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Review of Setting Goals for the SAT

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One of the ways to guide preparation for the SAT is for students to set goals for their performance. Goals should be SMART; specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound. They can be set with help from teachers and tutors to bolster problem areas and support strengths.

Specific Goals Guided by Practice

Most students have years of experience taking tests like the SAT. The SAT is standardized and norm-referenced, which means that questions have been tested over and over again, and made standard on a test population of students. Also, students practice test-taking skills in coaching sessions with practice tests, with tests like the PSAT/NMQST, and sometimes with other sessions of the SAT. This allows students to discover their individual patterns of strengths and weaknesses.

Measurable Goals Guided by Performance

It is important to set goals that are specific and measurable, but measurable goals must also be meaningful. A goal such as “I will increase my overall score by 50 points” is measurable, but it is not specific enough, nor is it meaningful. Suppose a student has lower scores in the critical reading section than in the mathematics section. That is because much of the academic vocabulary contains unfamiliar words. One measurable goal might be “I will practice vocabulary words in academic settings by learning three new words a week. Part of my practice with those new words includes writing a definition of each word as I learn it, showing at least two instances when it used in academic writing, and writing three original sentences with that word. “

Attainable and Realistic Goals Guided by Practice

Goals should be attainable and realistic. A perfect score on any test may not be either, any more than a student’s parents winning the Powerball jackpot, thus taking care of any needs to pay for college. However, a goal such as “I will practice solving problems with graphs and functions until I can solve 8 out of 10 correctly on practice tests “ is attainable. Since students may be asked to solve those types of problems on the SAT, it is also realistic.

Time-Bound Goals Guided by Test Dates

Typically, students have many opportunities through high school to take the PSAT and SAT, as well as work through coaching practice through classroom programs and through tutors. The calendar of local test dates and locations is posted online and available through the high school. Students can ensure they are setting goals for the SAT that are SMART; specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound.

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SchoolTutoring Academy is the premier educational services company for K-12 and college students. We offer tutoring programs for students in K-12, AP classes, and college. To learn more about how we help parents and students in Mount Vernon, WA: visit: Tutoring in Mount Vernon, WA

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