March 2016 (credit: abcnews.com, inc.com)
Things to know about the new SAT exam (Revised SAT or rSAT)
SOME EARLY REVIEWSBrian Keyes, a junior at Woodrow Wilson High School in the nation's capital, says he really didn't mind the new SAT.
"There aren't as many questions where it's trying to trick you ... It was much more straightforward," he said
For math, he said, "the new version was a lot more like basic concepts, so it wouldn't be very obscure formulas that you have to remember. If you had the basics of algebra down, even if the problem was difficult, you could work your way through it."
Said classmate Isabel Suarez: "I liked it better than the old one. I thought that it was way more applicable to what we've been learning in school. The English was a lot easier for me than it was with the old one."
Isabel, a junior, said the math was a little harder. "It was more algebra based, but I think I was able to perform a lot better on it than the old one because it was stuff that I actually learned in school."
In fact, Suarez, who likes to write, said she enjoyed the reading section. "My AP English class definitely really prepared me for it. I honestly enjoyed the grammar part because I like to pick out problems in writing. It was pretty fun actually."
The exam was administered Wednesday, 2 March 2016, at Wilson and other District of Columbia high schools and at schools in more than a dozen states as part of SAT School Day.
THE NEW STUFFThe new SAT continues to test reading, writing and math, with an emphasis on analysis. Gone: some of those obscure vocabulary words like "lachrymose" that left kids memorizing flash cards for endless hours. Test-takers will instead see more widely known words used in the classroom. Students will have to demonstrate their ability to determine meaning in different contexts.
Go ahead, take a guess. Test-takers no longer will be penalized for wrong answers.
In math, students will see more algebra and problem solving, instead of testing a wide range of math concepts. But use of calculators is limited to certain questions.
Overall, there are fewer questions — 154 on the new test plus one for the essay, compared to 171 on the old version.
Students will have a choice about whether to write the essay.
A perfect score goes back to 1,600 with a separate score for the essay.
1. SAT General Strategy
Follow the 1,000 question rule. To excel, practice with 1,000 SAT questions. You should also review those 1,000 SAT questions because just as as the practice itself is understanding why you got certain questions wrong and what you can do the next time to make sure you don't get similar problems wrong.The College Board only has a limited number of concepts and question types it can ask on the SAT. If you practice and review 1,000 questions, you will be sufficiently prepared for test day.
2. SAT Math StrategyRemember SAT: Substitute Abstracts (with) Tangibles. To avoid doing algebra on the SAT, create your own numbers (tangibles) to plug in for variables (abstracts).
This strategy is applicable to algebra, geometry, proportions, etc. Our minds prefer working with tangibles (numbers) over abstracts (variables). The number 2 is often a simple and easy number to plug in.
3. SAT Reading StrategyWatch out for extreme language. Extreme answer choices are typically incorrect on the SAT Reading test because test question writers must be able to defend why correct answers are in fact correct. Answer choices with milder language are easier to defend than answer choices with extreme language. Here are some examples of extreme language:
- throughout history
- throughout the ages
Answer choices that include the words and phrases above are generally - not always, but generally - incorrect.
4. SAT Writing StrategyWatch out for "99% wrong words and phrases." There are certain words and phrases that are almost always (99% of the time) incorrect on the SAT grammar section, including:
- for the reason
- is because
- is the reason why
- is why
The above are typically incorrect because they create passive voice or redundancy issues.
Although the essay section is technically optional, many competitive colleges will require students to
submit their new SAT score with the essay. The New SAT requires students to write an analysis essay
based on an argumentative passage that they read.
5. SAT Essay Strategy
To have a competitive advantage over other students on the SAT Essay, use the acronym CREW SAID to recall eight common argumentative tools that authors use to support their arguments. By analyzing the SAT Essay passage using CREW SAID, you take a lot of the guesswork out of determining how to build your argument on test day.
C - Contrast: when an author highlights differences between two items
R - Repercussions: when an author points out the far-reaching consequences of his/her argument
E - Emotion: when an author attempts to make an emotional appeal to the reader
W - Word Choice: when an author purposefully uses certain language in order to build his or her argument
S - Similarity: when an author highlights similarities between two items
A - Authority: when an author cites an expert or influencer to add clout to his or argument
I - Imagery: when an author paints a picture using words
D - Data: when an author uses statistics or numerical evidence
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