# 5 Must-Know SAT Math Tips

Your SAT Test Day is approaching, and you need SAT Math tips and strategies to maximize your score. Remember that your SAT Math subscores will reflect how you perform on specific questions tied to The Heart of Algebra, Passport to Advanced Math, and Problem Solving and Data Analysis concepts.

### SAT Math Tip #1: Use this approach to answer every SAT math question

Step 1: Read the question, identifying and organizing important information as you go

• What information am I given?

• Separate the question from the context.

• How are the answer choices different?

• Should I label or draw a diagram?

Step 2: Choose the best strategy to answer the SAT Math question

• Look for Patterns.

• Pick numbers or use straightforward math.

Step 3: Check that you answered the right question

• Review the question stem.

• Check units of measurement.

### SAT Math Tip #2: Use this method for multi-part Math questions

Step 1: Read the first question in the set, looking for clues.

Step 2: Identify and organize the information you need.

Step 3: Based on what you know, plan your steps to navigate the first question.

Step 4: Solve, step-by-step, checking units as you go.

Step 5: Did I answer the right question?

Step 6: Repeat for remaining questions, incorporating results from the previous question if possible.

### SAT Math Tip #3: Translate words into math

Translate the words in the question into math so you can solve.

### SAT Math Tip #4: Review number properties and SAT math relationships

Recognizing number properties will save you time on Test Day. Number properties rules include odds and evens, prime numbers, and the order of operations. You can pick numbers to help you remember the rules.

For SAT math relationships, knowing the difference between ratios, proportions, and percents can save valuable time. Being able to move easily among percents, fractions, and decimals will also save time.

### SAT Math Tip #5: Make sure your calculator is allowed and bring it with you on Test Day.

Check the official SAT website to make sure the calculator you plan to use on the SAT math section is allowed.

# The SSAT: Planning, Preparation, and Practice

If you're interested in attending an independent school, you may have heard the term SSAT and may now be wondering how to study for the test. In this article, we'll briefly cover the basics of what the SSAT is and does and offer key SSAT prep strategies and tips.

### What Is the SSAT?

The SSAT, or Secondary School Admission Test, is a standardized test required by a number of independent schools worldwide as a part of any hopeful student's application.
It's offered at three levels:

• Elementary, for students currently enrolled in Grades 3 or 4
• Middle, for students currently enrolled in Grades 5 through 7
• Upper, for students currently enrolled in Grades 8 through 11

What Does the SSAT Test?

The SSAT measures verbal, quantitative, and reading skills, all the while emphasizing critical thinking and problem solving.
The quantitative section tests things like basic operations, basic fractions, and ordering numbers (for the elementary-level students) and algebra, geometry, and data analysis (for the upper-level students).

The verbal section consists of responding to synonym and analogy questions at an appropriate level for the student's age.

The reading section is focused on answering comprehension and analysis questions related to short passages from a variety of genres.

The test is almost entirely multiple-choice, with the exception of one 15-25 minute free-response writing exercise. Younger students will be asked to write a short story, while older students will have the choice of constructing an essay if they prefer.

The SSAT is designed to measures skills rather than achievement; in other words, it's not intended to rely on your mastery of specific material. This is supposed to help keep the test fair across all different backgrounds from which a student might originate.

How Is the SSAT Scored?

The SSAT is norm-referenced, meaning your final score is based on how well you do compared to other test takers. You will receive a scaled score and a percentile ranking. The scaled score's range will depend on the student's grade level:

• For Elementary, the range is 300-600 per section, or 1200-1800.
• For Middle, the range is 440-710 per section, or 1320-2130.
• For Upper, the range is 500-800 per section, or 1500-2400.

The percentile ranking is always on a scale of 1-99, and it represents your performance as compared to students of the same grade who tested on the SSAT for the first time within the past three years in the US or Canada.

While the test is designed to be of "middle difficulty," this is a very competitive group of students against which you're being scored—these are the select students applying to the finest independent schools.

### SSAT Practice Tests

Use practice tests to familiarize yourself with the format, instructions, time constraints, and content. They're a great opportunity to practice as well as to ease the uncertainty you are likely to feel when facing a test of unknown characteristics.

Practice tests also provide the perfect opportunity to assess your own strengths and weaknesses. From there, you can ask a tutor, teacher, or parent for help on the specific areas where you struggle.

VHES offers a free in-home baseline practice test to help students familiarize themselves with the SSAT and prepare for the official exam. Click here for more information about our SSAT Prep service and diagnostic reports.

## How to Study for the SSAT: 5 Steps

### #1: Take an Official Practice Test

You should start prepping at least three months before you plan to take the SSAT. The first step is to take a practice test and then analyze your performance: what are your strengths and weaknesses, and what growth will you need to see in order to reach your goal? Quantify where you are and where you want to be. Note your performance in each of the three scored content areas.

### #2: Study Regularly

Having a regular study schedule is vital to raising your score, since you need to put in real time and effort to improve.

Are you way behind your goal—say, more than 200 points? Think about scheduling at least an hour or two a week for Elementary students or up to three or four hours a week for Upper students.

Are you looking to make a more moderate score increase of 100 - 200 points? You'll still want to study regularly, but can cut down to an hour or less per week for Elementary-level or roughly two hours per week for Upper-level.

Are you right about where you need to be in your score? You don't need to put in quite the same level of sustained SSAT prep, but we still recommend taking one or two more practice tests to keep your scores stable (or even improve them!).

### #3: Focus on Your Weaknesses

In your prep, focus in on the topics that were hardest for you, but don't forget to dust the ones you've mastered off pretty routinely, too.

For the quantitative section, pay close attention in your math class; especially review/practice the topics that are slated to come up on the test, according to the Official Guide.

For the verbal section, make a game of playing with synonyms and analogies in everyday life. Get your friends and family in on it, too, if you can!

For the reading section, the best thing you can do is actively engage with reading on a daily basis. Draw from multiple genres, and force yourself to answer questions (your own or someone else's) about the text you've read.

For all sections, complete practice problems as often as you can.

### #4: Take Another Practice Test—In Fact, Take a Few

Take a practice test every four weeks or so—more often if you are uncomfortable with the test and want a greater improvement, less often if you feel at ease testing and are near your goal score.

Use these practice tests as a time to increase your familiarity with the format and feel of the test. Also perform a check-in to see how your trouble areas are progressing. Ask where your focus needs to be at this point in time.

### #5: Slow Down About a Week Before the Test

Give yourself plenty of time to relax; cut down on your study time, and get plenty of rest. Stop studying altogether a day or two before the test. You need to start storing up sleep for the big day!

Please let us know if you have any questions about the SSAT.

Email us at contact@vinthilles.com for a free SSAT diagnostic report.

# Preparing for AP Exams

Are you ready for your AP Exams? May is a hectic month with tests, finals, and school events, so prepping for your APs early and often will ensure you’ll do your best on these important tests. Here are tips to help you put together your perfect review strategy.

When should I start studying for AP Exams?

Many students start shifting to AP prep mode 1 to 3 months before test day, usually ramping up by spring break. The goal is it give yourself enough time to get used to AP question types, take a few practice tests, review content, and hone your test-taking strategy.

The good news is that all your hard work for your AP classes is setting a great foundation for the AP test. Use your old tests and quizzes to track where you need to strengthen your knowledge and what topics you already know well.

How to study for multiple APs at once:

If you are taking more than one AP test this May, it’s important that you start early and make a schedule to map out your time. To come up with your study plan, ask yourself:

• How many days/weeks/months away are my exams?
• What time of day is my best, most focused study time?
• How much time per day/week/month will I devote to preparing for each exam?
• When will I prep? (Be as specific as possible: "Mondays & Wednesdays from 3 to 4 p.m. I will study for AP Bio," for example.)

Studying in small chunks keeps the workload manageable, so try to stick to one AP subject per night.

How to Study for AP Exams:

1. Start with old material. Begin by reviewing the material you have already completed in class. Set aside 15 minutes or so each evening to review past work. Refreshing your memory on a regular basis is the best strategy for effective learning.

2. Approach new material with the AP test in mind. You can’t just forget the material once you’ve been graded on it! The AP exam will be the culmination of the entire year. As you master new material, take a few minutes to make notes that you’ll use later for AP Exam review. Highlight the important points of each lesson while it’s still fresh in your mind, and note the areas where you struggled.

3. Don’t overly rely on your high school teacher. Your teacher’s job is to ensure all the subject material is covered—not to help you study. There often isn’t enough time during class to teach the material AND do a thorough review by May.

4. Invest in an AP prep book. A great test prep book will help you review essential content, introduce you to test format and question types, and help you practice for the big day.

.

# SAT Writing and Language Test Breakdown

Time
•    35 minutes

Format
•    44 questions
•    4 passages
•    Multiple-choice

Scoring
•    You lose nothing for answering incorrectly
•    Your raw score is calculated by tallying the raw points
•    The raw score is converted to a scale score from 10-40, known as the Writing and Language test score
•    The Writing and Language test score is combined with your Reading test score to produce an overall Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section score from 200-800
•    Sub-scores are also included on a 1-15 scale for the following: Words in Context, Command of Evidence, Expression of Ideas, and Standard English Conventions
•    Some of the sub-scores will actually count for two cross-test scores: Analysis in Science and Analysis in History/Social Studies
•    In the end, college admissions offices will put a greater emphasis on the 200-800 Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section score

Content
Standard English Conventions
•    Conventions of usage
•    Sentence structure
•    Conventions of punctuation
Expression of Ideas
•    Development
•    Organization
•    Effective language use

Two Content Areas
Standard English Conventions
•    20 questions
•    Conventions of usage: pronoun clarity, possessive determiners, agreement, frequently confused words, logical comparison
•    Sentence structure: sentence boundaries, subordination and coordination, parallel structure, modifier placement, shifts in verb tense, mood, voice, pronoun person and number
•    Conventions of punctuation: end-of-sentence, within-sentence, possessive, items in series, nonrestrictive and parenthetical, unnecessary
Expression of Ideas
•    24 questions
•    Development: proposition, support, focus, quantitative information
•    Organization: logical sequence, introduction, conclusions, transitions
•    Effective language use: precision, concision, style and tone, syntax

Structure
•    Questions will follow the order of the passage
•    Unlike the SAT math section, the questions do not progress in level of difficulty
•    The student must read 4 essays that are about the same length
•    Every essay has 11 questions about style, grammar, and strategy
•    The essays range in topic and understanding: from 9th grade to college-level essays
•    One passage in each of the following: careers, history, humanities, and science
•    Types of passages: 1 nonfiction, 1-2 explanatory, 1-2 argumentative

SAT Writing Tips

1. Focus on one passage at a time
2. Each passage of 11 questions should be finished within 8 minutes
3. Answer the easier questions first and focus on one question at a time
4. Patience is what allows you to work more quickly and accurately
5. Use the two-pass approach for each passage
6. Use the process of elimination
7. Once you’ve eliminated an answer, cross it out in the test booklet
8. Shorter is always better! The SAT prefers writing that is precise and concise
9. A question will never test more than two errors
10. “No Change” is usually the answer ¼ of the time it appears as an answer choice
11. Don’t find errors where none exist
12. The keys to the correct answer often lie within the question
13. Anticipate the answer and come up with it on your own
14. Questions about the main idea, author’s intent, or purpose, will often require reading the entire paragraph or beyond it

Do you need some help with the SAT writing section? Call us to find out how we can help!

### Finding the right routine:

Allowing enough time to get ready for class, study for an exam, or complete an assignment can be tricky.  The key is to always do what must be done first. This usually involves studying, reading, projects, and weekly homework assignments. Worry about what can be done later, after completing what needs to be done now. If you’re getting ready for a test, don’t check text messages, Snapchat, Instagram, YouTube, or start any Google internet searches. Enjoy the entertainment side of things after the task at hand is completed.  This strategy reduces a lot of stress that comes with doing things last minute: waiting to study the night before, starting your paper the week it’s due, working on your presentation the morning of, etc.

Try to stick to a routine or tentative schedule.  This is because time management can be tough for some students. Mainly, because students overestimate the amount of time they have for a task and underestimate how much time it will take for them to do it. All of the student's professional meetings, such as counseling or tutoring, should be pre-arranged.  Most students do well with structure, so meeting at the same time and on the same day works best.

### Staying focused:

Students usually retain more information when they study in different locations. If possible, change the studying location from time to time. There are students that do better in a busy area – think of your local public library, the school’s library, Panera Bread, Starbucks, Barnes N Noble, worship center, community center, etc.  Then, there are other students that know they must have silence. These students may prefer a bedroom, basement, home office, private study room, even their home patio, or sun-room.  In case you didn't know, the best place to study is outside. So, try to change the study location when you can!

You can put your phone across the room or in another room and leave it there.  If you want to check your messages from your friends, you have to get up and walk to it.  Students say that this significantly limits the amount of phone distractions.  If this is too hard for you, set the timer for 15  minutes, and work as hard as you can during that time.  When the timer goes off, get up, check your messages for one minute, and then get back to work.

Playing songs by your favorite artist is fine for routine assignments that do not require too much. However, music should not be played when intensely studying for a big exam. Playing music can negatively impact long-term retrieval.

When students are having a tough time getting started with homework, it’s always a good idea to begin with an easy task, followed by a difficult one, and then an easy assignment again.

### Being organized:

Record all school assignments on a calendar. You can use a tablet, laptop, smart phone, desktop, or a wall calendar. Record the final due date and then set incremental due dates and associated tasks to get it done on time. By week one, perhaps your topic and introduction should be completed. Then, going into the second week, start doing research on supporting points and arguments.  When large tasks, like a final paper or studying for a mid-term, are broken down into direct, manageable chunks, they are more likely to be completed on time. For instance, if a test is coming up on Friday, the student should record tasks like “complete 1-10 review problems on page 19” and “create flashcards for math steps,” etc. on Monday or Tuesday.  Being specific with your tasks can be far superior to simply jotting down a vague reminder like “study for my math test.”

Tasks that you record should be no more than 30-35 minutes.  When tasks end up taking longer, students are far more likely to procrastinate and avoid doing it altogether.

Every student should schedule a “binder and backpack sweep” session to help stay organized. Set aside 30 minutes each week and conduct a clean out.  Sundays are perfect for doing this. This also lets the student plan ahead for the week – what’s due and when, starting a long-term assignment, and planning what to work on.  Enter the 30-minute clean sweep on your phone calendar, monthly planner, room calendar, or make sticky notes to remind yourself.

Active reading should be utilized when preparing for an exam.  Active reading includes writing notes in the margins and highlighting pertinent information.  As reading becomes more complex, these strategies help students to understand more advanced topics.

Tips:
Read one section at a time.  After you’re done, go back and highlight the important information. The color of the highlighter does not matter at all. Yellow, blue, green, pink, or orange - just pick one!

Use margin notes. Margin notes are another interactive way of studying. It’s better than just reading the information and moving along. In short phrases, summarize the main points in the margins of text books. Doing so, will help with retaining the information that was read.

Engage in “self chat” at the end of each section.  The student should ask, “What did I just read here?” or “What’s the takeaway from this section?”  Self chat helps students comprehend what they are reading better.

If you are reading, try the SCAN strategy.  Simply put, before reading do the following:

S = Survey Headings and Turn Them into Questions
Find each heading, and change it into a question.
C = Capture the Captions and Visuals
Review pictures or charts and read the captions beside them.
A = Attack Boldface Words
Hone in on the terms in bold; read these words to gain an understanding of the main idea.
N = Note and Read the Chapter Questions
Check out the questions at the end of the chapter.

# One-To-One ACT Prep & SAT Prep: Raleigh NC, Durham NC, & Cary NC

WHY DOES OUR PROGRAM WORK SO WELL?
We often get asked this question. It’s because we focus on the individual student and not a classroom of students. The largest ACT/SAT score increases are seen when ACT/SAT prep is customized for the individual student. This is also why a baseline test is so effective. Our ACT/SAT practice test score reports are used as a student diagnostic.

The ACT/SAT tutor will hone in on the specific needs for the individual. The diagnostic report reveals trends such as pacing and themes among certain question types. On the SAT reading section, the student may have the most trouble with command of evidence. For the ACT math section, it might be quadratic equations that need the most attention. Our ACT/SAT tutors will come to students’ homes on weekdays or weekends.

# One-To-One ACT Prep & SAT Prep: Charlotte NC

WHY DOES OUR PROGRAM WORK SO WELL?
We often get asked this question. It’s because we focus on the individual student and not a classroom of students. The largest ACT/SAT score increases are seen when ACT/SAT prep is customized for the individual student. This is also why a baseline test is so effective. Our ACT/SAT practice test score reports are used as a student diagnostic.

The ACT/SAT tutor will hone in on the specific needs for the individual. The diagnostic report reveals trends such as pacing and themes among certain question types. On the SAT reading section, the student may have the most trouble with command of evidence. For the ACT math section, it might be quadratic equations that need the most attention. Our ACT/SAT tutors will come to students’ homes on weekdays or weekends.

# One-To-One ACT Prep & SAT Prep: Richmond VA, Henrico VA, & Chesterfield VA

WHY DOES OUR PROGRAM WORK SO WELL?
We often get asked this question. It’s because we focus on the individual student and not a classroom of students. The largest ACT/SAT score increases are seen when ACT/SAT prep is customized for the individual student. This is also why a baseline test is so effective. Our ACT/SAT practice test score reports are used as a student diagnostic.

The ACT/SAT tutor will hone in on the specific needs for the individual. The diagnostic report reveals trends such as pacing and themes among certain question types. On the SAT reading section, the student may have the most trouble with command of evidence. For the ACT math section, it might be quadratic equations that need the most attention. Our ACT/SAT tutors will come to students’ homes on weekdays or weekends.

# One-To-One ACT Prep & SAT Prep: Washington DC & Northern VA

WHY DOES OUR PROGRAM WORK SO WELL?
We often get asked this question. It’s because we focus on the individual student and not a classroom of students. The largest ACT/SAT score increases are seen when ACT/SAT prep is customized for the individual student. This is also why a baseline test is so effective. Our ACT/SAT practice test score reports are used as a student diagnostic.

The ACT/SAT tutor will hone in on the specific needs for the individual. The diagnostic report reveals trends such as pacing and themes among certain question types. On the SAT reading section, the student may have the most trouble with command of evidence. For the ACT math section, it might be quadratic equations that need the most attention. Our ACT/SAT tutors will come to students’ homes on weekdays or weekends.

# One-To-One ACT Prep & SAT Prep: Fredericksburg VA, Stafford VA, & Spotsylvania VA

WHY DOES OUR PROGRAM WORK SO WELL?
We often get asked this question. It’s because we focus on the individual student and not a classroom of students. The largest ACT/SAT score increases are seen when ACT/SAT prep is customized for the individual student. This is also why a baseline test is so effective. Our ACT/SAT practice test score reports are used as a student diagnostic.

The ACT/SAT tutor will hone in on the specific needs for the individual. The diagnostic report reveals trends such as pacing and themes among certain question types. On the SAT reading section, the student may have the most trouble with command of evidence. For the ACT math section, it might be quadratic equations that need the most attention. Our ACT/SAT tutors will come to students’ homes on weekdays or weekends.

# Spring 2018 Mock ACT/SAT Classes - Charlotte NC

Vint Hill Educational Services offers mock testing for the ACT and SAT. These administrations are hosted in the Charlotte NC area. We supply the test booklet, essay booklet, answer sheet, testing timer, extra pencils, and a proctor. Students will need to bring: a calculator, two No. 2 pencils, snacks, and a drink.

Each student receives a 9 page diagnostic report using our test scoring software. We only use official ACT and SAT practice tests. Students that take both an ACT and SAT will receive a student scores comparison chart. This will reveal which test the student is scoring higher on, ACT or SAT.

Charlotte NC area: Click here to register for a mock ACT or SAT
ACT - 03/03/2018 & 05/12/2018
SAT - 02/03/2018 & 04/21/2018

View our sample ACT/SAT diagnostic reports and student scores comparison chart:
ACT report - http://www.vinthilles.com/s/PracticeACTReport-Sample17.pdf
SAT report - http://www.vinthilles.com/s/PracticeSATReport-Sample17.pdf
Student ACT vs. SAT chart - http://www.vinthilles.com/s/VHES-SAT-Scores-Versus-ACT-Scores-Julia.pdf

For those that have only taken a PSAT or SAT, a practice ACT is a must, and we can compare the results to see which test the student is scoring higher on.

Mock ACT/SAT Registration
Online: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0b4aabab2fa3f49-free
Phone: 704-412-4004
Email: contact@vinthilles.com
Cost:
\$25 for 1 test (ACT or SAT)
\$40 for 2 tests (ACT and SAT)
ACT/SAT diagnostic and comparison chart will be emailed to parents.

# Reading Strategies: Academic Coaching Specialist - Washington DC, Northern VA, Charlotte NC, Richmond VA

There is a host of tools at the student's disposal for interacting with what we are reading. The concept is known as active reading and it will work to increase comprehension and retention of information. Try out some of the strategies below.

•    Z – Sweep:  Performing a Z-Sweep will help you understand what lies ahead. Move your hand from the left to the right under the first line, then back around through the body of the text, and then finish with a sweep from left to right at the bottom. Read the first sentence, glance or sweep through the body, and then read the last one or two sentences. By using this strategy, you can gain a cross-section of what you are about to read.

•    SCAN:  This strategy significantly improves text book reading comprehension in middle and high school students.
S = Survey Headings and Turn Them into Questions
Find each bold heading, and turn it into a question. For example, if the heading is The War of 1812, you should think, “What happened in The War of 1812?”
C = Capture the Captions and Visuals
Glance at the pictures or diagrams and read each caption.
A = Attack Boldface Words
Be sure to focus on the terms in bold. Quickly read these words for an understanding of the main vocabulary words.
N = Note and Read the Chapter Questions
This is perhaps the most important pre-reading strategy. Read the review questions at the end of the section first. This will help with the main idea behind the passage.

•    Highlighting:  Using color helps to increase attention.  Highlight the main points and be careful not to become “highlighter crazy”.  Highlight the main points after you read a section.  As yourself, “What’s the main point of the paragraph I just read?”

•    Margin Notes:  Questions or comments jotted in the margins next to important paragraphs provide visual cues.  Writing down quick notes as you read really helps with retention.  Furthermore, when you go back over the book before finals, all the main ideas will be there for you.

•    Summary Writing:  Summarizing information is time-consuming, but it is the best way to be sure that you understand and remember what you read.  You can write brief summaries at the end of each chapter or at the bottom of your 2-column notes.  If you write a summary within 24 hours of taking notes or reading, you’re much more likely to retain the information.

# ACT/SAT Prep: Richmond VA, 2017-2018 Practice Dates

For the 2017-2018 school year, we will be offering group practice tests in the Richmond VA area. These mock sessions will take place at the American Legion in Mechanicsville

These practice tests are taken in a group setting to simulate the testing environment. We use official ACT and SAT practice tests. We supply the test booklet, essay booklet, answer sheet, testing timer, extra pencils, and a proctor. Parents receive a student diagnostic score report (ACT/SAT) that reveals strengths and weaknesses, along with a test scores comparison, ACT versus SAT.

Each student receives a 9 page diagnostic report using our test scoring software. Students that take both an ACT and SAT will receive a student scores comparison chart. This will reveal which test the student is scoring higher on, ACT or SAT.

Richmond VA area: Click here to register for a mock ACT or SAT
ACT - 01/13/18, 03/03/18, 04/21/18
SAT - 10/14/17, 02/17/18, 04/07/18

View our sample ACT/SAT diagnostic reports and student scores comparison chart:
ACT report - http://www.vinthilles.com/s/PracticeACTReport-Sample17.pdf
SAT report - http://www.vinthilles.com/s/PracticeSATReport-Sample17.pdf
Student ACT vs. SAT chart - http://www.vinthilles.com/s/VHES-SAT-Scores-Versus-ACT-Scores-Julia.pdf

For those that have only taken a PSAT or SAT, a practice ACT is a must, and we can compare the results to see which test the student is scoring higher on.

Mock ACT/SAT Registration
Online: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0b4aabab2fa3f49-free
Phone: 540-428-5379
Email: contact@vinthilles.com
Cost:
\$25 for 1 test (ACT or SAT)
\$40 for 2 tests (ACT and SAT)
ACT/SAT diagnostic and comparison chart will be emailed to parents.

High School students from all areas of Richmond are encouraged to attend: MIDLOTHIAN VA, GLEN ALLEN VA, ASHLAND VA, DUMBARTON VA, CHAMBERLAYNE VA,TUCKAHOE VA, CHESTERFIELD VA, SHORT PUMP VA, HENRICO VA, AND OTHERS!

# SSAT Tips and Strategies

A good SSAT test prep program will strengthen underlying skills, instill confidence, and help students reach their full potential. Successful test-taking not only encompasses the necessary academic skills, but also the understanding of how to take standardized tests. Utilizing a two-pass approach, pacing drills, process of elimination, plugging in the answer choices, and question recognition, are all ways to help increase your score. Having a tips and strategies toolbox will help the student be in control of the test. View the SSAT test format.

•    Guess if you can eliminate 2 answer choices on easy or medium questions. Guess on hard questions if you can eliminate 3 answer choices.
•    Attractor answers are most common towards the end of a section.
•    The student receives 1 minute per question on the reading section.
•    The student receives 30 seconds per question on the verbal section.
•    The student receives 72 seconds per question on both math sections.

SSAT Math:

•    Half of the math questions are arithmetic and about one-fifth are Geometry based.
•    If the problem doesn't say “not drawn to scale” then estimate by looking at it.
•    Use numbers that are easy to work with when plugging in for variables.
•    If you think a question will take more than 72 seconds, circle it, and come back to it later.
•    Watch out for sudden measurement changes. For example, the chart lists yards and the answers are given in feet.

SSAT Verbal:

•    Review the tested word and find the correct definition.
•    The answers may also use a secondary definition.
•    Examine the word for roots, prefixes, and suffixes.
•    Does the word sound positive or negative?
•    For analogies, build a sentence with the word to understand the relationship.
•    Eliminate answer choices with no relation and that seem weak in their relationship.

•    Spend the first minute looking for “easy” passages to tackle.
•    Reading is the only section that doesn’t progress from easy to difficult.
•    Usually, the very first sentence will be the main idea.
•    Try not to worry about rushing through passages.
•    Don’t move onto the next passage, until you answer all of the current passage questions.
•    If you’re running short on time, look for the questions that ask for a definition.

Contact us regarding test prep for the SSAT, including a free diagnostic report!

# Best ACT Prep & SAT Prep: Northern VA

### WHY DOES OUR PROGRAM WORK SO WELL?

We often get asked this question. It’s because we focus on the individual student and not a classroom of students. The largest ACT/SAT score increases are seen when ACT/SAT prep is customized for the individual student. This is also why a baseline test is so effective. Our ACT/SAT practice test score reports are used as a student diagnostic.

The ACT/SAT tutor will hone in on the specific needs for the individual. The diagnostic report reveals trends such as pacing and themes among certain question types. On the SAT reading section, the student may have the most trouble with command of evidence. For the ACT math section, it might be quadratic equations that need the most attention. It is important to retest the student periodically, in order to reassess strengths and weaknesses. The ACT/SAT prep program should revolve around the student, as he or she grows throughout the prep program. When we see scores suddenly spike in the main area of focus, it means attention must be switched back to the new lowest scoring section.

Our ACT/SAT tutors will come to your home on weekdays or weekends. ACT/SAT prep is available throughout Northern VA and surrounding areas.

Here’s one of our ACT prep students that went up 5 ACT composite points, after only 6 sessions of one-to-one prep. English went up 3 points, math shot up 7 points, reading increased by 6 points, and science jumped up 4 points.

# Best ACT Prep & SAT Prep: Richmond, VA

### WHY DOES OUR PROGRAM WORK SO WELL?

We often get asked this question. It’s because we focus on the individual student and not a classroom of students. The largest ACT/SAT score increases are seen when ACT/SAT prep is customized for the individual student. This is also why a baseline test is so effective. Our ACT/SAT practice test score reports are used as a student diagnostic.

The ACT/SAT tutor will hone in on the specific needs for the individual. The diagnostic report reveals trends such as pacing and themes among certain question types. On the SAT reading section, the student may have the most trouble with command of evidence. For the ACT math section, it might be quadratic equations that need the most attention. It is important to retest the student periodically, in order to reassess strengths and weaknesses. The ACT/SAT prep program should revolve around the student, as he or she grows throughout the prep program. When we see scores suddenly spike in the main area of focus, it means attention must be switched back to the new lowest scoring section.

Our ACT/SAT tutors will come to your home on weekdays or weekends. ACT/SAT prep is available throughout Richmond, VA and surrounding areas.

Here’s one of our ACT prep students that went up 5 ACT composite points, after only 6 sessions of one-to-one prep. English went up 3 points, math shot up 7 points, reading increased by 6 points, and science jumped up 4 points.

# Best ACT Prep & SAT Prep: Charlotte, NC

### WHY DOES OUR PROGRAM WORK SO WELL?

We often get asked this question. It’s because we focus on the individual student and not a classroom of students. The largest ACT/SAT score increases are seen when ACT/SAT prep is customized for the individual student. This is also why a baseline test is so effective. Our ACT/SAT practice test score reports are used as a student diagnostic.

The ACT/SAT tutor will hone in on the specific needs for the individual. The diagnostic report reveals trends such as pacing and themes among certain question types. On the SAT reading section, the student may have the most trouble with command of evidence. For the ACT math section, it might be quadratic equations that need the most attention. It is important to retest the student periodically, in order to reassess strengths and weaknesses. The ACT/SAT prep program should revolve around the student, as he or she grows throughout the prep program. When we see scores suddenly spike in the main area of focus, it means attention must be switched back to the new lowest scoring section.

Our ACT/SAT tutors will come to your home on weekdays or weekends. ACT/SAT prep is available throughout Charlotte, NC and surrounding areas.

Here’s one of our ACT prep students that went up 5 ACT composite points, after only 6 sessions of one-to-one prep. English went up 3 points, math shot up 7 points, reading increased by 6 points, and science jumped up 4 points.

# 2017-2018 School Year: Mock ACT/SAT Class Dates

Vint Hill Educational Services offers mock testing for the ACT and SAT. These administrations are hosted in the Northern VA area and the Richmond VA area. We supply the test booklet, essay booklet, answer sheet, testing timer, extra pencils, and a proctor. Students will need to bring: a calculator, two No. 2 pencils, snacks, and a drink.

Each student receives a 9 page diagnostic report using our test scoring software. We only use official ACT and SAT practice tests. Students that take both an ACT and SAT will receive a student scores comparison chart. This will reveal which test the student is scoring higher on, ACT or SAT.

Northern VA area: Click here to register for a mock ACT or SAT
ACT - 09/30/17, 11/11/17, 02/03/18, 03/24/18, 05/19/18
SAT - 09/16/17, 10/21/17, 01/27/18, 02/24/18, 04/28/18

Richmond VA area: Click here to register for a mock ACT or SAT
ACT - 01/13/18, 03/03/18, 04/21/18
SAT - 10/14/17, 02/17/18, 04/07/18

View our sample ACT/SAT diagnostic reports and student scores comparison chart:
ACT report - http://www.vinthilles.com/s/PracticeACTReport-Sample17.pdf
SAT report - http://www.vinthilles.com/s/PracticeSATReport-Sample17.pdf
Student ACT vs. SAT chart - http://www.vinthilles.com/s/VHES-SAT-Scores-Versus-ACT-Scores-Julia.pdf

For those that have only taken a PSAT or SAT, a practice ACT is a must, and we can compare the results to see which test the student is scoring higher on.

Mock ACT/SAT Registration
Online: http://www.signupgenius.com/go/20f0b4aabab2fa3f49-free
Phone: 540-428-5379
Email: contact@vinthilles.com
Cost:
\$25 for 1 test (ACT or SAT)
\$40 for 2 tests (ACT and SAT)
ACT/SAT diagnostic and comparison chart will be emailed to parents.

# The FAFSA Application

The Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) lets students receive aid that includes loans, work-study programs, and federal or state student grants.

Web (Online): fafsa.ed.gov/FAFSA/app/fafsa?locale=en_US
Print (PDF): studentaid.ed.gov/PDFfafsa
Mail (Post Office): 1-800-433-3243

Attending College From
July 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017: You can submit the FAFSA from January 1, 2016 – June 30, 2017 and use income tax data from 2015.
July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018: You can submit the FAFSA from October 1, 2016 – June 30, 2018 and use income tax data from 2015.
July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019: You can submit the FAFSA from October 1, 2017 – June 30, 2019 and use income tax data from 2016.

-    You don’t have to apply to a school before listing it on your FAFSA.
-    Choosing the renewal option allows you to carry over last year’s FAFSA information. Only the basics will carry over; thus, income and taxes will have to be re-entered.
-    Even if your family’s income has changed, you still have to report the required year the FAFSA asks for.
-    Some schools will make offers earlier than others. Be sure to read through all of the information. You should try and file as close to October 1st as possible. This is the first day in which you can file the FAFSA. You should also review your schools’ financial aid deadlines.  You’ll have your bases covered if you file as early as possible.
-    The FAFSA asks for current marital status. Meaning, what is your status while you’re filling it out. Depending upon the situation, a spouse’s income may need to be updated. It may need to be removed or added.
-    Students may complete and submit a FAFSA as early as October 1st every year. The FAFSA was available on January 1st in previous years. Students have been able to file since October 1, 2016.
-    Students can use income from an earlier tax year. Starting with the 2017-2018 FAFSA, students will use income from two years ago. Students will use 2015 income information instead of 2016 income information. As long as you can find your 2015 tax year data, the information should already be saved and ready to go!
-    All 2016-2017 FAFSA applications must be submitted by midnight, June 30, 2017 (CT).

After You Apply
-    Student Aid Report (SAR) - You’ll receive a student aid report from the U.S. Department of Education. This could come via email or postal mail. This report contains all of the data that you entered on the FAFSA. Review any errors and submit necessary corrections.

-    Expected Family Contribution (EFC) - The student aid report will encompass an expected family contribution number. The number is representative of your family’s financial strength. It’s sent to the schools listed on your FAFSA as well as the state scholarship organization. The number is used to determine your financial aid.

# ACT Science Overview

Format:
•    40 questions
•    Multiple-choice
•    Passages with charts/diagrams

Content:
•    Biology
•    Chemistry
•    Physics
•    Geology
•    Astronomy
•    Meteorology

Time: 35 minutes

The ACT science section does not test specific science facts. Instead, students will need to understand how to use certain skills of scientific reasoning. Nearly every question can be answered by referring to the material in the passage. Yet, somewhere between 1 and 5 questions on every ACT test, will concentrate on science-based knowledge not given in the passages. There will be a few questions that require some arithmetic. You may have to find an average or utilize your algebra knowledge.

Question types and scoring
Students receive 1 raw point for every correct answer. There’s nothing lost for answering incorrectly. The raw score is calculated by tallying up the raw points. The overall raw score is then converted to a score on a 1-36 point scale. The ACT science score is 1 of 4 scores that's factored into the ACT composite. The ACT composite is an average of 4 section scores. Meaning, a lower science score will bring down the ACT composite, and a higher score, will help to increase the ACT composite. This, of course, relies on the scores from the other ACT sections: English, reading, and mathematics.

Each ACT test contains:
•    6-8 Conflicting Viewpoints questions. These questions will present two or more scientific theories. Amongst all of the theories, not all of them can be correct. The questions may not ask you to prove which theory is correct, but instead, ask you to describe the viewpoints and how they relate to one another.
•    12-16 Data Representation questions. These questions usually present charts and tables that display different variables. Students will find 2-4 variables and must be able to describe the relationships between the variables.
•    18-22 Research Summary questions. These questions describe an experiment and the scientific findings. The passage will detail the results, makeup, and hypothesis. The questions will ask you about the experiment’s findings, design, and implementation.

Every ACT test will include the same set of instructions for the science section. Master the instructions and you won’t need to read them when taking the test. This enables you to spend more time on the problems by skipping the instructions.

ACT SCIENCE DIRECTIONS: There are seven passages in this test. Each passage is followed by several questions. After reading a passage, choose the best answer to each question and fill in the corresponding oval on your answer document. You may refer to the passages as often as necessary. You are NOT permitted to use a calculator on this test.

Watch out for attractor answer choices. The ACT anticipates the student making careless mistakes. The test will setup traps for students, and those most impacted, will be students who are not ready for them. The attractors mainly show up on medium to difficult questions.

ACT science tips:
•    Focus on one passage at a time
•    Learn which types of passages come easier for you
•    Tailor your strategies to each passage type
•    Don’t worry if the subject is unknown to you. Most of the information is in the passage.
•    Work on timing and pacing by practicing passages
•    Know the directions, so that you can skip them
•    You have 52 ½ seconds per question