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College Exams (SAT`s)/So do I have a legitimate reason for being a "bad test taker" or is it just an excuse in my case?


The one part of the SAT that bums me is my math score.  I got a 580 (540 on CR), however, this has always been my strong point and something I'm really good at.  On the annual achievement tests I took throughout school I would consistently score in the 85th to 90th percentile on the mathematical problem solving portion.  These were untimed tests, but I still felt a little pressure to finish in a reasonable time because I test slower than most people as I'm more careful and I never retain the information from the reading portions because I can't really remember information from uninteresting texts.  I would always do better on the "critical analysis" questions for reading rather than "initial understanding" questions which I don't really understand how I could do better on questions dealing with higher-order thinking skills.

Not only that, but I taught myself calculus between 9th and 10th grade and can answer some pretty complicated and in-depth mathematical problems that require some creativity given enough time. On the SAT Math I didn't have time to answer 9 of the questions and I got all the free-response questions I did correct and some of those were level 4 problems, but I got a few level 1 and 2s incorrect.  How could I get harder oneís correct, and miss easy ones?  My SAT Math score kind of hurt my self-confidence in my abilities.

I also had issues throughout elementary with paying attention and this also carried over into high school and I've had poor study habits albeit I got A's and B's in most of my classes with little effort and I didn't take easy classes.  I took mostly honors and 2 AP classes (would have taken more had I been given the opportunity).  Iím not sure if I had an attention problem in school or if I was just really bored.  I remember it being very difficult for me to pay attention in class for a very long time unless it was interesting which was a rarity.  My 6th grade teacher called me the ďabsent-minded professorĒ and my 3rd grade teacher was always telling me to come back from Pluto (I was always losing where we were in class readings because I couldnít pay attention very long).  Iíd always wanted to skip a grade or two throughout elementary and middle school, but my mom didnít condone that.

I just donít know exactly why I canít finish tests in reasonable times! I wish I could, but Iíve never been a fast test taker and my SAT score hurts my confidence in my abilities.  It tells me Iím merely average at what I enjoy (higher-level maths; and SAT Math isnít even ďhigher-levelĒ math in my opinion).  I donít know if I have an underlying processing issue or what!

Some students are tested by an educational psychologist to determine whether they have ADD,ADHD, or other learning disabilities. If these are documented, the College Board may give you extended
time on your next SAT test. You will need to apply for that through the College Board if that is the case. This extra time may provide the minutes you need in order to finish a test. You may need to learn what to do on the test in order to pace yourself better. I work with a lot of students on both the SAT and ACT and find that there are often ways to improve focus and time management. You may need to find someone who can help you in this area.

College Exams (SAT`s)

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Susie Watts


I can answer questions pertaining to college selection and application strategies, SAT and ACT test preparation, and general areas of education involving students from kindergarten through high school.


I have tutored students from kindergarten through high school and assisted students with college selection and the college admission
process for the past 16 years. I also teach workshops for the SAT
and ACT tests.

National Association for College Admission Counseling
Higher Education Consultants Association

Bachelor degree in education and counseling with graduate work in individual learning styles and reading development. Continuing education in college admissions and elementary/middle school education

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