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The Daily PWN

Hey guys, just a quick post here to announce a new feature I quietly launched on the site a couple weeks ago; people who have found it seem to like it so far. You can now sign up to receive practice math questions, automatically delivered to your inbox once a day. I’m calling it “The Daily PWN” (creative, right?) and you can expect the questions to be challenging, but not ridiculously so. Each question has a thorough explanation, and a comments section in case you want to discuss it or ask questions.

If that sounds like it’d be helpful for you, all you need to do is sign up using the form below.

Note that you can also sign up for (or unsubscribe from) other automated site updates using the form. Just make sure that the updates you want to receive have checkmarks on them before you submit.

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Minor updates to the Math Guide

A few weeks ago, I made some minor adjustments to the Math Guide to incorporate the additional official material released by the College Board: tests 5 and 6 (download them here). If you purchase new copies of the Math Guide from the PWN store (or anywhere else) now, your book will have breakdowns of those tests at the back. (If you own a copy that doesn’t have those breakdowns, you can download them in the Math Guide Owners Area—get registered here.)

I also reformatted the official question lists at the end of each chapter—some of them were getting long and it was getting confusing to have multiple page numbers for each question. My new philosophy is that you know whether you have the tests in a book or printed out from your computer, and you know how to find #27 in section 4 of test 3 without me telling you which page it’s on. New official question listings look like this:

All the same information as the old tables in a more compact package.

One result of this is that books printed after these changes went live have slightly different paginations because some of the old end-of-chapter tables took up more than one page. I don’t anticipate this being a real problem for anyone, but if you’d like to download the new table of contents, that’s available for download in the Math Guide Owners Area, too.

Site update: Math Guide Owner verification

Just a quick bit of business here: I’ve automated the Math Guide Owner membership process. You no longer need to email proof of purchase to me to gain access (everybody at once: YAASSSS!!)—all you need to do is go to this page, scroll to the bottom, and verify your book ownership by answering one randomized question about the book’s content (e.g., what’s the fifth word on page X?). From now on, you’ll be able to get your discount code instantly, instead of having to wait for an email response from me.

Note: If you purchased your book from the PWN store, you already have Math Guide Owner privileges through the account from which you made the purchase.

March SAT scores and the new concordance tables

Big day today in SAT land—March SAT scores are finally out for most test-takers, and the College Board has released a score conversion app that allows users to compare old SAT scores to new SAT scores. I messed around with the converter a bit tonight. Interestingly, new SAT scores seem to be higher than old SAT scores. For example, 600 Verbal 600 Math on the new SAT would be only 550 Reading 580 Math 530 Writing on the old SAT. Likewise, 700s on the new SAT would be 660R 670M 650W on the old SAT, and 500s on the new SAT would be 460R 460M 430W on the old SAT.

I’m not sure what I was expecting, but I found these results surprising. That said, I’m just plugging in round values to get a rough sense of what’s going on. I’m curious what those of you who took the old SAT and also have scores from the March (new) SAT are seeing. Are the concordance tables accurate?

(I’ve discovered since the first version of this post, wherein I complained that College Board didn’t just release tables, that they actually did also release tables. My bad! You can find those here if, like me, you’d rather get a view of the whole field at once.)

The Math Guide for the new SAT is (finally) available!

PWNtheSATMathGuide9_pdfAt long last, the fourth edition of the Math Guide is available for purchase at Amazon.com, Google Play, and this site (although I’m struggling a bit to keep inventory in stock on this site, so please be patient if you buy directly from me). It will eventually be available at other online locations (e.g., B&N) too.

A lot of other folks rushed to publish books for the new SAT to take advantage of the uncertainty and panic that a new test brings. I didn’t do that. I really took my time on this one to try to get it right. Once you have a look at it, I hope you agree that I did a good job.


Updates on the new Math Guide: Digital version available now!

The digital version of the 4th edition of the Math Guide is available now from the Google Play store in every country where Google Play sells books. I will have an announcement about the paperback version soon.

(One thing that’s not done on the Google Play book is the cover. I’m working with someone to update the cover from the old design I’ve used for the last two editions. A cover is so unimportant for a digital book, though, that I didn’t want to delay the release just for that reason.)

Poll: How hard was the January SAT?

If you took the January 2016 SAT, and want to help inform the argument about how lenient or punishing the scoring table might be with some data, answer this simple poll.

Relative to other tests you’ve taken (real and/or practice), how hard did you find the January 2016 SAT?

This survey is over, but you can view its results by clicking here.

View results to past such polls here: December, November, October.


The East Coast’s Reprieve Means Big Discounts

If you live on the East Coast, then chances are pretty good that your January 23rd SAT just recently became your February 20th SAT. That’s a bummer, no? Then again, maybe you’re happy—you’ve just been given a whole extra month to study. My suggestion: take advantage.

I was planning on taking my Math Guide and Essay Guide out of print today, but now that they’re relevant for a small group of you for another month, I’ve just slashed their prices instead. If you don’t have my books, yet, and you’ve just found out you have more time than you thought to get ready, I invite you to grab them at your favorite online retailer at a deep discount. Here they are at Amazon—my favorite online retailer.


Poll: How hard was the December 2015 SAT?

This is becoming tradition at this point (see results from October and November). As long as you guys keep responding and finding this useful, I’ll keep it up. If you took the December 2015 SAT, and want to help inform the argument about how lenient or punishing the scoring table might be with some data, answer this simple poll.

Relative to other tests you’ve taken (real and/or practice), how hard did you find the December 2015 SAT?

This poll is over, but you can view the results here.

Poll: How hard was the November SAT?

This survey resulted in some useful (or at least interesting) data when I did it for the October SAT, so I figured I’d do it again. Relative to other tests you’ve taken (real and/or practice), how hard did you find the November 2015 SAT?

This survey is over, but you can still view the results.

October SAT scores are out today

…but if you took the test, you probably already knew that. In all likelihood, if you’re reading this blog, you were probably up clicking refresh on the College Board website at 5am so that you could see how you did the very second scores went live.

I really, truly hope that when you did see your scores, you were thrilled.

If you weren’t, of course, then you’re probably acutely aware that you only have 3 more chances to take the SAT in its current form before it’s changed forever.

Here’s the good news: the current test is very intimately known by those of us who work in test prep. It’s been around for a little over 10 years, after all. If you want to improve and you have the will to devote yourself to some good prep, there’s a very good chance that you’ll be able to better your score.

There’s no time to waste, though. So dust yourself off, convert your disappointment to motivation, and start transforming your weaknesses into strengths.

Good luck on the new PSAT tomorrow.

Good luck to all of you taking the brand new PSAT tomorrow! I look forward to hearing your reactions to it.

Poll: How hard was the October SAT?

Relative to other tests you’ve taken (real and/or practice), how hard did you find the SAT today?

This survey is over, but you can still view the results.

Good luck on the October SAT!

2015-09-20 20.22.06

(An actual fortune cookie I got a few days ago.)

I know a LOT of you are taking the October SAT. By the time I’m posting this, hopefully many of you will already be in bed, sleeping soundly in confident anticipation of your morning victories.

I wish you well.

Site hiccups

Head in HandsThose of you who have been using the site regularly over the past few days might have noticed a few site hiccups—either images not loading, or the whole site not loading, logins not working, etc. Let’s be clear: all that happened because I’m a tutor, not a web developer, but I still insist on doing pretty much all of this by myself. Hubris.

Anyway, I think I’ve got it all fixed now. Further, I think that this site should be faster and more stable than it’s ever been. So…yay!

Please let me know if you’re running into any problems—just leave a comment in this post.