SAT prep tips from a perfect scorer and Shark Tank entrepreneur

Shaan Patel, founder of 2400 expert, will appear on Shark Tank Friday, Jan. 29.
Shaan Patel, founder of 2400 expert, will appear on Shark Tank Friday, Jan. 29. –Photo courtesy of Shaan Patel/ABC

Shaan Patel knew nothing about standardized tests the first time he took the SAT.

He scored 1760 (which is still in the 83rd percentile) on his first practice test. He was able to improve his score 640 points to 2400—a perfect score.

He didn’t stop there. Patel used his test-taking strategies to found a test prep company called 2400 Expert, which offers both in-person and online courses that he said improve students’ SAT scores by an average of 368 points. That’s the equivalent of jumping from the 50th percentile to the 90th percentile.

Patel will pitch his business, which just opened a Boston location this month, on an upcoming episode of Shark Tank.

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In the meantime, he offered some quick tips for students taking the SAT on Saturday. Here are five pointers from the perfect scorer:

1. The word “being’’ is almost always incorrect on the SAT Writing multiple-choice section. “Being’’ often creates passive voice, which is frowned upon in the grammar section of the SAT.

2. Research one literary, historical, and current event example to use on your SAT Essay before test day. The SAT Essay topic is always very general, so knowing a few examples in-depth prior to seeing the topic can help you “pre-prepare’’ the evidence to support your SAT Essay position.

3. Focus on why answer choices are incorrect, rather than on why answer choices are correct, on the SAT Reading section. Eighty percent of the answer choices are incorrect, so it’s better to focus on eliminating answer choices than it is to focus on defending answer choices.

4. You can avoid algebra altogether on the SAT Math section when there are variables in the question and numbers in the answer choices. Simply plug in the numbers from the answer choices back into the original algebraic equation to see if the problem works out fine. If the equation works, then you have your answer!

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5. Try to become actively engaged in SAT Reading passages. One of the main reasons that students score poorly on the SAT Reading section is that they are not interested in the passages. When they are not interested, their scores suffer. Become interested in the passages (even if you have to fake it), and your comprehension will increase!

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