SAT / ACT VIDEO BLOG
As an aid to the tuition process, I am creating a series of education videos which will eventually cover the entire SAT and ACT syllabi, and I am uploading them to my YouTube channel. Every few days I will link to one here, but I also encourage you to like and subscribe to my channel to see all my video updates. There will be playlists specifically tailored to the math and english content of the ACT and the SAT.
Most students come to these exams at least somewhat familiar with quadratic equations, but very little experience with polynomials of higher degrees, with multiple x's raised to powers higher than 2 and many different roots and solutions. They can therefore be intimidated by questions asking them to identify the factors of higher order polynomials in the SAT and ACT, but in actual fact these questions are often as straight forward as reading numbers off a graph and reversing a sign from positive to negative. In this video, then, I take you through how to identify the roots and factors of a polynomial, and also how to recognise certain patterns of behaviours at the x-intercepts, to make answering these questions in the SAT or the ACT a breeze.
Apostrophes can cause all manner of headaches for some students, and the reason why is the different way we use apostrophes for nouns and pronouns. With nouns, apostrophes signal possession, something belong to some one or something. With pronouns, but contrast, apostrophes designate a contraction - it's meaning it is, who's meaning who is, and so one. This video goes through this important punctuation mark as apostrophe questions turn up frequently in both the SAT and the ACT.
Imaginary numbers can provoke polarising reactions in students. For me, it was exciting to see math open up in new theoretical directions, making it seem more creative and philosophical than just solving equations. For others, however, it can prove deeply frustrating to see that, in some sense, mathematicians are just making it up as they go along!
Either way, as far as the SAT and the ACT are concerned, you definitely do need to learn what imaginary and complex numbers are, but this doesn't have to be a particularly daunting process. This video covers all the basics you need to know to tackle SAT questions on complex numbers, and the majority of ACT questions - a follow up video will address one or two more advanced ACT question types you may come across. But hopefully you will see that what you need to know how to do is not so complex and scary as the names might suggest!
Today's video is on a very important ACT Math topic - Logarithms. Logs is often one of students' least favourite topics, as frequently they have not studied them in school and, in addition, log questions only turn up once per ACT paper, if at all, so they don't get a lot of opportunity to practice their skills once they have learned what logs are. This video, then, gives you an introduction to all you need to know about logs to ace the ACT math exam - which, it turns out, isn't very much! You need to know what logs are, what their relationship to exponential expressions is, and then three basic log laws, and you are then good to go! A following video will give you some revision questions and examples of the harder ACT log questions which sometimes turn up, to make sure you feel as prepared as you can be to tackle this topic in the ACT exam!
So, as promised, this video provides you with real SAT and ACT exam questions on adding subclauses to sentences, a major question type on both exams. If you have watched the below video introducing this topic and can get all these questions correct, congratulations, you are well on the way to getting a great score on the ACT or SAT English section, a major component of these exams!
Following on from the previous video, this one tackles another common usage of commas - inserting additional information into a sentence via subclauses. As far as the SAT and ACT exams are concerned, in this case commas work in exactly the same was as dashes or parentheses, working in pairs to add content to a sentence that can be removed in its entirety without damaging the basic structure of the sentence. This video goes through some typical examples, including adding subclauses within subclauses and whether you can separate someone's name from their profession with a subclause (a surprisingly common question in both the SAT and the ACT). A following video gives you real questions from these exams to test your newfound knowledge on!
Commas are the punctuation mark people tend to use in the most haphazard of manners, including them merely when it feels right or it "sounds like there should be a pause". However, when it comes to the SAT and ACT, there are only a few sharply defined rules about commas usage you need to know, and then you can answer all of these types of questions with 100% accuracy. In this video, I discuss commas when used in lists notable the use of the Oxford comma in lists of nouns, and also the use of commas in adjectival lists. This is followed by some practice questions to check that you now know how to handle this type of question, which is especially frequent in the ACT.
Colons are one of the most frequently tested punctuation marks in the SAT and the ACT, and the one students are often most stumped by their particular use in these exams. However, once you know one or two keys facts about their usage, these questions become much simpler to tackle. Essentially, if you want to use a colon before a list or an example, you have to make sure you have a full sentence beforehand - and that's it! This video takes you through colon use, and also presents a few of the harder questions from the SAT and the ACT so you can have a go yourself and test your knowledge!!
As a follow up to my first Matrices video (see the post from 1st October below), this video gives you 8 practice questions, four for each of the matrix operations you need to know for the ACT: matrix addition, scalar multiplication, multiplying two matrices together and the determinant of a 2x2 matrix. If you can do all these practice questions, you are probably all set for any matrix question the ACT is going to throw at you - good job!
Also, if you are thinking of taking the Math II SAT Subject test, these questions are required practice to help you through that exam too!
The first of my grammar videos, covering the material for the English sections of the ACT and the SAT, beings a mini-series on Punctuation. Many students have a patchy knowledge of punctuation rules, which are often not taught very rigorously at school. As a result, many people use punctuation marks, like commas, where they "feel right" or where they think there needs to be a "pause". Although this can get you so far in the ACT or SAT exam, if you rely solely on this instinctual sense of punctuation use you will not be able to tackle the harder questions that come up.
However, the actual punctuation rules you need to know for these exams are actually quite straightforward. In this mini series of videos, I will cover all of them in sequence, and you will then know all you need to know for these questions in the exam. This first video covers semicolons which are, to all intents and purposes, identical to full stops (or periods).
Once you have that down, there are several exam strategies I discuss in this video that help you cross out answer choices in the grammar section straight away. Click on the image below to watch, and let me know your thoughts!
The video I wish to share today is part of my ACT Math playlist and covers Matrices. This is one of several math topics that is entirely new to most students, and therefore one of the most important to introduce. As it is a new topic, students can often find it a bit confusing and overwhelming at first. However, as with most of the "new" topics on the ACT, you do not actually need an in depth knowledge of what matrices are - instead, as long as you know how to do 4 basic operations with matrices, that is all you need to know to tackle any question the ACT is likely to throw at you. This video, then, covers the addition of matrices, scalar multiplication, multiplying matrices together and the determinant of a 2x2 Matrix. A following video will give you some more sample questions so you can test your new-found knowledge. Click on the image below to watch!