Top 10 Reasons The New SAT Will Still Be Tough

March 26th, 2014
Top 10 Reasons The New SAT Will Still Be Tough

The College Board recently announced that the 2016 SAT will have several important changes. While on the surface some of these changes may seem to make the test “easier,” here are some reasons why you’ll still need to practice, practice, practice.

10. You may have heard that the College Board is changing the SAT to get rid of obscure “SAT words” and thought that meant you could throw away all your flash cards. Think again! There’s no magic list of words that won’t be tested, and they will still test on words that will come up repeatedly in college work, such as “empirical,” or “synthesis.”

9. Along the same lines, each SAT will feature historical documents for your analysis, such as letters by Martin Luther King Jr. and the Declaration of Independence. Do you know what “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes'” means? That’s a direct quote from the Declaration of Independence, which also features vocabulary such as “endowed,” “usurpations,” and “arbitrary.”

8. The penalty for wrong answers may be gone, but you’ll still need to focus and manage your time wisely to get as many questions right as you can.

7. The days of finding the answer for a reading comp passage right in the text are potentially gone. Instead, questions will feature graphs and additional information you’ll need to use to analyze an issue and come to a conclusion for your answer.

6. There will be more diverse reading passages from different subjects, including more of a focus on science, that are designed to reflect college-level work.

5. The math section will involve multiple steps to find a solution, and the questions will be presented in real world contexts. Get ready for a whole lot of word problem practice!

4. The College Board announcement stated that the new exam will focus on three main areas in the math section: Problem Solving/Data Analysis, Passport to Advanced Math, and the Heart of Algebra. If that doesn’t sound very straightforward, you’re probably right! The test preparers want to see your familiarity with subjects such as ratios, percentages, proportions, linear equations and systems, and complex equations.

3. The Writing portion has been replaced by the new Essay section, which is designed to mimic a college-level writing assignment. You’ll need to analyze the text, come up with an argument, and support with evidence from the passage using clear, persuasive sentences. The essay is currently optional, but some schools may require it.

2. On the bright side, one change that won’t make the exam harder in and of itself is that it is now offered digitally as well as on paper. However, even if you’re more comfortable taking an exam on your computer, you’ll have to make the judgment call of whether it’s worth the risk of tech issues.

1. It’s still the SAT! It’s a 4+ hour long exam, with math problems, reading comprehension, ands writing that is a large part of your college application process. None of the new changes change the fact that you’ll need to work hard and practice to get your best score.

Free AP Diagnostic Test

March 14th, 2013


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For those of you that don’t know, AP stands for Advanced Placement – a program in the United States created by the College Board offering college-level curriculum and examinations to high school students. American colleges often grant placement and course credit to students who obtain high scores above a certain number on the examinations. The AP curriculum for the various subjects is created for the College Board by a panel of experts and college-level educators in each subject. For a high school course to have the AP designation, the course must be audited by the College Board to ascertain it satisfies the AP curriculum.

Some colleges use AP test scores to exempt students from introductory coursework. Each college’s policy is different, but most require a minimum score of 3 or 4 to receive college credit. Typically this appears as a “CR” grade on the college transcript, although some colleges and universities will award an A grade for a 5 score.

Grading the AP exam is a long and complicated process. The multiple choice component of the exam is scored by computer, while the free response and essay portions are scored by trained Readers at the AP Reading each June. The scores on various components are weighted and combined into a raw Composite Score. The Chief Reader for each exam then decides on the grade cutoffs for that year’s exam, which determine how the Composite Scores are converted into the final grades. During the process a number of reviews and statistical analyses are performed to ensure that the grading is reliable. The overall goal is for the grades to reflect an absolute scale of performance which can be compared from year to year.