Vicki Wood

Recent Posts

How to Set a (Realistic) Target ACT or SAT Score

Posted by Vicki Wood on January 13, 2017 at 10:26 AM

When we teach courses, we hand out a student profile which asks students about their testing experience and expectations. One of the questions prompts them to list their target score. So many of the responses are the same: 25 on the ACT and 1200 on the SAT. When we ask why they want these scores, their answer is simple: “Because that’s a good score.”

Read More

Topics: SAT Prep, ACT Prep

ACT and SAT Math Tips: Turkey Day Drills

Posted by Vicki Wood on November 23, 2016 at 10:26 AM

Just because the holidays are rolling around does not mean you can skip your ACT and SAT prep! It's important to use your time off to focus on the test while you're not worrying about school work. And I'm here to help you out with a few Thanksgiving math questions to kickstart your day of family, football, and sweet, sweet gluttony.

Read More

Topics: SAT Prep, ACT Prep, SAT Math, ACT Math

ACT and SAT Reading Tips: Opposite Answer Traps

Posted by Vicki Wood on November 18, 2016 at 10:45 AM

If only one answer can be right on the ACT and SAT Reading sections, then three other answers are wrong. The test makers carefully write these wrong answer choices, intentionally using language and ideas that trick unsuspecting test takers. Learning how these incorrect answers are crafted can help you spot them, which is why eliminating wrong answers can sometimes be easier than determining the right answer.

One type of answer trap is the Opposite Answer. 

Read More

Topics: SAT Prep, ACT Prep, SAT Reading, ACT Reading

ACT and SAT Math Tips: The Surprise Inside Every Equilateral Triangle

Posted by Vicki Wood on November 11, 2016 at 11:09 AM

Remember when you were a kid and the box of Lucky Charms had a toy buried inside? Yeah, hold on to that memory, because thanks to advertising laws, most cereal manufacturers stopped offering such promotions in 2008. I sure wish law makers would at least allow cereal manufacturers to put toys in cereals with low sugar content, as I can't get my twins to even listen to the Snap! Crackle! and Pop! of Rice Krispies. But I guess that's for another blog on another day.

Read More

Topics: SAT Prep, ACT Prep, SAT Math, ACT Math

ACT English and SAT Writing Tips: Ambiguous Pronouns

Posted by Vicki Wood on October 20, 2016 at 10:51 AM

I must apologize for my absence: Hurricane Matthew chased me from home for over a week and then kept me busy for another week when I came back. I am happy to settle back into a routine today, so let's get right to it: Ambiguous pronouns.

Ambiguous  means unclear  or open to more than one interpretation.  The movie Inception  has an ambiguous ending, as does the book The Giver  by Lois Lowry. Audiences and readers are left with questions about these endings because the authors have left them open to interpretation.

While book and movie endings are intentionally made ambiguous, pronouns should never be unclear. Ambiguous pronoun errors occur on the ACT and SAT when the proper antecedent has more than one possibility, leaving the reader to wonder whom or what the pronoun is referencing.

Read More

Topics: SAT Prep, ACT Prep, SAT Writing, ACT English

ACT and SAT Reading: Line References

Posted by Vicki Wood on September 30, 2016 at 2:07 PM

While a few ACT and SAT Reading questions will ask you about the passage as a whole, many of the questions will send you back to the passage with a specific line reference. Consider some examples:

Read More

Topics: SAT Reading, ACT Reading

ACT and SAT Math Tips: Percentage Problems

Posted by Vicki Wood on September 9, 2016 at 1:21 PM

 Word problems notoriously cause students stress and anxiety on the ACT and the SAT. Since the test makers know this, you should plan to see word problems frequently, especially in questions involving percentages. But there are a couple of strategies to help you conquer your fears and attack percentage problems successfully.

Read More

Topics: SAT Prep, ACT Prep, SAT Math, ACT Math

Vocabulary on the ACT and the new SAT

Posted by Vicki Wood on August 26, 2016 at 9:59 AM

When the College Board redesigned the SAT this past March, the test makers made it known that it was no longer a vocabulary test; they removed the Sentence Completion questions that often featured words like chicanery, iconoclast, and obfuscate. But don't let this fool you: there are still vocabulary words on both the SAT and the ACT.

Read More

Topics: SAT Prep, ACT Prep, SAT Reading, ACT Reading

ACT and SAT Math Tips: Reflect on Reflections

Posted by Vicki Wood on August 11, 2016 at 11:41 AM

Reflections. These Coordinate Geometry questions are a great way for the ACT and SAT to assess not just your knowledge of transformations, but your understanding of slope and the equation of a line. Let's look at what you need to know and then see how your skill set will be tested on the ACT and SAT.

Read More

Topics: SAT Math, ACT Math

It’s Time For David Coleman To Resign

Posted by Vicki Wood on August 4, 2016 at 5:16 PM

If you’ve been reading the news recently, you may have noticed that the SAT is suffering from some serious security issues. While it’s well-known that cheating among Asian test prep companies is rampant (spurred in large part by the College Board’s persistent and absurd reuse of previously-administered US tests in its foreign testing centers), it seems now that hundreds of future official test questions have made their way into public hands.

Read More

Topics: SAT