SAT Prep FAQs: 5 Reasons Students Fail

The name just the first reason why so many students fail at the SAT or the ACT is because of the inept educational system that we currently have.  The current system is based on a pedantic mid 1800’s model of memorizing and regurgitating facts many of which have no connection to the real world of commerce and business.  It is an insane competition to see how much uninterestingly presented information can be stuck into a child’s brain by the time they reach young adulthood.  The statistics bare this out clearly.   The United States is clearly ranked near the BOTTOM for Science, Math & Reading ability compared to the top 30 industrialized nations.  China is currently number one and they’re cleaning our clocks.  Here in my homes state of Florida the school system has one of the highest dropout rates in the nation at 41%.  SAT scores in Math and Writing are in the bottom 6 in the nation with Reading not far behind. The main reason for these poor statistics is not to do with the failure to teach critical thinking skills.  This directly carries over to reason number two which is the obsolete test prep industry, run mostly by former teachers who have been brought up in the antiquated school systems who teach the same old memorize and regurgitate approach to SAT and ACT prep classes.

Imagine a typical student who has gone through a mainstream test prep course, this student may be a very diligent and studious person although armed with sufficient facts this unsuspecting student is suddenly thrust into a five hour marathon with a very formidable opponent.  If this student becomes increasingly frustrated and overwhelmed and down right intimidated by the continuous stream of tricky and difficult questions this creates a fight or flight response that shuts down the brain that makes these memorized facts largely irrelevant.  Here again, critical thinking, emotional, physiological, mental, nutritional, peak performance, and stress management skills are glaringly missing from the equation.  No pun intended!

The third reason why many students have a colossal amount of trouble with the SAT and ACT’s is the lack of tactical skills.  How to write a test properly, how to solve word problems, how to read more efficiently, when and where to omit questions to avoid penalties. As well as the proper use of questioning, languaging, and visualizing and reading emphasis as well.

The fourth reason is lack of motivation and discipline besides not being able to connect the dots very far into the future.  The average teen today spends over 8 hours a day in front of  unproductive media – texting, smartphones, computers, facebook, video games, and television.  As a result many teens have learned how to fake it until they make it by copying homework, cheating on tests and trick teachers and parents into thinking that assignments are getting done when no real learning is taking place.  This is a vicious cycle that can only get worse as SAT’s, college, and the real world approach.

Finally, our children are simply not being taught how to manage their emotions properly.  The SAT and ACT test writers know this and are easily able to exploit unsuspecting teenagers into overwhelm, stress, and excess anxiety thereby dramatically reducing the cognitive abilities.  Unfortunately, this has the effect of allowing students to fall through the cracks when it comes to college applications.  Effective SAT/ACT prep these days takes these crucial factors into account and therefore saves the day for many panicking families.


Steve Kirshenbaum, M.S. is an Educational Consultant and Founder of SAT Preparation Group, which specializes in in-home tutoring, SAT Preparation with a 200-point increase guarantee, college planning, and success strategies for teens. They can be reached at 877-672-8773 or


SAT Preparation Group advises in test prep, college planning, and success strategies for teens. Call Us Today at 877-672-8773 or click here for a free consultation.

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