THE SPECIFICS

Critical Reading

Critical Reading

Critical Reading on the PSAT tests vocabulary (sentence completion), short passages, long passages, and comparative passages.

Sentence CompletionVocabulary can be one of the most challenging areas of content on the PSAT. Students are provided with specific strategies to navigate this portion of the test. Often, students who have a strong working vocabulary approach these question types with a subjective investigation of compatible answer choices. Adequately distinguishing between given intent and possible intent is a determining factor of success. Instructors will guide students through this process initially, and then allow for students to begin assimilating these methods.

Group Discussions In Passage ReadingGroup discussions are utilized to encourage both unique thought and exercise a student’s ability to accept incoming data that may be incongruent with his or her initial interpretation. A demonstration of required depth of reasoning is provided by the instructor and is followed by the student’s replication of the analysis on subsequent paragraphs. Students alternate between reading and interpretation while being guided with instructor provided suggestions and inquires.

A misguided analysis is thwarted through peer assistance and contextual deciphering. Constant reference to theme, purpose, and provided textual evidence allows students to avoid internal tendency to reach beyond that which has been suggested by the author.

Passage QuestionsStudents are taught to approach questions from an objective review of the passage. Key concepts, including but not limited to authors perspective and logical inference, are emphasized in the initial introduction of the question portion of the lesson. Students are guided through their discussions with their peers to conclusively prove the validity of a chosen answer as well as the total refutation of the other incorrect answer choices.

Vocabulary in context questions as well as questions involving structure and literary device are discussed in relation to the current passage being used and possible future assurances. The instructor will slowly begin to help students develop a working database of common question types and errors.

As interpretation skills progress, students are given increasingly less initial guidance as a test to monitor progression. Should students falter or regress, the instructor will reestablish appropriate techniques and assess where in the process a student has faltered.

Math SectionThere are several concepts that are tested on the PSAT including:

Linear and Quadratic Equations, Rations and Proportions, Data Interpretation,
Functions, Number Properties, Triangles, Inequalities, Exponents, Averages,
and Angles.

Number and Operation problems involve the basic understanding of integers, ratios, fractions and percents. Students must be able to identify properties in numeric form and through variable (non specific) application. Strategies will allow students to reconnect that variable data to specific numbers and in doing so are able to adequately apply knowledge of those properties.

35%-40% Algebra and FunctionsThese problems will identify a student’s ability to manage single and multi variable problems. Solving and creating equations is a strong focus of the test. Functions are tested in relation to a given graph, with provided values, in relation to each other, and through real world application. The foundations for these concepts are reviewed and built upon through a carefully selected succession of multi step problem types.

25%-30% GeometryGeometry concepts tested include lines, slopes, circles, triangles, rectangles, and three-dimensional solids. Students must understand and apply relevant formulas. Instruction will include exposure to a multitude of examples that begin to automate a student’s ability to immediately mentally divert to the theorems needed to solve each problem. Logic questions concerning ladders leaning on buildings will link to pythagorean theorems. Wheels are linked to circumferential understanding. Three-dimensional solids become mental extensions of understood two-dimensional concepts. These examples are then connected to higher order and multistep examples.

10%-15% Data, Stats, and ProbabilityThese questions involve averages, medians, factorials, charts, and tables. In addition to refreshing simplistic understanding and definition, instruction will include an emphasis on derivative analysis. The origin of previously memorized step-by-step processes is learned in order to instill proper utilization. Comprehensive conceptual understanding of all data will ensure that questions are answered appropriately in context.

Writing SectionThe writing section of the PSAT tests for basic grammatical understanding. Concepts tested include run-on sentences, fragment sentences, punctuation, verbs, comparative/superlative, pronouns, parallelism, idioms, and redundancy.

Improving the SentencesThis section of the writing portion of the PSAT involves a thorough understanding of tested grammatical concepts as well as preferred direction in style. Students are taught to identify current mistakes while predicting acceptable modification. A step-by-step process is utilized to capitalize on familiarity of structure. An alternate plan of strategic elimination is given in conjunction with statistically prevalent incorrect constructions.

Identifying the ErrorsIn order to appropriately isolate the given error, students must be familiar with each tested concept. Multiple examples are given of each concept to acquaint students with both recognized and unfamiliar uses of words, phrasing and conjugations. Style errors are deemphasized and specific attention is drawn to reoccurring problem types.

Improving ParagraphsThese questions are based on a student’s ability to read and correct grammatical errors in context. Strategies here are somewhat personalized based on rate of section completion. This is where individualization becomes a key element in instruction. Similar concepts are tested here as they are in other portions of the writing section. Students, however, are taught which errors should be at the forefront of their analysis, including ambiguity and intended meaning.

PerspectiveYou will work with Ray Dass and the top instructors from his team to strengthen the critical thinking skills and content knowledge that is crucial for achieving National Merit Recognition. Each instructor is hand selected by Ray and has years of experience training the top students in the nation. With degrees in vastly different disciplines, Ray Dass’ team brings unique strengths and perspectives to the students, allowing for a true comprehension of all topics discussed.