SAT test taking experience

My Test Taking Experience of New SAT

This is the test taking experience of New SAT submitted by a SAT taker. You can read other SAT takers’ experience here.

I am a test prep teacher and I wanted to experience the new SAT firsthand, so I took the full test.

MAJOR CHANGES IN THE NEW SAT:

The new SAT has four sections (65 minutes, 35 minutes, 25 minutes, and 55 minutes respectively) and an essay section (optional – 50 minutes). It is now similar to the ACT exam. The old SAT had 10 sections, requiring 25 minutes or less. Thus, the old SAT favored students with short attention spans.

The questions have only four answer choices, instead of five. However, the difficulty level of the questions has not been increased. According to the College Board, the new SAT focuses on skills required to succeed in college, instead of the ability to recall definitions and arcane grammar rules. This is true.

There are fewer questions that require you to choose between answers which are only slightly better than the others. Thus, the exam tests candidates on their knowledge of the content.

READING:

The questions were simpler than those in the old SAT. A new type of question, known as the Command of Evidence, requires you to find proof in the passage that supports your answer to the previous question. So, if you got the previous question wrong, you will get this answer wrong as well.

One strategy to answer such questions is to find the pair of answer choices that matches both questions and fulfils a condition given in the previous question.

WRITING:

This segment was also easier than the old SAT. It tests your ability to write clear and succinct sentences, instead of your recall of obscure grammar rules. A new question type is the placement question, where candidates are required to change the placement of a sentence within a passage in order to make the meaning of the author clearer. Thus, the candidate needs to understand what the author intends to say and organize the content to arrive at a logical meaning.

There were many “No Change” answers than before. The old SAT used “No Error” answer choices as a trap answer. But the new SAT had many correct answers as “No Change,” which made me doubt my answers.

MATH:

The questions were tougher than the old SAT, especially the calculator-permitted segment. The candidate is now required to read a word problem and construct an equation or a set of equations to reflect the written relationship. Thus, your ability to solve equations is less important than your skill at framing equations. It is harder to teach tips and strategies for such question types.

Some questions just test one’s understanding of general concepts. For example,

A survey was conducted among 100 randomly chosen people and the results revealed that 38 people preferred puppies. Which of the following statements is true.
A) 38% of all people prefer dogs
B) If another 100 randomly chosen people are included, 38 will prefer puppies.
C) 38% of all people under the age of 50 prefer cats
D) If another 100 randomly chosen people are included, we don’t know how many will prefer puppies.
Answer: D

A few questions of trigonometry have been included this time. However, you can get a near-perfect score without studying trigonometry at all.

The grid-in section questions were easier than the multiple choice questions.

ESSAY:

The most radical change in the new SAT is the introduction of the passage which the candidates are required to analyze in the form of an essay. Elements to be analyzed are the use of evidence to support arguments, choice of words used to add power to the piece, and development of reasoning to support ideas. Candidates have double the time as before to write the essay.

Instead of agreeing or disagreeing with the author, you are required to analyze how he/she builds his case. Thus, comprehension of the passage is tested along with the ability to write well.

OVERALL:

The new SAT is less difficult than the old SAT. The College Board has released a concordance table, which confirms my findings. How the universities use the new SAT is yet to be seen.

Satabdi is a content writer and editor with degrees in Biology and English. Her interests include education, health and wellness, and books. When not writing, she can usually be found reading in a corner.

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