Hi! I’m Greg, and I’m just finishing up my first
year here at Princeton. Right now, I am standing in front of one of
my favorite places to be, Laurie Love Walk. And today, I want to teach you how to ACE
your standardized test scores so that you can go to the college of your dreams. I’m going to be honest, the SAT is a drag. So, to get you in the right mindset, I want
you to imagine this: You hit submit on your college application, knowing that the admissions
officer on the other end is going to see a perfect 1600, a score that less than 2,000
people get every year. Imagine receiving mail from a ton of colleges
every week, offering you scholarship money because of how well you did on the PSAT. After a lot of research and hard work, I scored
nearly perfect on the SAT, and all of this became a reality for me. Let’s make it a reality for you. When I got the results of my first SAT practice
test back, I was pretty bummed. I took the test when it was still scored out
of 2400, and I got an 1860. For reference, that’s about a 1320 on the
new SAT. It took me just three months to improve my
score to a 2290, which, in today’s SAT, would be a 1560. How did I do it? Good question. There are two major standardized tests that
high school students take to get into college, The SAT and the ACT. So, before I bought any books, any tutors,
watched any videos, anything like that, I took an SAT practice test AND an ACT practice
test. Why? Well, because the SAT and the ACT test very
different skills and have very different formats, most people end up doing much better on one
of the tests. And, basically every college accepts both,
so why not give yourself an advantage from the start? I mean, you want to do as little studying
to get your results as you can, right? Personally, I think that taking an SAT practice
test and an ACT practice test will save you a ton of time. I’ve included links to both tests in the description. So, I took both practice tests and I realized
that the SAT was best for me. Now this is the part where I started studying. After taking that first practice test, I flipped
to the first answer I got wrong and I took out an empty notebook. In that notebook, I wrote down the question
number, a paraphrased version of that question, and the answer that I chose. In about a sentence or two, I wrote down why
I thought this was the answer. Then, I checked the answer key, and wrote
down the correct answer. After thinking for a while about the right
answer, I wrote down another one to two sentence explanation about why I was wrong and I went
through that process for every question on that test. It may seem ridiculous and tedious, but even
after doing this for one practice test, you’ll begin to see which types of questions you
tend to get wrong. You’ll see patterns, and be able to correct
them very quickly. As you might imagine, figuring out the explanation
to every problem you get wrong on every SAT can be difficult. In order to do this, I spent hours doing research
online and looking through dense SAT practice books. The whole time, I begged for a tutor because
I wanted someone who could guide me through this process and help me save time. However, my parents refused to get me a tutor
because they believed it was a waste of money. Since then, I’ve been on a search to prove
them wrong. If you’d rather not spend all your weekends
studying for the SAT like I did, I recommend getting a tutor from Crimson Education. I’m recommending Crimson because a lot of
different SAT tutoring companies have offered to sponsor me, and, Crimson is the only company
that I feel comfortable recommending to you guys, because I have had first-hand experience
with their tutors. One of my best friends here at Princeton actually
works for Crimson. And he told me that before working for Crimson,
he ran an entire ACT training camp over the summer. So, he’s the real deal. Once I heard that he worked for Crimson, I
asked him to sort of walk me through what a typical tutoring session looks like. Now, I can’t get into too many details here,
because I don’t want to reveal Crimson’s secrets. But, the SAT strategies and planning that
he laid out for me really made me jealous that I didn’t have a tutor when I was going
through this process. Also, Crimson tutoring is 100% online, so
your location does not matter at all. And, they’ll schedule a tutor for whenever
you’re available. So, if you want to give Crimson SAT tutoring
a try, and support my channel, there’s a link in the description where you can fill out
an interest form. Now, I know that some of you would rather
not spend the money on a tutor, neither did my parents. So for you, studying for the SAT yourself
is basically the only option. To be honest, you have to be very self-motivated
to make this method work, but if you’re watching this video right now, you are motivated enough
to learn about the SAT, so I believe that you can do it. One very useful research is the College Confidential
forum. There, you’ll find plenty of other students
who are going through the SAT process, and I recommend making a GroupMe with a few of
them and going through practice tests together. That way, you can each correct each other’s
weaknesses, and build on each other’s strengths. I will give a warning that some of the users
on the site are very competitive and toxic, so take what you read with a grain of salt. Now, I’d like to give you some book recommendations,
but first, heed this advice. Never take a practice test that isn’t written
by the College Board. There are virtually unlimited SAT and ACT
authentic practice tests online; you just need to do a quick Google search and you’ll
find them. The best way to use SAT prep books that are
NOT by the College Board, is to do the exercises and learn the tips. Their practice tests are not standardized
like the College Board’s, and practicing using those can give you a false sense of what the
test is going to look like. In order to self-study for the SAT or the
ACT, you’re going to have to buy the authentic practice test book. The next most important book to buy is the
Black Book by Mike Barrett. There’s a version for SAT and ACT. This book completely changed the way that
I approach standardized tests. Instead of teaching you how to deal with individual
problems, Mike talks about how the standardized testing process itself works, allowing you
to take advantage of the weaknesses. For example, he gives a great guide on how
to write a formulaic essay that will always earn you the maximum score. Barron’s is fantastic for SAT math, but it
may overprepare you, as there is a lot of material that isn’t really even covered on
the test that much. Also, Erica Meltzer is a standardized test
grammar God; please read her stuff if you have problems with critical reading or grammar. I’ve included links for everything in the
description so go click it. Now, for a few miscellaneous tips. I recommend for the SAT or ACT over the summer
after your sophomore year, and taking the test at least twice during the first semester
of your junior year. That way, you’ll be able to get it out of
the way, and focus on your junior year grades and extracurricular activities, which are
most important to your college application. Also, if the essay section is optional on
the standardized test that you’re taking, you should still take it. Top colleges pay a lot of attention to detail,
and not taking the essay will make you look like a lazy student. That’s about all I’ve got. If you follow the advice I’ve given you, you
should be calm, ready, and prepared come test day. You should give yourself a few days to relax
and not look at anything SAT, ACT related for the few days leading up to your exam,
because you want a clear mind and a positive attitude once you go in. While standardized test scores certainly don’t
define you as a person, raising them can certainly improve your prospects of getting into your
dream school. Once again, I’m Greg, I really hope you enjoyed
my video today, If you liked it, give it a thumbs up, if you want to see more, subscribe,
and that’s about it. Thanks!