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How can you make your SAT preperation a happier experience!

There are many questions that students have before they take their first SAT test and here are some good rules and reminders to help you navigate in this area.

1. Know your target score.    This should be a combination of knowing your abilities through SAT practice tests along with understanding the required scores from your desired colleges.  For example, if you seek a 700 in the English section, you can miss 10 questions while for a 600 target score, you can miss a combined 25 questions in the Engish sections.  On the math side, you can miss 11 questions and get a 700 or 22 to get a 600.  This is the combined number of missed questions on both math sections or both English sections.

2. Know the SAT requirements for your desired colleges.  For example, some colleges in Texas require applicants to submit all SAT scores while others with allow students to “superscore” their results.  A college accepting superscores with allow applicats to report just one SAT English and one SAT math score and the applicant can then pick their best English and math score even if they occurred on different test dates.   So if all your desired schools allow superscoring, then it makes sense to take the SAT multiple times and focus your study time on the section for which you needed the most improvement.  However, some colleges will require all SAT scores so if any of these schools are on your list, it is important that strategize your SATs and make sure you are well prepared before you take each SAT.   See the table below to see if your desired colleges allow superscores.

3. Bring a watch to the test site.  This will give you the ability to easily track you progress and make sure you allow enough time to complete each section.

4. Make sure you are familiar with the instructions for each section.    This including understanding the SAT thought process for each type of question within the Matha and English sections of the exam.

5. Know how many questions there are in each section and calculate the average time allowed for each question within each section.  Make sure to track this closely to avoid spending too much time on questions and therefore not finishing a section.

The Writing and Language section has 35 minutes for 44 questions.  You therefore have approximately 50 seconds per question. 

The Reading section section includes 65 minutes for 52 questions.  You will have 1 minute and 15 seconds per question and this sounds like a lot of time.   Be careful as there will be long reading passages with several questions from these passages and it is easy to lose time in this section.

The Math No Calculator section includes 25 minutes for 20 questions.  You will have 1 minute and 15 seconds per question and again be careful not to spend too much time on any one question.

The Math Calculator section has 55 minutes for 38 questions.  With 1 minute and 30 seconds, this seems like plenty of time to complete all questions.  However, the last eight problems are fill in the answers so there will be no opportunity to pick the best answer for these questions.

 6. Don’t spend too much time on any one question.  Even though we calculated the time allowed for each question in No. 3 above, the questions have different levels of difficulty.  Generally, the questions in each section start out easier and get more difficult.  Therefore, it is ideal to answer the earlier questions in less than the per question time allowance to give yourself more time to answer the more difficult questions at the end of each section. 

7. It is ok to skip a question and come back to them later.  If an earlier question or two seem difficult, it is ok to skip those questions and come back to them later as long as you have sufficient time in the given section.  The key point mentioned in No. 4 above is not to get bogged down on one question especially those in the beginning parts of each section.

8. There is only 1 correct answer for each question.   Also, the right answer should be 100% correct.  For example, one possible answer may be mostly right but with some part of the answer that is not right.  Do not pick such an answer.  It is better to pick an answer that is totally unfamiliar to you than to pick an answer that you know is 75% correct but 25% incorrect.   Another option is to eliminate all the wrong answers so that hopefully you are down to 1 or 2 possibilities.

9. As a last resort it is ok to guess.    Try to eliminate any possible answers and then make sure you choose one of the remaining answers for each question.  This is where time management as explained above is important.  You should not have any blanks for answers after completing the test.

10. Pick a strategy for the reading section.  There are three options below and pick the one that best fits your strengths and then use that strategy consistently.

Skim the passage first and then answer the questions.

Skip straight to the questions and go back to the reading passage to find the answers.

Read the passage in full and then answer the questions for that passage.

11. Memorize the math formulas as well as make sure you brush up on your multiplication and division tables.  The formulas include the areas and volumes as special rules for right triangles.   Memorizing the formulas will save you important time on both math sections.

12. Strategies for the Writing Test.

Memorize rules such as when to use commas, colons, and semicolons.

If two or more answers are grammatically correct, then choose the most concise answer.

I hope these tips will help you successfully prepare and ace your SAT exam.

The Titanic Museum Branson has over $4.5 million of original Titanic artifacts and is well worth the entrance fee.  The museum includes a $1 million replica of the original grand stairs, the memorial wall, as well as the survivors’ wall of stories.

Visitors have an opportunity to touch a “glacier” as well as put their hand in water that is similar in temperature to the 28-degree water from the North Atlantic that April day in 1912.

Also, an exhibit allows you to experience the tilt of the ship as the water filled it just before it sunk. See how you well you can stand where the floor is on a 45-degree angle. In addition, participants have an opportunity can walk the 3rd class hallways and see what a typical room looked like on the Titanic.

Spanning the 882 feet, the Titanic’s width exceeds the heights of the St Louis Arch, the Golden State Bridge, and the Washington Monument.

Thought many have studied the Titanic, how much do you know about the Titanic and the persons on that ill-fated ship?


1.    Where was the Titanic built?
a)    London            b) Belfast        c) New York

2.    How many dogs were aboard Titanic?
a)    20                  b) 10               c) None

3.    What other animals were aboard Titanic?
a)    Cats               b) Snakes       c) Roosters

4.    What next port of call for the Titanic after it left Southampton on April 10, 1912?
a)    Cherbourg, France      b) Queenstown, Ireland    c) New York

Each guest receives a boarding pass which also includes the biography of a passenger on that Titanic.  Four stories are detailed below.  

Mary Dunbar Hewlett

2nd class section  Age:56
Destination: Rapid City, S.D. to visit her son
Was rescued by the Carpathia

Lucile Carter

1st class section  Age: 13 Residence:  Philadelphia, PA Her parents owned a Renault which was the only vehicle on the ship. Had a dog, Airedale, with her but he had to be left on the ship. Her younger brother cried and wondered if they would see their dog again.

Franz Karun

  • 3rd class section   Age: 39
  • Destination Galesburg, IL where he ran a boarding house for railroad workers.
  • Traveled with his 4 year old daughter, Manca and brother-in-law Johann Markun.
  • Frank and Manca were rescued but Johann died in the doomed ship.
  • Frank prayed that little Manca wouldn’t be taken from him.

Master Frankie Goldsmith

  • 3rd class section   Age: 9
  • Residence: Strood, England
  • His father was looking to find a job in Detroit, Michigan.
  • His father’s last words to him were “So long, Frankie. I’ll see you later.”
  • Frankie and his mother were rescued but his father died in the sinking ship.

Even though all four of these Titanic passengers survived the sinking of the ship, they each lost something from that ill fated journey. It could have been a family member or even a family animal. Also, it could be the horror of watching so many people and friends freeze to death in the North Atlantic that April day in 1912. Answers (b), (b), (c), (b)

Talking Rocks Cavern in Branson, MO