SAT Manual page showing critical reading passage and questions image

Tampa SAT Tutor’s Guide to Preparing for the SAT

Posted on 9th February 2011 in Tampa SAT Preparation

“Failing to prepare is preparing to fail.” John Wooden, Hall of Fame basketball player and coach.

The SAT is a test used by colleges to help in the admission process. A high score is important not only to get into a school of your choice, but to be considered for a multitude of scholarships available to students.  Most students who score low on the SAT probably do so, not because of a lack of ability or “smarts,” but because they failed to prepare properly.

SAT Preparation: The Earlier the Better

Start preparations for the test early; don’t wait until the night before, or even a year before, according to Megan Dorsey, owner of and instructor at College Prep, LCC ( She says SAT test preparation should actually begin in middle school with learning vocabulary.

“Fifty percent of the test is based on vocabulary,” said Dorsey, who teaches SAT preparation classes in Sugarland, Texas and also online.

Dorsey said students should take their English classes seriously and not just learn the words for the “Friday test.” She suggests learning the vocabulary words “bit by bit,” rather than trying to cram later on, which isn’t effective.

SAT Manual page showing critical reading passage and questions image

A good manual is a must. The College Board and many other SAT prep companies produce good ones. Image created by Thant Zin Myint and licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0. See more of Thant's photos at

The College Board SAT Manual’s a Must

To study effectively for the test, you’ll need to pick up a copy of The Official SAT Study Guide: For the New SAT (2nd edition). This definitive guide on the SAT contains some questions used on previous SATs, which will give students a realistic take on what to expect on test day.

Take a SAT Prep Course?

An SAT test preparation course will offer prospective college students with a structured environment to prepare for the test. To find reputable courses, talk to your friends, a high school counselor, or your older cousin who has taken the test. What’s important, says Dorsey, is to find an instructor who is not only an expert on the SAT, but can impart the knowledge in such a way so the student can learn it.

Ultimately, says Dorsey, it’s the effort the student puts forth into prepping for the SAT. She compared a SAT prep course with getting a gym membership. You can have all the fancy training equipment, but it takes individual effort to get fit.

It’s Game Day!

Here are some tips for taking the test when that big day arrives:

  • Know where you’re to report and arrive early (thank God for OnStar, if you’ve got it!). There is nothing harder on the nerves than getting lost on your way to the SAT testing site or important college admission interview.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. Cramming the night before like you do in high school won’t cut it with the SAT, and will probably be more to your detriment. Eat a good breakfast!
  • Know the instructions for each section of the SAT before hand. Answer the easy questions first. Place a question mark next to a question you think you know the answer to; return to it later if you have time.
  • Have a guessing strategy based upon the SAT’s design. You’ll be penalized for a wrong answer. “The SAT has a quarter-point penalty for each wrong answer, so a guess only pays off if you can eliminate one of the five answers. With four answers left, three are wrong and one is correct. If your guess is random, you will, on average, get three wrong and one right. You will lose .25 times three=0.75 points for each point that you gain. That’s not great, but it will raise your score,” said Tampa SAT Critical Reading and Writing Tutor Eric Anderson.  “Always guess if you can eliminate two or more answers,” said Anderson, the owner of, a private tutoring company that gives one-on-one SAT help to students in New Tampa, Odessa, and Temple Terrace, Florida.

Although a good score on the SAT is important, don’t neglect your classes to study for the SAT. Dorsey says colleges pay more attention to student grades than anything else. Your GPA is one thing you can’t change later on. In other words, the SAT is simply another tool to assist in the college admissions process.

ACT Reading and English Tutoring in Odessa

Posted on 25th January 2011 in Tampa ACT Preparation

Today, I have a full day of tutoring, I’m helping a home schooled student in Odessa prepare for his ACT and I am helping a student in Cory Lakes create a review plan to ensure that she is ready to take her final exam in Contemporary History.

If you are a student considering taking the SAT or ACT, see a post that I wrote about the differences between the two tests.

Eric Anderson is a private SAT Critical Reading and SAT Writing tutor who lives in Wesley Chapel, Florida. He works with students in Odessa, New Tampa, Wesley Chapel, and Lutz.. For full details, call Eric at 813.787.8959 or e-mail him at Tampa Tutor at Tampa Bay Dot RR Dot Com.

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SAT Student Scores 40 Point Gain on Writing

Posted on 26th December 2010 in English Tutor Success Stories

One of my favorite Tampa SAT tutoring students just got her scores back. She scored 40 points better on SAT writing! She is an exceptional student and already had top scores in math and reading, so the gain in writing is good news!

man standing in tall grass

This image taken by ManojVasanth and licensed under CC Attribution Only Generic 2.0. See more of his stunning photography in his Flickr photostream .

She is looking at University of Florida, FSU, and University of Central Florida and should be a good candidate for admission for all three schools.

I applaud her hard work and dedication to getting in to a top school.

Eric Anderson is a English and history tutor. He tutors SAT English and writing and ACT English and ACT Reading. Reach Eric at 813.787.8959 or by e-mail at Tampa tutor at Tampa bay dot rr dot com. He offer college application essay help .


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Good Resource for SAT and ACT Students Wanting to Learn Vocabulary and Word Roots

Posted on 9th September 2010 in Tampa ACT Preparation, Tampa SAT Preparation

One of my favorite web services is Stumble Upon.  In my spare time, I like to see what new things that I can find on the web in my areas of interest.

A few days ago, I stumbled upon a good flashcard site for students studying for the SAT and ACT.

Although the sets are of varying quality, I found a few good ones, especially in the area of word roots.

If you are doing some last minute cramming for the vocabulary parts of the SAT and ACT, you might find it useful. It looks like you can study the cards on the site for free.

Let me know what you think!

Eric Anderson is an English and history tutor. He lives in Wesley Chapel and tutors students in Wesley Chapel, New Tampa and surrounding communities. Reach him at 813.787.8959.

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Tampa English Tutor Gives SAT Math Tip

Posted on 9th August 2010 in Tampa SAT Preparation

I know this space is mostly devoted to SAT tips designed to help students improve their scores on the SAT writing and SAT critical reading sections, but one of my students shared a tip that he has been using on SAT math.

Tampa Tutor Math Tip Green Crook Hopscotch Image

(Image by D. Sharon Pruitt of Pink Sherbet Photography . Licensed Under Creative Commons Attribution Only 2.0 Generic.)

For equation problems that he is working by plugging in the answer choices, he starts with choice C. Because the SAT answers are in numerical order, starting with C lets him quickly tell if he needs to move up or down from that point.

Either way, he knows that one of the two remaining answers is correct.


I don’t really know much about SAT math because I don’t tutor it at all, but I thought this SAT prep tip was quite clever and might help a few of you do better on SAT math.

What do you think? Would you use this strategy?

If you need help in preparing for the SAT math, feel free to give me a call at 813.787.8959 if you are in New Tampa or Wesley Chapel, and I will refer you to an outstanding SAT math tutor.

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