Tag Archives: SAT

As we draw ever nearer to January 23–the last official administration of the current SAT–anxiety levels are starting to rise. Parents of students in the high school class of 2017 are grappling with all the usual questions along with a brand new one: should my teen even think about taking the new SAT in March, May, or June. The simple answer to this question is easy: NO. The new SAT represents a significant departure in both content and format from the current test. In fact, many of the new question types will be making their first appearance on this year’s PSAT, which means they haven’t been tested to the extent the current SAT or ACT questions have been. That alone is enough to cast doubt on the prospects of a perfect test administration in March, May, or June. Add the operational alterations along with the occasionally inconsistent quality of exam…

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Did you hear that SAT Scores from the graduating class of 2015 were low this year? In fact, total scores in all 3 sections are the lowest they’ve been in decades. Should we panic? Don’t worry… there’s always time to freak out later. For now, let’s tackle the question that’s perplexing the pundits who breathlessly exclaim that SAT Scores Continue Troubling Downward Slide, but No One Knows Exactly Why. I’d like to share three possible reasons:   EXPANDED POOL OF TEST TAKERS Rumors of the SAT’s imminent demise have been slightly, or perhaps prematurely, exaggerated. A record 1.70 million students from the class of 2015 took the SAT. A higher percentage of students than ever were either underrepresented minority students and/or used fee waivers. We should be encouraged, rather than despondent, that the testing pool now includes so many more students that did not traditionally pursue enrollment in four-year colleges…

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The term ‘mulligan’ is well-known (and often well-used) by golfers to describe a do-over in response to a particularly atrocious or unlucky stroke. Mulligan has, over time, become a generic term for a second chance to perform an action marred by misfortune or ineptitude. The option of Score Choice for both SAT and ACT, along with the proliferation of superscoring in college admissions offices, has opened the door to millions of mulligans, where students have no reason NOT to take the test again. But rarely do we see a do-over triggered by the test-maker’s failures. Students who sat for the June 6 SAT know all about how a tiny misprint in a test booklet can cause major test day chaos. The College Board has assured us that the scores from that compromised test will be valid, even with the exclusion of sections 8 and 9. But even if they are,…

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Something every successful test taker must bring to the SAT or ACT–apart from pencils, a calculator, a watch, and acceptable ID–is an imperturbable ability to ignore or overcome all manner of crisis. Whether other test takers are freaking out, proctors are messing up, or wildlife is crashing the party, distractions abound to distract test takers from their best scores. But trained minds can cope with any and all of these external crises. What about when the problem is the test itself? Students taking the SAT this past Saturday were almost finished with their exams when they had to contend with a printing error in the standard test books provided by ETS. The time allotted for the last reading section was incorrectly written as 25 minutes in the student test books but correctly identified as 20 minutes in the script and manual provided to test center supervisors. While the misprint appeared…

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Cell phones… how did we ever live without them? To students who have grown up enjoying the unparalleled convenience of being able to contact anyone or look up any question at any time, the prospect of going without a mobile phone seems utterly horrifying. And yet, as you sit for some of the most important tests of your high school career, your phone cannot help you. In fact, it may hurt you. Obviously–and this should go without saying–you may not use a cell phone during an official administration of the ACT, SAT, or PSAT. — You may not make or receive calls. — You may not send or receive messages. — You may not record or stream audio or video. — You may not even use a phone in place of a calculator. Obvious, cell phones are at the top of the list of prohibited devices for test day. In…

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Have you heard that Khan Academy will be offering free online study program for the new SAT? Of course you’ve heard this, since news outlets are falling over themselves to broadcast what may appear to be an unprecedented level of open access to test material. But free online resources for test prep have been available since before the last revision of the SAT, possibly for as long as we’ve had a functional email system. And what is great about these resources is that they come from straight from the horse’s mouth, as it were. If you are looking for free online prep for the SAT or ACT, start with each testmaker’s Question of the Day.   SAT Question of the Day   ACT Question of the Day   Why is one question a day so valuable? Mainly because these questions truly reflect both the content tested on the exams and…

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