Not Top 10: SAT Prep Student Bloopers

No one intends to sabotage his or her college plans. No one means to watch his or her career potential disappear faster than the last bag of chips at a Grateful Dead concert. It just sort of happens. Well, don’t let it happen to you! The following is a “Not Top 10” of SAT prep — in other words, a list of bad habits that real students have fallen into while studying for the SAT. Don’t let these mistakes be yours!


Mistake #1: Be the Lone Ranger.

Students that “go it alone” — study the book themselves — have good intentions but historically don’t get the work done. Students that don’t enroll in a credible SAT Prep course rarely improve their scores. Competitive, smart people get help with SAT prep. Such prep courses test subject mastery through the junior year and provide experienced guidance that drives results.

If you think test prep is only for struggling students, rich kids or “Ivy Leaguers,” you are misinformed. Your score means you have a shot at your “reach school” (best college on your list) and not just your “safely school” (college you can definitely get into).

Your score also determines the amount of scholarship money you receive. Even a few points can make a difference! Participating in a strong SAT prep class is essentially money in the bank. The “return on investment” can be 10 times your prep investment.  Read more about it in our previous post: “80K Reasons for Test Prep.”

Keep in mind that SAT Prep Classes fill fast! Here are Learning Ascent’s offerings for the 2018 winter and spring SAT season:

  • SAT Tuesday 4:30-7pm                    Oct 2 – Nov 20, 18
  • SAT Saturdays 10:30am-1-pm         Feb 2-April 6, 19 (skip 3/23&3/30)
  • SAT Mondays  6:30-9pm                  Feb 4-April 1, 19 (skip 3/25)
  • SAT Wednesdays  6:30-9pm           Feb 6-April 3, 19 (skip 3/27)
  • SAT Mondays 4-6pm                       Jan 28- April 8, 2019 (skip 3/25)
  • SAT Thursdays 7-9pm                    Jan 24-April 4, 2019 (skip 3/28)


Mistake #2: Delay taking the test.

Students that prolong taking the SAT long after SAT prep concludes ultimately lose… Test prep classes prepare you to excel at the next SAT after course completion. It is in your best interest to test while all the information is fresh in your mind.

At Learning Ascent we’re documenting score increases of 50-200 points on the New SAT, which drastically improves your chances of acceptance and scholarship money. We want you to “have it all”; the scholarship money and the acceptance letter to the college that’s right for you. Work with us here — take the next test after prep! Please.


Mistake #3: Arrive 1 hour and 50 min late for your 2-hour test prep session.

Epic lateness can shoot you in the foot. Your parents are paying good money for 20 hours of invaluable test prep. Professional tutors are pouring all this knowledge into your empty seat…  At Learning Ascent Tutoring we have a satisfaction guarantee – but you do have to attend classes. (See guarantee below.)


Mistake #4: Neglect the prep class homework

Students may think, “Well, I’m not getting a real grade on it anyway. It doesn’t really matter…” This is “Not Top 10” thinking.  You have to do the work. The more energy you put into preparation, the better your outcome. Spending time on the practice SAT problems and strategies is money in the bank. Your money. Your parent’s investment. Let’s make it count!


Mistake #5: Limit reading and writing to texting.

Using emojis and “text characters” as a proxy for English is not GR8. If you want to own the “Evidence-Based Reading and Writing” section of the test with a perfect 800, you need to be a savvy language arts student with a strategy. Call us. We have all the tools to give you some sweet English skills.


Mistake #6: “This Math is too easy!”

Taking math for granted is Not Top 8+2.  Our free practice test reveals that math savvy students in Algebra 2, Pre-Calculus, and Calculus can crunch the tough numbers…  only to miss handfuls of easy problems. It’s time to review, refocus, and “get the cobwebs out!” It may have been a while since your Geometry Theorems and Proofs. Discipline yourself to stay focused through the “easy sessions.” More complex problems will be the coming your way soon. Both easy and difficult math problems are worth equal points. Don’t sabotage your score by missing the low-hanging fruit.


Mistake #7: Wait for test results before signing up for another test date.

Students that decide to wait for their SAT test before enrolling in the next test prep can find themselves paying late fees, missing the test sign-up deadlines, or taking the test at distant unfamiliar locations. We suggest taking the test 2-3 times at strategic intervals. Want to talk about your unique situation and best practices? We would, too! (We are here to talk – Call us at 630-587-2795.)


Mistake #8: Sign up for the last possible SAT.

Hope is a bad scholastic strategy. So is procrastination. Taking the very last possible SAT test is a recipe for unsuccess. The SAT is give 7 times a year  on specific dates and you need to sign up weeks in advance. Needless to say, he did not score his best. There was no second chance.

Life can hand you lemons somedays. Your car can have a flat, or you could oversleep. You could have a dead calculator battery, which could negatively affect your test outcome. The guy next to you can get sick and yack… Yep! This happened! With pre-planning, fresh calculator batteries, and the option to retest, some “life bloopers” can be avoided and you can live to fight the SAT battle another day.


Mistake #9: “One and done.”  

I don’t know anyone that wakes up saying, “Hurrah! I get to take the SAT today! It’s going to be awesome!” But before you pack your bags for your dream college, you must qualify to attend. The SAT* is commonly used by college to determine admissions and scholarships. Taking the test only once will not give you the chance to earn a “Superscore.” Many colleges are now accepting Superscores made up of your best sub-scores (best Math score or Evidenced-Base Reading and Writing score) from all your tests. This is a great opportunity to earn your best comprehensive SAT score.

So, if you take the SAT three times and submit all three sets of scores, your college can take your best Math score and your best Writing/Reading scores from the three tests. The combination of your best Math score and highest Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing score counts as your score – or Superscore. Superscoring can mean additional scholarship money and the door opening to your dream school. Take the SAT a couple times. Check out this link to find out if the school you are interested in Superscores.


Mistake #10: Fail to register for the test.

So you prepare; go to bed at 9 pm; wake early; eat a high-protein breakfast; pack a snack and your calculator with fresh batteries, plus a couple number 2 pencils. You grab your test registration and Driver’s License and drive to the test site – only to be turned away. You need to register for your SAT Test. I realize you might think we’re being “Captain Obvious” here, but “failure to register” happens more frequently than you want to know. The student believes Mom or Dad registered them for the test. Parents believe the student registered. And around and around we go. Registration is due about a month before the test is given to avoid a late fee. Register for the SAT here.

In the whirlwind of our lives, we spend vast amounts of energy managing the immediate and unimportant. Proactive decisions around college and standardized test prep can be subjugated to the immediacy of high school social lives, sports, or social media. Don’t make this mistake. Call today and enroll in a class or tough subject tutoring! Inspiring student success is what we do!

How do I sign up for SAT Prep at Learning Ascent? You can sign up online  here or call 630-587-2795 to speak to us personally about the best test for you. We are here to answer your questions and learn more about your unique situation.

One more question! Should I take the writing portion? Yes.


**Our Guarantee: After completing all twenty hours of Test Prep (Class or Private Tutoring) and the required practice work, if you are not satisfied with your ACT or SAT score gain, you may re-attend classes for up to six months without charge. You must take the next available standardized test while the material is fresh in your mind.

Click here for Homework Help resources.


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