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SAT Word of the Day - Mar

  
  

Mar

(v.) to make imperfect; to disfigure

(pronounced "mahr")

  

d

Example Sentence:

  • My nearly-perfect report card was marred by a low grade in speech class. 

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Secrets of the SAT Essay

  
  

Essay Ammunition: Pre-Planned ExamplesAmmo

Soldiers do not go into battle without ammunition, and you should not go into the SAT without essay ammunition. The College Board uses essay questions that tend to have consistent themes, such as success, adversity, happiness, ethics, and technology. Because these themes appear so frequently, it is useful to have a few pre-planned examples that can be applied to multiple themes with only minor adjustments. This will save you the from the pressures of having to produce great, spontaneous examples on test day.

For example, if you enter the test with strong knowledge of Helen Keller, you can use her story as an example for essays on adversity, hard work, success, happiness, team work, heroes, and many more. You could also use her teacher, Anne Sullivan, as an example for leadership and persistence.

Through your studies, it is likely that you have become an “expert” on some subject that you have researched. Maybe you have done several reports on the poet Dylan Thomas or on the Battle of the Bulge. We highly recommend that you revisit this topic before the SAT and use it as one of your pre-planned examples. It is also likely that you have done a book report on one or two novels that you remember well. Examples from literature are often favored by your readers since they are high school and college English teachers. You should return to an old book report and reacquaint yourself with the plot and the characters before taking the SAT. The more you know about an example, the more you can defend your thesis.

Some examples, such as Martin Luther King, Jr., are widely used by test takers on every SAT administration. While King is a great example for many of the themes tested and a perfectly acceptable example to use, your essay will stand out if you use less conventional examples. If you cannot come up with your own pre-planned examples, we have provided the following list of people, businesses, and events that supply strong supporting evidence for multiple essay themes. You would be wise to research two or three of these topics before taking the SAT if you do not have your own pre-planned examples:

essay topics

PowerScore Practice Prep:

Choose two of the examples above. How could you use them on the following Essay questions? Essay 1, Essay 2, and Essay 3

Photo: "Sailors prepare ammunition," courtesy of the US Navy

SAT Word of the Day - Nostalgia

  
  

Nostalgia

(n.) a desire to return to the past

(pronounced "no-STAL-juh")

  

home

Example Sentence:

  • When I revisited my childhood home, I was surprised by the nostalgia that I felt. 

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SAT Word of the Day - Objective

  
  

Objective

(adj.) not influenced by personal feelings or bias

(pronounced "uhb-JEK-tiv")

  

judge

Example Sentence:

  • It is important for a judge to be objective; he cannot let his personal beliefs affect his rulings. 

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SAT Word of the Day - Profound

  
  

Profound

(adj.) deep; intense

(pronounced "pruh-FOUND")

  

denied

Example Sentence:

  • Her profound knowledge of electricity was showcased at the science fair, where she won first place for her project. 

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SAT Word of the Day - Superficial

  
  

Superficial

(adj.) on the surface; shallow; not significant

(pronounced "soo-per-FISH-uhl")

  

wound

Example Sentence:

  • The officer was grazed by the bullet but luckily the wound was superficial and didn't require stitches.

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SAT Word of the Day - Superfluous

  
  

Superfluous

(adj.) having more than needed or wanted; excessive

(pronounced "soo-PUR-floo-uhs") 

  

snuggle

Example Sentence:

  • The lawyer's continuing arguments were superfluous, as the jury had already reached a verdict.

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Which is more important--the GPA or the SAT Score?

  
  

College Application Heavyweights: The GPA vs the SAT Score8190611701 be5006d41e m

In the battle between SAT scores and GPA, many students wonder which heavyweight matters most to your college application. Though many college admissions departments say your GPA delivers the biggest punch, these same admissions officers are secretly showing scorecards that declare the SAT the winner of the match. So why the secrecy and denial surrounding the importance of the SAT?

Think about how the two sets of data are computed:

Your GPA is cultivated over four years and measures effort, focus, and diligence whereas your SAT score is acquired in a matter of hours and is generally believed to simply reflect your aptitude. Universities might appear “shallow” if they reveal that more weight is given to a four-hour test than a GPA produced over a four-year period. It’s a lot like someone who says that that only thing that matters about a prospective date is personality, but yet that person only dates supermodels. Sometimes we say things that are not fully true in order to avoid public censure, and college admissions departments are no different. But, we now know that test scores are the most important components of a college application thanks to former admissions officers who have come forward and revealed the secret formula used to determine an applicant’s standing.

There are several reasons that the SAT is considered a more valuable admissions tool than your GPA.
The most obvious is that the SAT is a standardized test. While your GPA compares you to the rest of your school, your SAT score compares you to the rest of the country. GPAs are not standard. An ‘A’ earned in Mrs. Crawford’s English class in New York City might only equate to a ‘C’ in Mr. Pryor’s English class in San Diego. Plus, some schools are guilty of inflating the grades of its students. Because multiple high schools are competing for the same students, it is in the best interest of the school to produce a senior class with an outstanding GPA average. Parents in the district may hear that a certain high school consistently produces a senior class with an average GPA of 3.9 and they immediately sign their 8th grader up, not realizing that the average GPA of the class is a full point higher than it should be! A counselor in a competitive high school might go one step further and leave a student’s class ranking off of a transcript in order to make an inflated 4.0 look like a stellar score, when in fact it is just slightly above average among the class. You can start to see why a college admissions officer has a hard time putting a lot of faith into a GPA generated by school employees! But while these admissions officers may be afraid to trust some principals, counselors, and teachers, they can certainly trust an SAT score. It is standardized by a third party, the College Board, and it fairly compares Jane in Florida to John in Oregon. It can also provide additional, unbiased information about a student’s transcript or recommendations. Let’s say that Tina received an ‘A’ in geometry and had a glowing recommendation from her math teacher, but she only scored a 460—well below average—on the SAT math section. An admissions officer would likely infer that Tina’s grade was inflated and that her math teacher is an unreliable source. Sadly, this information will also be applied to other applicants from the school, both in the current application class and in years to come. As much as the SAT may seem like an unfair assessment to you, it is the only fair tool for admissions officers to compare students from different schools and educational backgrounds across the country.

The SAT is also respected for its indication of aptitude. Most admissions officers are intellectuals themselves, and they tend to value intellect in their applicants. For this reason they are more likely to dismiss less than desirable grades when accompanied by a high SAT score. If Clive submits a 2020 on this SAT but a GPA of 2.5, an admissions officer may explain the discrepancy by saying Clive was obviously quite bright but must not have been challenged by his high school teachers; he is likely to shine when he is properly engaged by the professors at their prestigious university. But if Cleo turns in an application with a 1430 SAT score and a 4.0 GPA, that same admissions officer is likely to be suspicious of her transcript and doubt her ability to keep up with the intellectual level of college courses.

Colleges want students with high SAT scores

Finally, high SAT scores are secretly coveted by colleges and universities because officials want to boost the average SAT score of the incoming class in order to appear more selective than competing schools. City University wants nothing more than to advertise that their freshman class had an average SAT score of 1820, which is 100 points higher than State College across town. A higher selectivity ranking attracts better applicants and more funding, and like all businesses, colleges are constantly competing for clients and market share.

Your GPA is still very important

That said, keep in mind that your GPA is not at all worthless! While the SAT might have won the match, the GPA manages to steal several rounds. It is the only numerical data that can reveal hard work, self-discipline, and consistency. Together with your transcript, your GPA can show improvement over time and intellectual growth. These qualities are quite valuable when you are being compared to another student with a similar SAT score but lesser GPA. It is still important to take rigorous classes and earn good grades to bolster your transcript and GPA.

Despite what your guidance counselor may say or an admissions officer at your prospective university may claim, your standardized test scores are the most important components of the college admissions process. If you want to be the applicant with the knockout punch—gaining you certain admission—you must be fully prepared and submit the best SAT score possible.

Photo: "304 of 366," courtesy of Pam loves pie

SAT Word of the Day - Temperate

  
  

Temperate

(adj.) moderate; not extreme

(pronounced "TEM-per-it")

  

moderate

Example Sentence:

  • The plants prefer a temperate climate - not too hot and not too cold.

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* We will choose a new winner each month. Good luck!

 


 

SAT Word of the Day - Irrelevant

  
  

Irrelevant

(adj.) unrelated; not connected

(pronounced "ih-REL-uh-vuhnt")

  

fish

Example Sentence:

  • The purpose of the staff meeting is to discuss the issues with our health insurance; any other complaints are irrelevant and will not be discussed.

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