Zen in the Art of the SAT: How to Think, Focus, and Achieve Your Highest Score

Overview

How do you prepare for a test? Study the material, of course. But studying for the SAT is different—knowing facts is not enough. On the SAT, basic information is presented in tricky new combinations, and getting the right answers depends less on what you know than on how you think.

Zen in the Art of the SAT, written for those in grades 9–12, can help you achieve your highest score on the new SAT.

• Learn to let go of worries and fears, calm your mind, and bring your attention to...

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Zen in the Art of the SAT: How to Think, Focus, and Achieve Your Highest Score

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Overview

How do you prepare for a test? Study the material, of course. But studying for the SAT is different—knowing facts is not enough. On the SAT, basic information is presented in tricky new combinations, and getting the right answers depends less on what you know than on how you think.

Zen in the Art of the SAT, written for those in grades 9–12, can help you achieve your highest score on the new SAT.

• Learn to let go of worries and fears, calm your mind, and bring your attention to the present moment.

• Explore the main obstacles actual students have faced and how they overcame them.

• Assess yourself: know what role anxiety plays in your test-taking and learn how to change reading habits that may be limiting your success.

• Create a study plan that will work for you.

• Find out how your parents can support you best.

• Discover your mind’s hidden natural ability to solve problems.

The techniques in Zen in the Art of the SAT were developed through years of work with students in New York City, one of the most competitive test-prep markets in America.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The advice about mindfulness and transforming nervous energy and negative thoughts, which readers can apply to every life experience, that really distinguishes this title." ––Booklist Booklist, ALA

"This book takes a rather unusual approach to a topic of perennial interest. . . . Bardin and Fine look to ancient philosophy to help teens take an academic test." ––School Library Journal School Library Journal

School Library Journal
Gr 10 Up-This book takes a rather unusual approach to a topic of perennial interest, but it's not particularly effective. Bardin and Fine look to ancient philosophy to help teens take an academic test. Zen is discussed and then test-taking strategies are explored. Some of the material just doesn't gel and feels forced. The section entitled "The Buddha and the SAT" is particularly obtuse. There are some helpful tidbits, though, such as the chapter called "Some Things You Must Know," which covers the Big Ten in grammar, the basics of timed writing, and math strategies. Also, there is a chapter on dealing with one's parents including recognizing damaging remarks made by well-meaning individuals. Overall, though, there are better books out there to help students prepare for the SAT.-Laura Younkin, Ballard High School, Louisville, KY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618574889
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 7/28/2005
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,105,891
  • Age range: 14 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.25 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

MATT BARDIN, a teacher for more than fifteen years, is founderand president of Veritas Tutors and Test Prep. Matt helped withthe startup of Teach for America, the national teacher corps.
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Read an Excerpt

A Critical Opportunity

How do you feel when you"re taking a test and get a question about something you don"t know? Your heart rate goes up. You might feel heat in your chest or your temples. If only you had read that chapter more carefully or memorized that formula—but now it seems there"s little you can do. You make up some feeble nonsense in hopes of getting partial credit. Whether this happens to you all the time or almost never, it"s one of the worst feelings you can experience as a student.

It"s also something that you can count on experiencing while taking the SAT. However, on the SAT, this isn"t necessarily a bad thing. It may even be a good thing.

In Japanese, the word for crisis (kiki) also means "critical opportunity." That"s because every crisis can be a turning point. How you handle a crisis can make the difference between disaster and triumph.

At some point on the SAT, you may face a crisis—the anxiety caused by a question you initially think you can"t answer. How you handle this crisis will determine how well you do. (And how you manage anxiety more generally will determine how well you do in lots of different things throughout life.) This book discusses the critical skills you need to do well on the SAT: reading, thinking, and managing anxiety. The challenges on the SAT can initially seem tricky if not impossible. Yet the guidance and suggestions offered here will teach you how to handle the test.

With the SAT, it"s not enough to know the material. To excel on the SAT you must be confident about your ability to read carefully and solve problems—even strange, inscrutable ones—under timed conditions. That"s what makes the SAT so intimidating. You can"t just memorize the material and then regurgitate it; you have to act in the moment. Sure, there are some things you must know for the SAT. In fact, the new SAT is designed to include more content, like a school test. But the SAT will always demand less knowing than the tests you take at school and a lot more figuring out.

That"s where Zen comes in. Zen practice trains us to bring our entire attention to the present moment while releasing the mind"s hold on fragments from the past and future—ideas, worries, fears, and phantoms that can generate an endless stream of anxiety and self-doubt. You can learn how to manage anxiety in order to cultivate and sustain the presence of mind that will yield right answers because you are able in the heat of the moment to figure out even the toughest SAT problems.

As you move through Zen in the Art of the SAT, you"ll first read about the nature of the test and discover how different the SAT is from the tests you are used to taking in school. Once you"re clear about the nature of the test, you"re ready to explore some of the primary obstacles many students face—issues connected with reading and anxiety—and how to overcome them. There are self-assessments that can help you gauge whether your reading habits are up to this challenge and what role anxiety plays in your test taking. There is also information that can help you make a study plan, and there"s a section about parents. (You might want to encourage your parents to read it, too.) And, while the SAT is different from school tests and doesn"t require that you memorize lots of material, there are some things you do need to know such as basic math, some rules of grammar and usage, and ways to approach timed essays. The section called "Some Things You Must Know" covers these basics.

For hundreds of years Zen practitioners have applied mental self-awareness techniques to everything from flower arranging to poetry. This book can help you apply similar ideas to the SAT. Since the test measures your ability to read, focus, and figure things out, sharpening your mental abilities can make a huge difference in your score and in how you feel about the test. As you learn how to ace the SAT, you will gain a deeper understanding of yourself and build your self-esteem and confidence. Additionally, you will discover how you can manage anxiety and turn what initially seems like a crisis into an opportunity. You will learn to do your best on the SAT not through any tricks or secret formulas but rather by getting a firm handle on the workings of your own mind.

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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 20, 2006

    WONDERFUL!

    This book is amazing because it is effective, pleasurable to read, relatable, and eye-opening. The techniques in this book are a completely original way to look at the SAT and they totally worked for me! My score went up, which is first and foremost. But in addition to that I gained a perspective on the test that i believe to be invaluable. Thanks Matt and Susan!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2006

    A very thoughtful and helpful book

    When I saw this book in my local library, I automatically thought: What does Zen have to do with the SAT? Will it actually help me? Not only did this book help with my test anxiety but it was also a good read. I definitely recommend this book to any person who wants help with test-taking.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 27, 2005

    zen is a book that will sure help you in your SAT.

    It isnot just for entertainment but also it helps us to learn something. It did help me in my SAT and even other exams. It certainly can be read by all the ages especially for children with all the school tension.

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