This guest blog is provided by Master Books author Dr. James Stobaugh. He was a Merrill Fellow at Harvard and holds degrees from Vanderbilt and Rutgers universities, and Princeton and Gordon-Conwell seminaries. An experienced teacher, he is a recognized leader in homeschooling and college/SAT preparation. He has published several books for students and teachers. He and his wife, Karen, have homeschooled their four children since 1985.
I am fond of saying, “The single best preparation for the SAT is reading good books!” Such a timeless work for all ages is Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island. This classic has every vocabulary word I have ever seen on an SAT test! And the SAT, in a nutshell, is a vocabulary, critical reading, arithmetic exam. It has three parts: a math section, a verbal section, and a writing section. 800 is a perfect score in each section with 2400 being a perfect score overall. Good reading skills improve all sections.
I asked a former student, a law student at Columbia Law School, “What advice would you give students who take the SAT?” Her answer was to read the books at the back of my book, SAT & College Preparation Course for the Christian Student! “Don’t wait until the last minute,” my former student continued. When should you begin preparation? Formal planning should start around 9th grade—three years before the test is taken (ideally in June of a student’s junior year).
The SAT is an aptitude/IQ type test (based on critical thinking theory) and requires from one to three years of preparation. The ACT, a very fine college admission test accepted by many colleges, is more of an achievement test based on information. You can prepare for the ACT in 50 days (I have a new ACT prep book coming out next spring that will have 50 lessons).
Another thing my former student advised? “Memorize Scripture—the discipline of memorizing the Word of God prepared my heart and spirit for the arduous undertaking.” Stress reduction—enhanced through Bible verse memorization—has uncontestable value to SAT preparation. By the way, this student, equipped with the Word of God has both a high SAT score and a strong walk with God. A winning combination!
Finally, my student offered, “Make a high score on the Essay Writing Section. It is a golden opportunity.” This student used my SAT Essay Writing Workbook to increase her score. It is the easiest and quickest way to make a high score. Let it be your anchor score, a high score that pulls up all other scores. An 800 on the writing will enrich the overall total score no matter what you make on the other sections.
In a society where formal education varies so widely, the SAT is a critical component for college admission. It is the only objective measurement a college has. The truth is, the SAT depends heavily on empathic stress reduction and critical thinking, making it a true gift from God for the Christian student. It is not knowledge that trips up Christian students most of the time; it is the time restrictions and inexperience with test-taking. That can be taken care of easily. With its emphasis on higher math, increased reading passages, writing samples and grammar, the SAT should generate unprecedented high scores for students who devote themselves to a directed course of instruction.
For more information Dr. James Stobaugh, click here.
For more information about his new book SAT & College Preparation Course for the Christian Student click here.
**Don’t forget, tomorrow (Friday) is FREE book Friday! We are giving away 3 copies of SAT & College Preparation Course for the Christian Student, make sure to check back for your chance to win!