The “A” in SAT stands for achievement. Maybe that’s why the SATs strike fear into the hearts of many a student. Everything they’ve supposedly achieved in school up to that point is revealed in one test they take on one Saturday morning.
Most tests simply reveal the test taker’s ability to take tests, because most people don’t do their best thinking in a room with a few hundred other kids who aren’t allowed to talk to one another.
If your high school junior is taking the SAT this fall, the 2013-14 edition of Up Your Score (Workman, 2012) is worth reading. The current edition’s authors, Larry Berger, Michael Colton, JaJa Liao, Manek Mistry and Paul Rossi, with illustrations by Chris Kalb, have created an entertaining and thorough look at the test with strategies on getting a high score.
All the authors got perfect scores on the SAT, so their advice is valuable for any student taking the SAT but most valuable to kids who have kept up with their school work over the long term. The book covers basics of grammar rules, math concepts and writing techniques; but frankly, if someone doesn’t already understand the structure of a paragraph and how to write one, or how to solve the quadratic formula or subject/verb agreement, this book will be minimally helpful.
This book is perfect for good students who get nervous before the test and need advice on how to manage their time while taking the SAT or how to improve the odds of selecting the correct answer by understanding how test items are presented.
The authors stress the value in taking practice SAT tests to fully understand what the test is like and how long it takes to complete various sections. As for anything, practice is important. The book offers test tips like read the questions about a reading passage before reading the passage. Suggestions are made to help students guess intelligently when they don’t know the answer.
The book is humorous and irreverent. These authors know their audience. Up Your Score is labeled as “The underground guide to the SAT,” which sounds like cool, insider knowledge which it is. Reading it almost makes taking the SAT seem like a fun challenge on a Saturday morning. Almost.