Alrighty then. That’s pretty much my response when I saw Michelle’s SAT scores. The reading and writing were ok, the math was not. In fact that math was surprisingly bad. So, it’s back to the SAT study guides to prep for the re-test.

Oddly enough, Michelle is not disheartened by her scores (which is what I expected). She shrugged it off, said she expected it, and is ready to get back to work on the math. (It’s weird, she gets good grades in her math classes and when she struggles with a concept, she sorts it out and it’s all good. But testing – it’s a problem. We need to figure out why that happens. Soon.)

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I’m sure I’ve mentioned it but I’m really happy I didn’t have to take the SATs.

My daughter took practice tests and used a workbook from the Princeton Review for at least a month before her SAT’s. She ended up with average scores. We had gone to a session at the library with a man who teaches children the SAT approach to taking the test and he even said that the scores are not a reflection of how smart you are but how good you are at taking tests. It has its own strategy. For about $400.00 they will guarantee a higher score. The class is about 8 weeks. (like that was even possible to think about just for taking a test!) He said that the tests are made purposely for average grades. If the test was easy all the scores would be high, if too hard all the scores low. It’s a weird science all its own. All said, SAT scores on not a reflection of your teaching or of your childs abilities. It is a test that is slowly losing its value at all. I wish you the best for your student. I’m sure your child will do well.

My son took the ACTs- they test what the student knows and can be substituted for the SATs and SAT II tests. Almost all colleges accept those scores. His SAT scores were not great- his PSATs were excellent, though. His ACT scores were perfect (he missed 2 points). No college has cared about his SAT scores, they are looking only at his ACTs.

Tests, bah, humbug. Ok, if you have to take them, you have to take them, but I have a different take on how to prepare for them.

When I was young, I had extreme mathphobia. I turned it around myself when I was an adult, by reading some magic books that had math tricks in them. That turned me on to some NON-textbook math books, like those by Martin Gardner and others. If you’d like a list of some good ones, I’d be happy to send you one.

I now teach math on the web at mathmojo.com, where you can get some good info on math.

The point I wanted to make is that if you can get your student to like math (not with some namby-bamby BS like “Fun with Math”), but with some real interesting material, you’ll have wone more than half the battle.

Now, I can’t wait for tests. Of course, being 50 years old sort of leaves me out of that loop…

I hope this gives you some encouragement.

Go to a bookstore and look at the math section for interesting popular books on math. Believe it or not, there are some great ones. Some, like “Innumeracy,” were even best sellers.

Have fun,

Brian