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Why do so many teenagers hate and dread studying for the SSAT? Because the studying is often repetitive and mind-numbingly boring.
So the way to get them to study is to make studying into a game. Here are some games and tips you can use for the Verbal, Reading and Math sections of the test.
To do well on the Verbal section of the SSAT, you’ll have to know the meaning of a lot of words. Luckily, we already know the kind of words you’ll need to know. (Download them here: list 1; list 2; list 3) Make a game out of mastering them. If you like flashcards, use flashcards. If you like studying with a friend, make up silly sentences together with a mnemonic for each word. Play flashcard games at the website Quizlet.com. Standard content on that site is free, and if you want all the bells and whistles, you can buy them for $14.99 a year.
Remember: Have fun with this. If studying for the Verbal section isn’t fun for you, you haven’t yet found the right approach. Let us help you.
If you think you may struggle to follow a Reading passage, or to stay interested in it, mark up the passage as you read. Read the passage in two sweeps. First, read the first and last paragraphs in each long passage. Then read the middle paragraphs. Make brief summary notes of the paragraphs, and then refer back to those summary notes as you answer questions on the passage. Each paragraph should have one “core thought.” Find it and name it, and don’t get lost in the details of the passage. You can come back for the details when you know what questions they’ll ask.
Math word problems aren’t only about math; they’re also about reading the question and breaking the problem down into chunks. Under pressure, even good students get tangled up in the extra words in the question.
So BUCK the question. “BUCK” stands for “Box”, “Underline”, “Circle” and “Knock it out.”
“You need to bake 36 cookies for a school party. The recipe says the oven should be preheated to 350 degrees for 30 minutes. You will need two eggs for each dozen cookies, and three cups of sugar. Using proportions, how many eggs will you need to make 36 cookies?”
BUCK-ing the question reduces it to this:
to bake 36 cookies for a school party. The recipe says the oven should be preheated to 350 degrees for 30 minutes. You will need two eggs for each dozen cookies, and three cups of sugar. Using proportions, can you figure out how many eggs will you need to make 36 cookies?
(You need 36 cookies, two eggs for each dozen cookies, using proportions, how many eggs will you need for 36 cookies?)
Master this technique, and you’ll soon find that once-tricky word problems are now a breeze.