Monthly Archives: December 2011

14 Dec 2011

Excellent SAT Study Apps

It’s no surprise that technology has increasingly encroached the flashcard’s throne. While decidedly useful for memorizing facts, flashcards are annoying to make, easy to lose and cumbersome to carry. When I was a pup prepping for the SAT, the website, Free Rice gained notoriety for its fun and philanthropic approach to vocabulary study. Visitors engage with stacks of pre-made, electronic flashcards that adjust for difficulty based on a user’s performance. Students watch their levels increase and rice piles grow. Thus the site provides a score-based and game-like approach to learning—about as relaxing as Angry Birds, but far more productive.

Bonus: The website donates 10 grains of rice to help end hunger for every question a kid gets right.

Perhaps sites like Free Rice foreshadowed the advent of SAT study apps. Recently, Bob Tedeschi of the New York Times reported on several helpful apps for SAT preparers. The Sentia List (below) draws from his suggestions as well as others rated highly throughout our glorious Internet. Enjoy!

  • SAT Ladder: Perfect for anyone with a competitive edge! Users of this app race to correctly answer 5 rounds of SAT Math, Critical Reading and Writing questions. You can play solo, with a friend or against another, similarly leveled Ladder member.
  • ACT/SAT Math Booster: A must-have for Android users looking to beat the much-hated ACT/SAT point-stealer: time. The app offers tutorials for programming shortcuts into your TI-83 or TI-84. Never worry about remembering or hand-performing a complex equation again!
  • Adapster is a math app for both Android and iPhone that adapts a plethora of quizzes and practice questions to users’ personal scoring patterns. Lessons on math concepts are likewise included.
  •  SAT Remix isn’t exactly an app, but its still cool. Available for any cellphone, SAT Remix delivers a daily vocab lesson that is set to music and thick with repetition. Students can further set lessons as ringtones, promoting a sweet, easy way to learn by osmosis. Check out the above link to sample a lesson!

These Key SAT Words are Expertly Identified by Sentia Tutors

 Plethora: A surplus
: A gradual, often unconscious process of assimilation

12 Dec 2011

Reflections: SAT Cheating in Great Neck, Long Island

By now, most concerned with standardized testing have heard, read, talked about the SAT cheating scandal in Great Neck, Long Island. The situation saw roughly 15 high school students pay college proxies $500 – $3,600 to take the SAT on their behalf.

The scandal has sparked debates about the merits and drawbacks of the SAT. Reams of comments flow through the online forums at the New York Times. Most people cite their personal lives to support or challenge the SAT as a useful predictor of individual success.

In my opinion, debates about the efficacy of the SAT are futile as long as students continue to cheat. The cheating suggests pandemic attitudes of entitlement—notions that it’s OK to skimp the system as long as you don’t get caught. Ultimately, such attitudes must be dealt with first and foremost. There really aren’t any surefire shortcuts.

There are many ways for students to improve SAT and ACT scores over time—hard work, perseverance and careful planning are the ticket. As I see it, if standardized tests measure these qualities, they can predict college success. It should never be easy to achieve a high score.

That said, it’s important for students to set realistic and achievable goals. High scores may open doors, but that doesn’t mean there’s no future for average scores. The trick is to make the most of your resources, work hard and do your best.

These Key SAT Words are Expertly Identified by Sentia Tutors

Futile: Completely useless; doomed to failure
An epidemic that is geographically widespread and affects a large proportion of the population