I'm back.  After taking some time to teach high school in the city of Pittsburgh, I'm returning to the Bohemian life of an itinerant SAT Tutor.

First rambling:

On every SAT is a question from Algebra I ~ SLOPE!

You remember; Slope = [Rise]/[Run]  and Slope Intercept Form is y = mx + b; where x and y are points on the line, m is the slope, and b is the where the line goes through the y-axis or "y-intercept."

Slope is from a line on the X-Y Plane.  It is also called a "Linear Function" but that is a lesson for another day.

Things to know:
1. A line through the origin; aka "Direct Variation."  Since the line goes through the origin (0,0), the y-intercept = 0. Sometimes they like to write it as y = kx where k is the constant of variation ~ but it is still the slope.
2. Parallel lines have same slope.  y = 3x - 5 is parallel to y = 3x + 2.5
3. Perpendicular lines are lines at right angles and have slopes that are "Opposite Reciprocal"  y = 2x + 1 is perpendicular to y = -(1/2)x + 1