Jarrell Education Helps Students ‘Crack the Code’ to SAT, ACT Exams

By Alana Van Der Sluys

In a 2015 article, PBS reported that students take an average of 113 standardized tests between pre-K and 12th grade; two tests, however, seem to plague students’ and parents’ minds more than any other: the SAT, and its somewhat overshadowed little brother, the ACT.

The weight students and parents alike put on these exams typically leads to purchasing thick study guide books filled with practice exams. While these books certainly contain valuable information, the true key to success on these exams lies in knowing how they are written; tutoring services like Jarrell Education can help students better understand the formulaic layout of these tests and crack the code to that elusive perfect score.

The Scholastic Aptitude Test has survived many evolutions in its almost 100-year history, most notably the addition of the optional essay and the brief change from 1600 to 2400 points in 2005. As of 2020, the test is back to its original 1600 points and split into three sections — Reading, Writing & Language, and Math –which are to be completed in 180 minutes; and that’s not counting the optional 50-minute essay.

While the SAT is believed to assess more general knowledge, the American College Testing (ACT) exam focuses more on subject content with four sections: reading, writing, math, and science. The ACT’s score tops out at 36 and requires three hours of students’ time, not counting the optional 45-minute essay.

The College Board and American College Testing, who both write and administer the SAT and ACT, respectively, mercifully write the exams in a way that students can utilize tried and true test-taking strategies and common sense to ease the burden of overwhelmingly long and content-dense exams. For example, SAT questions have three levels of difficulty: easy, medium, and hard; yet, each question is worth one point. It’s also worth noting that, typically, the easier questions are asked earlier in each section. With this knowledge of the exam in mind, students can strategically answer the easier questions first and save the more difficult ones for later; since all questions are worth the same it’s better to answer five easy questions correctly in five minutes, rather than spend the same five minutes on one difficult question, only to get it wrong.

Knowing the types of questions asked on the exam is another strategy tutors like those at Jarrell Education can teach students in order to better navigate these standardized tests. For example, an overwhelming majority of questions asked on the ACT English section assess a students’ knowledge of correct comma, colon, and dash usage. If more questions are about this usage and mechanics skill–as opposed to adjectives vs. adverbs, which is rarely assessed on the exam–students can utilize their study time more wisely on skills they know will appear most on the exam.

Jarrell Education currently employs 28 tutors led by teacher James Jarrell. They offer in-person tutoring at their office in Mountain Lakes, NJ, and, since the pandemic, have been offering their services virtually, as well. Sessions are always in real-time; students are never given “canned” recordings of lessons. Each tutor has been hand-selected by Jarrell himself for their extensive teaching experience and advanced degrees in every content area. Subjects include all levels of Math (Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, Pre-Calc, Calculus, Statistics), Science (Biology, Chemistry, Physics), English (Literature and Language, Composition, College Essays), History (US History, US Government, World History, European History), and Foreign Language (Spanish, French, German), SAT Prep and ACT Prep, and more.

Jarrell Education also specializes in College Advising. This includes the college application, various interview techniques, necessity and benefits of standardized tests like the SAT and ACT. Our advisor assists with seeking financial aid and finding a selection of colleges that match the student’s interests, major, school size, and cost.

For more information, please visit https://jarrelleducation.com or call (973)919-8343.