SAT exam & exam prep overview

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SAT Exam Prep


SAT exam overview[edit | edit source]

  • The SAT exam is owned by the College Board (CB)
    • we will use "CB" here, although the College Board does not refer to itself by the abbreviation)
  • SAT
    • it is no longer an abbreviation (i.e., "S.A.T.")
      • it originally stood for "Scholastic Assessment Test"
      • in 1993 the CB re-branded the test to "SAT" unto itself and not as an abbreviation (i.e., dropping "Scholastic Assessment Test")
      • since the word "aptitude" means "innate ability", College Board was accused of racism, given different SAT score averages by race
  • SAT tests are developed and administered by Educational Testing Service (ETS) under contract from CB
    • SAT accounts for 25% of ETS's functions
    • ETS creates also develops and administers TOEFL ("Test of English as a Foreign Language"), GRE (graduate school admissions), and Praxis (for teachers)
  • note that CB and ETS are non-profits but both engage in aggressive business practices

SAT & standardized college aptitude tests history[edit | edit source]

  • achievement or admissions tests were used by 1870
  • "College Entrance Examination Board," was formed in in 1899 by various colleges/ universities
  • First "Scholastic Aptitude Test" exam administered in 1926
  • the purpose of the SAT was to create a merit-based college admissions metric independent of student grades, school, and demographic
  • originally called the "Scholastic Aptitude Test"
  • subject tests were added in 1937 called "Scholarship Test"
  • in 1993, the names for the tests were changed:
    • "Scholastic Aptitude Test" now the "SAT I: Reasoning Test"
    • "Scholarship Test" now the "SAT II: Subject Test"
    • the entire suite of tests was not called "Scholastic Assessment Tests"
    • the "SAT" was declared to stand for nothing (not an abbreviation)
  • "SAT I" was dropped in 2004
  • the "Reasoning Test" was dropped in 2016
  • see

SAT exam format changes[edit | edit source]

2016 format changes[edit | edit source]

  • in 2014, College Board announced fundamental changes in the SAT test
    • CB claimed it was because the test had "become disconnected from the work of our high schools.”
    • it was also in response rising popularity of the ACT test CB changed core test format
  • starting 2016, the SAT changes included:
    • total score returned to 1600
    • 4 instead of 5 possible answers
    • dropped the 1/4-point penalty for wrong answers
      • the penalty was designed to encourage skipping and penalize random guessing
    • math narrowed to focus on linear equations, equations or functions, rations, percentages and proportional reasoning
    • "critical reading" section changed to "evidence-based" (passage-based) reading excerpts (like the ACT)
    • grammar section changed to "evidence-based" (passage-based) reading excerpts (like the ACT)
    • verbal section vocabulary changed to evidence-based selection and use of more common words
    • essay now optional (thus the total score of 1600 instead of the previous 2400)
    • CB partnered with Khan Academy in order to offer free preparation instruction and practice

2021 change: essay & subject tests dropped[edit | edit source]

  • the College Board dropped the essay (after the June, 2021 test, although it will be offered in some states as per state rules
  • also dropped Subject Tests
    • the official reason for these changes was because of changes in college admissions requirements due to the COVID crisis
    • anecdotally, we can assume it was due to severe drop in revenue as result of the crisis

2023-24 change: shortened digital exam[edit | edit source]

  • College Board announced in February of 2022
    • the SAT and related exams will be administered digitally starting with the International SAT test in 2023
    • the test will still be administered at a school or testing site
    • test will be taken on a laptop provided by CB at testing site
  • Format changes
    • 2 hour exam (approx)
    • Reading section passages to be shortened and with a single question per each
      • likely a short paragraph as was in prior SAT formats
    • Calculators will be allowed on all math questions
    • the test will still score on 1600 point scale
  • CB stated purpose
    • CB says scores and college reports will be quicker
  • Likely purpose: cost savings
    • the digital format will save money for CB
    • the shorter exam will be easer
    • attempt to maintain relevancy for SAT
      • especially while many colleges (such as Univ. California system) are not requiring or even considering SAT scores
    • to complete with ACT
    • CB still struggles with racial deviations in average scores
  • Rollout:
    • Spring 2023 the International SAT will be administered by computer
    • Fall 2023 the PSAT will be administered by computer
    • Spring 2024 the US SAT will be administered by computer
  • see

Preparation & Practice Options[edit | edit source]

  • the College Board published the "Official SAT Practice Book"
    • 2018 edition
      • includes Practice tests 1-8
    • 2021 edition
      • includes Practice tests 1, 3, 4-10
  • Princeton Review
    • started in 1981, now owned by ST Unitas, a Korean Ed-tech company

SAT exam college application requirements[edit | edit source]

SAT exam prep strategies[edit | edit source]

  • "practice" = replication of performance or game-day sitution
    • therefore, "SAT practice" is NOT online
    • online "practice" is "enrichment" not "practice"

SAT enrichment[edit | edit source]

  • enrichment means enhancement, getting better
  • there are many enrichment sites and manuals
    • treat them as enrichment and not practice
  • daily problems, vocabulary, etc. is excellent enrichment
    • but it is not practice
  • above all, ON-LINE "practice" is not practice
    • the test is not on-line: it is sit-down, on-paper
    • therefore, SAT prep that is not sit-down, online, with official practice or released actual tests, using pencil, clock, and bubble sheet IS NOT PRACTICE

SAT practice[edit | edit source]

  • practice is mimicking test-day situation
    • research shows that replication via practice of actual exam situation yields higher actual exam results
  • SAT practice looks like:
    • desk and chair
    • Official SAT practice test in booklet form
      • not one-sided sheets, not online: booklet
    • using pencil and bubble sheet
    • analog clock (could be a computer app)
    • no distractions
    • full-length practice tests
      • can be divided by section, but not less than a section

Benefits of SAT practice[edit | edit source]

  • familiarity with the types of passages and questions
  • developing elimination strategies
  • de-coding the way the test-makers build correct and, more importantly, incorrect answers
  • tome awareness
  • review of responses and understanding why answers are right or wrong
  • identify Easy-Medium-Hard questions and passages
  • increasing accuracy and efficiency with each practice exam
  • bubble sheets use and strategies
  • maintaining focus across full-length practice
    • building resistance to length and getting past boring
    • getting used to test-day situation
    • sitting upright & no distractions
    • use of juice, fruit-bar, or other natural source of glucose (natural sugar) for refreshment between sections as you would on test day
    • practicing breathing, stretching, fidgeting and other refocusing strategies

SAT Verbal[edit | edit source]

SAT Reading[edit | edit source]

  • SAT Reading Section Test Directions:
    • Students are to answer questions based upon:
      • what is stated" in the text or graphs (explicit meanings, textual and direct comprehension)
      • what is "implied" in the text or graphs (implicit meanings, inference, deduction, identification of author purpose and techniques)
  • SAT Reading Test Structure
    • Students have 65 minutes to answer 52 questions
    • Reading test has five readings with 10 or 11 questions each
      • = average 13:00 min per reading passage
      • note: two readings contain 11 questions so may take longer

Go to SAT Reading for more

SAT Writing[edit | edit source]

  • SAT Writing Section Test Directions
    • students are to answer questions based upon:
      • revising text for effective expression of ideas
      • correcting grammatical errors, such as sentence structure, usage, or punctuation
      • interpret graphs and apply to text corrections
    • some questions will refer to an underlined portion of a passage
    • some questions will ask you to consider a portion of a passage or the passage as a whole
    • the correct answer “most effectively improves the quality of writing”
    • correct answers conform to “conventions of standard English”
  • SAT Writing Test Structure
    • students have 35 min. to answer 44 questions
    • test has four readings passages with 11 questions each
      • = average of 8:45 min per passage

Go to SAT Writing for more

SAT Essay[edit | edit source]

  • SAT Essay section cancelled as of June 2021
    • along with SAT subject tests
  • SAT Essay provides valuable practice and skills for rhetorical analysis

Other Resources & Pages[edit | edit source]

SAT Math[edit | edit source]

SAT Math without Calculator[edit | edit source]

SAT Math with Calculator[edit | edit source]