By Scott Shrum
SAT Prep Resources - Reading and Writing
Preparing for SAT Reading can be nerve-wracking for many students across the country each year. A mistake that many make is cramming in a lot of study into a very short period of time. You can prepare far better and be more confident by starting well in advance.
Many people are under the incorrect assumption that in order to improve their SAT Reading score they should read novels and newspapers. You will not find the key to unlocking the SAT Reading section in The New York Times!
Granted, reading the newspaper everyday can improve your critical reading comprehension over time, it won’t yield the quick SAT gains you’re looking for. So unless you have years to prepare for the SAT, drop the newspaper... at least, when it comes to SAT prep
! There is no better way to prepare for the SAT Reading section than to use perfect strategies on authentic SAT questions.
There are two major advantages to practicing with real SAT questions. First, you will become familiar with the format of the questions. Because the structure of the SAT does not change from year to year, you will already be oriented to the test format on exam day and will not waste time reading directions. Second, by practicing on authentic questions, you will know exactly the types of questions to expect on test day. In fact, many practice tests are real SAT exams from past administrations of the SAT, almost identical to what you will see on exam day!
The SAT Reading section is composed of three multiple-choice sections worth a total of 800 points. For each section, you must answer 16 - 25 total questions in 20-25 minutes. This gives you approximately one minute to answer each question. This means that you need to be efficient as you read and critically think about your solutions.
There are two types of SAT Reading questions: Sentence Completions and Passage-Based Reading questions. A Sentence Completion consists of one sentence with a word (or two) missing. You must then select the best word(s) to fill in from the five different options presented. This question type is essentially testing vocabulary. For the Passage-Based Reading portion, you will be presented with a passage and associated questions regarding the content of the passage. Understanding the meaning of sometimes complex passages is key to conquering these questions.
To start your preparation for SAT Reading, have a look at some of the resources below.
SAT Prep Resources - Writing
Many students are under the false impression that “SAT Writing” refers to the “SAT Essay” only. However, the SAT Writing section consists of more than just the SAT Essay. In fact, the SAT Essay only makes up 1/3 of the total SAT Writing score out of 800 points. The other 2/3 of the SAT Writing score come from two grammar multiple-choice sections.
Of course, the SAT Essay is still a very important section of the SAT. It is always the first section of every SAT (the order of other sections may vary). So after you open your test booklet on exam day, the first thing you will have to do is write a 25-minute in-class essay on a topic you’ve never seen before. This can be very intimidating for many students.
Make sure you prepare for the SAT Essay ahead of time so that you don’t start the test on the wrong foot. The SAT is a 4-hour marathon, and if you start out poorly...chances are, you’ll run the whole thing poorly. In order to prepare for the SAT Essay, do lots of timed practice. You need to become comfortable with writing a full two-page essay in 25 minutes. And there’s no better way to learn how to do this than to practice with real SAT Essay prompts.
In addition, SAT Essay prompts are typically broad rather than specific. This means that test writers won’t ask you about a specific book or historical event. But it doesn’t hurt to include academic examples (literature, history, and current events) in your essay in order to write a more polished essay. The beauty of knowing this information now is that you can research different examples to use before your test day. And when you finally take your exam, you will likely be able to apply the examples you know to any general topic presented.
You can prepare for the grammar multiple-choice sections ahead of time as well. Many students incorrectly believe that the SAT can test any grammar error that students have seen in school since 1st grade. But in reality, the SAT only tests a handful of specific grammar rules, and many of them students have never been taught explicitly in their high school English classes! So make sure that you learn the grammar errors that are tested on the SAT, and learn how they can appear in test questions. Not only will you have an advantage over 99% of other SAT test-takers, but you will also get an unbelievably high SAT score! Check out the resources below to start your preparation of the SAT Writing section today.
Miscellaneous Reading and Writing