All You Need To Know About SAT: Part 6

Written by: Helen Donohoe


***Helen Donohoe, M.S.Ed., is a teacher of English and French in the Hamilton/Burlington area. She holds practice SAT sessions on Saturdays on an informal, drop-in basis at Cedar Springs Racquet Club where she is a member, long-time tennis hacker and aficionado.

In this section of the website we will be publishing short paragraphs on various aspects of SAT. Please leave your questions/comments here, and Helen will be happy to respond to any specific concerns from students/parents***



Last week I outlined skills you require to gain fluency in reading and to acquire the rhythm of reading that you need to be able to understand the meaning of a sentence/paragraph.

This week the topic is phonics – it sounds like what you did in the primary grades but it is an essential skill in the reading process as you prepare for the SAT. Phonics means sounding out the sections – syllables – of long words and deciding where to put the stress on the word.


1.       vacillate ( means to keep changing your mind between two choices)

va/si/late  The stress is on the first syllable. Some students pronounce this word incorrectly as vakillate.

Remember the rule for the letter “c” followed by a vowel:

c followed by a is hard, as in cat, caution

c followed by e is soft, as in ice, certain

c followed by i is soft, as in circle, citrus

c followed by o is hard, as in copy, costume

c followed by u is hard, as in cut, current

c followed by y is soft, as in cyclone, cynical

Apply this rule when sounding out new words. It works!

2.       loquacious (a loquacious person is one who talks a great deal) The word is broken up like this:

lo/kway/shous   The stress is on the second syllable.

3.       magnanimity (means great generosity of spirit)

mag/na/ni/mity  The stress is on the third  syllable.

  • Practise words like these with a friend or family member. Remember that SAT is conducted in silence. You have to practise phonics and reading skills aloud long before the test.

Book of the week “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens. A short, easy-to-read novel.

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The two most widely reported second serve statistics in professional tennis are the number of double faults a player hit, and their second serve winning percentage. If we’re trying to understand the effectiveness of a particular player’s second serve, relying only on those statistics has significant drawbacks. Article by Michal Kokta.

Yves Boulais: No Excuses… Get Working

Yves was proud to work with players including Greg Rudsedski, Patricia Hy, Oliver Marach, Eugenie Bouchard and Rebecca Marino, who achieved excellent results on the world stage. He was an Olympic Coach in Barcelona 1992 & Atlanta 1996, and Captain of the Canadian FedCup Team 1998 – 2000.

Update on UK Tennis Situation with Master Louis Cayer

I would like to share a mindset I instil in all the players I coach, one I believe has greatly influenced all of the player’s performances; “whatever happens, I can handle it.” This mindset is achieved through a systematic, tactical development process, so that whoever the opponent, whatever the surface, regardless of the environment, or scoring, the players can, and will rise to the challenge as it is presented.