My New SAT Test Day Experience
This is the test taking experience of New SAT submitted by a SAT taker. You can read other SAT takers’ experience here.
To score well on the new SAT, you need to devote 5-10 hours per week for at least 6 months. Attempt all the old question papers, the practice tests of the new pattern, and the English portion of AP.
TIPS FOR READING:
1) Build reading speed and skills.
You need to learn to read a passage to locate the central idea, understand the tone of the piece, and create a mental picture of the important details. Good reading requires experience and skill. You could read the New York Times every day, as per popular advice, or you could read SAT passages and Charles Dickens. In the context of the new SAT, the old passages are quite important. Now, reading literary works of the 1800s is helpful to get a high score. Although it is faster and more efficient to attempt practice tests, it is always good to read challenging pieces of literature. You need to learn to focus when reading and read to execute tasks.
2) Build your vocabulary.
As a teenager, my interest in vocabulary helped me get a high SAT score in high school. I read books like 30 Days to a More Powerful Vocabulary, which had interactive quizzes, gave the context in which the word was used, and the etymology of the word. Other good books are 6 Weeks to Words of Power, Word Power Made Easy, and Verbal Advantage. I find these books more engaging than the SAT vocabulary books released by Kaplan and Princeton.
I do not like printed flash cards but I recommend hand-written flash cards. In high school, I made a flash card for every word I did not know and reviewed them often. A trick to developing a wide vocabulary is to use mnemonics.
Even on the new SAT, the passages may have tough vocabulary and you should be able to understand them to get a high score.
3) Become familiar with the personality of the test.
You can learn about the SAT by reading what people with perfect SAT scores have to say about the trends and question types. Books, blogs, and other resources from experienced SAT tutors provide better advice than Princeton Review or Kaplan.
Look at the wrong answers and analyze why they are wrong. Formulate your own rules about better answers. What works for one question type may not work for others. You may not need a tutor to help you get the perfect score, but it will require you to spend more time conducting research.
4) Keep practicing.
Exhaust all the resources you can find: multiple choice questions from previous new SAT tests, apps like question a day, Khan Academy, old SAT test, AP Language and Composition sections, AP Literature and Composition sections. Except for the poems and plays, the questions on the AP tests are more similar to the ones on the new SAT.
Instead of reading from a screen, use printed resources because they will help you read faster.
WRITING AND LANGUAGE (MULTIPLE CHOICE QUESTIONS):
The grammar questions are now included in the reading score as part of the writing and language segment. The challenge lies in the fact that you need to know all the grammar rules as well as transitions, paragraph development, structure, and writing consistency.
1) Know all the grammar rules.
New SAT or old SAT, grammar rules remain the same. Faulty comparisons, subject verb agreement, idioms, and pronoun agreement are still relevant. The new SAT lays greater emphasis on style, composition, and writing, but you need to know your grammar. Thus, the old SAT questions can still help you practice, apart from the new SAT grammar books.
2) Understand rhetorical strategy and style.
The Elements of Style by Strunk and White is a must read to know what good sentences are like. Understanding the context is important to find proof of the correct answer. You should not guess the correct answer. You should be able to narrow the choices down using grammar rules.
ACT passages can be used to practice questions like keeping of information and omission. However, ACT is not as particular as SAT in some areas.
3) Don’t forget about context.
Candidates should understand the context of a sentence or how the sentence works in a paragraph to answer questions correctly. A context question is not a grammar question.
4) See what the question asks.
Some questions in this segment ask you to read a chart or a graph. Not every question is a grammar question. Read each word carefully to understand what the question asks.