The New SAT
So, many of you are studying away for the March 5th administration of the New SAT, while many others have decided to punt the SAT and focus on the old SAT, which has one more date as a make-up on February 20th, or to just take the ACT. Many private schools’ counselors, wary of the change and unfamiliar with the new scale, took a bold stand to advise all the students against the new SAT and stick to the ACT. Well, this might not actually be the best advice for many students.
From what I have been doing with the NEW SAT, I actually think the test is a tad more manageable than the current ACT. The idea of embedding all the charts and graphs into the reading, writing, and math sections of the SAT, rather than have a specific dedicated section to it, is rather genius. For it makes the reading, writing, and math a bit easier to score a whole bunch of questions correctly. I have found from my students the scores on the NEW SAT quite better than on the practice on the ACT. The volume of questions on the NEW SAT is less overall, and the ability to do well seems to be easier.
I find the test to be quite manageable for high level math students as the volume of questions primarily 10th and 11th grade is significant, far more so than the current ACT, actually. What I feel so far from working with the test and the students is: even those with extended time are able to do quite well, on average. What I find very difficult for the students is: the essay. The essay is reminiscent of the essays required on the GMAT and GRE tests. The essay takes quite a bit of skill to do well. The essay, as with the ACT, is optional.
However, as many know, the ACT also changed its essay rubric and format to match the SAT’s format. The new ACT Essay is not so crazy different but how it is scored is very complicated, and thus far, the results of the new Essay have not been so stellar. ACT is supposedly working to refine this process to make the essay scoring less cumbersome and more effective. For now, I am advising not to take the essay portion. It is also optional, but the option is not really the test taker’s choice, it is the colleges’, the student wants to apply to, choice. Traditionally, large state college and university systems do not require the essay, but there are several of the elite 80 schools that do require the essay. Private secondary schools, as a rule, usually ask the students to take the essay to give the counselors more options for college choices. I am not a huge proponent in testing just to test, or to do something for which the student will never have to use….so I try to carefully discern the college options we are thinking about before recommending the test with essay.
And now, since the Essay on both of the tests is quite challenging to learn, I do not take this recommendation lightly. I have two students currently, for whom mastering the essay has been rather simply, but I have two others for whom it is just like swimming in glue! This is a choice which can be fleshed out rather easily during a consulting session. If you are just now beginning this thought process and want some guidance, you can book an affordable one session and have as many of your questions about the process and timeline answered.
One more excellent reason to embrace the NEW SAT is that NOW the SAT will have two summer administrations! Yes, finally! A return to a summer test date. This year the SAT will be administered in June as is traditional but also in August! Right, so for those students truly bogged down with sports, APs, Exams, Subject tests, etc., there is an option to take your Subject tests in May or June and then the SAT again in August! How fantastic is this? Especially for the rising seniors, so the summer plan would be to do whatever vacation you have or work or volunteer or travel in late June and July, and dedicate the entire month of August to college preparation. The applications do not become available until August, so you can stay home, dedicate August to getting that SAT going again, do your essays, complete your applications, finalize your resumes, and take a test. If necessary you can take October and STILL MAKE IT TO EARLY DECISION Deadline!!! Yes! This is truly fantastic news.
So those juniors making summer plans now, consider this option seriously. Need some guidance, contact us. For this is too good a deal to pass up.
I consider the NEW SAT to have an easier reading format than before. It has the same volume of passages, but the one section is a bonus, and two are about science and use charts and graphs. These passages have the easiest types of questions and a great option for a high volume of correct questions. The two narrative passages, one fictional, and one typically historical, are more difficult in terms of types of questions and the readings, but you can skip around the section and do the easier passages first. The dual passage has fewer questions than the current SAT, and the questions do not seem insurmountable. I feel the reading on the NEW SAT is better, takes less time, and more manageable in terms of the volume of questions to get correct than the current SAT version.
I think the math sections on the NEW SAT require far more diligence and acumen than the current SAT, but are not as complicated as they could be, but many do require more than two steps to get the question correct.
The Writing and Language Skills section on the SAT is not easy by any means, but is far less cumbersome than the English Test of the ACT. It is far less time and far fewer questions. However, the questions are mostly the rhetoric, style, and punctuation questions, which are the bane of most students on the ACT. In general, I have been using several different preparation books to study this new test, and I find the tips and exercises, as well as the text, in Kaplan’s Premier Study book quite effective and easy for most students to manage, albeit the size of the book is very intimidating! I have found some typos and errors in some other books, which is always disappointing and frustrating for the students, but I have a good feeling that this test will take off, and most colleges, as well as high schools will find this test to be a fair representation of college bound students. That being said, I anticipate that the preparation books and tools will only get better and more accurate.
So, I would not deter ANYONE from taking this new test. I think it is far more student friendly than any past formats, and I do feel it actually tests material high school students, who are college bound, should be able to master. Happy to help any with the test preparation…check out our options. Average score improvements are 250-300 when starting from the average score of 1030-1160!