Case Study: SAT Preparation

Case Study: SAT Preparation


Becky was a junior who wanted to do better on both the Evidence-based Reading & Writing/Language and Math sections of the SAT. On her initial practice tests and PSAT, her scores on both parts consistently fell into the mid-600 range. With an older brother who went to an Ivy League school, and with Ivy League aspirations herself, Becky felt she needed to score higher to reach her college admissions goals.

The Challenge

Before Becky came to Signet, she had already spent weeks drilling vocabulary and taking practice tests on her own. Becky’s Signet tutor assessed her test performance and discovered that Becky was missing critical details in more complicated questions in both math and reading comprehension. However, without a clear plan to identify the origins of her mistakes or to avoid making similar ones in the future, she was floundering. In short, Becky had all the motivation she needed to succeed, but no study plan in place to get her to the scores she wanted.

The Signet Solution

Becky’s tutor figured out that Becky’s own blind determination may have led her to miss crucial details when it came to answering questions on the SAT. She would dive right into problems without considering any strategy. Becky’s tutor could see that she was getting overwhelmed with the details and asked her to take a step back from the problems that she found challenging. Becky and her tutor devised a note-taking system to identify the relevant details in each problem. Concentrating on these fundamentals allowed Becky to solve more complex problems without getting overwhelmed.

Though she struggled to adapt to this strategy at first, through careful practice, Becky was able to make it a habit. With her tutor’s support and guidance, Becky was scoring higher on practice tests and noticed her own higher level of confidence as well. By the time the SAT came around, Becky was ready to tackle even the most difficult of problems and scored a 780 in Evidence-based Reading & Writing/Language and a 760 in Math on her final test.

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Picture of Sheila A.

Sheila A.

Sheila Akbar is President & COO of Signet Education. She holds a bachelor's degree and master's degree from Harvard University and two doctoral degrees from Indiana University. She joined the team in the summer of 2010, bringing with her a wealth of experience teaching SAT, ACT, GRE, literature, and composition in both one-on-one and classroom settings.

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