Initial Thoughts on the New SAT

June 30, 2014 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured, SAT Watch

Back in late March, I was quoted in the award-winning student newspaper, Redwood Bark, as part of a featured article by Chloe Wintersteen on the recently announced changes to the SAT.┬á Chloe does a very nice job of summarizing the changes to the test and some of the issues regarding the College Board’s collaboration with Khan Academy. I highly recommend this article to anybody interested in learning more.

Additionally, I have included below my extended comments to Chloe, which obviously didn’t all make the article.

________

Hi Chloe,

Thanks very much for contacting me. Happy to answer your questions. Please see below:

-Are you in favor of the changes or against them and why?

Some of the changes planned for the SAT are positive developments. Eliminating the guessing penalty, an anachronistic and counterproductive feature, is long overdue. Shortening the multiple-choice sections is also welcome, as the current long-form format emphasizes raw mental endurance over true knowledge and reasoning.

For many of the changes, however, it is simply too early to tell. Other than a broad outline of the content, the College Board really hasn’t been very specific about what actually is going to change. (I’m not sure they actually know all of it themselves at this point, as the President of the College Board has said that the development is still a work in progress.) Eliminating grammar multiple-choice questions, streamlining the math topics, emphasizing evidence in passage reading, dumbing down the vocabulary, and lengthening the essay all sound interesting in theory, but just how well these modifications play out in practice remains to be seen.

-Khan Academy will be offering free test preparation to all students. How will this effect Marin SAT Prep? Will you’re job still be relevant after the changes have been implemented? Why? (ed. Bless your heart, Chloe. ­čśë )

I applaud Khan Academy for its efforts in continuing to provide free SAT materials online over the last five or so years as well as now in its official association with the College Board. It’s important that students have as much access to information about these tests as possible. Indeed, we at Marin SAT Prep have a long shown our commitment to that goal by making our training materials available online for anyone to use at SATUnlocked.com. It’s also the reason for many years I have published my ‘SAT Tutor’s Blog’ (sat-tutors-blog.com) which provides a wealth of free training and advice.

With that said, I believe the statements by President of the College Board that its association with Khan Academy will somehow reduce or eliminate the need for test prep services is both hubristic and hyperbolic (two vocabulary words that you probably won’t see on the new SAT).

Currently, Khan Academy provides videos of the answers to questions in the Official SAT Study Guide, a practice we can assume will continue, yet just how much more in terms of an actual, comprehensive training program Khan Academy can provide remains a big, unanswered question. Even assuming its new test prep program provides a half-way decent training curriculum, the reality is that web videos simply cannot take the place of an actual person sitting down one-on-one with you to train you thoroughly over multiple weeks on every aspect of the test. Indeed, with all the SAT web videos already available, both at Khan Academy and many other places, why is the demand for private test prep tutoring greater than ever?

Moreover, as good as any website may be, it will have a hard time helping you with your test anxiety, planning your test prep calendar over multiple tests, tailoring your homework to your individual needs, encouraging you and building your confidence, and doing all the other holistic things that a live person can.

Remember too that because of its official association with the College Board, Khan Academy is significantly hampered in its ability to actually help you. Simply put, the people who write the test are not going to tell you how to beat it. Certainly, Khan Academy, in its new official role, can never advise you on aspects of test prep that do not actively promote the SAT, such as something as simple as whether the ACT may actually be a better test for you.

-How will the changes effect how you prepare students for the test?

Obviously, we are going to have to wait to see more details on the content of the new SAT, but in terms of our overall approach, which has been extremely successful for many years, we do not anticipate too many changes. In terms of curriculum, we may find ourselves spending a little less time on a multitude of math topics and spending more time on the essay as well as training students to spot evidence in the reading passages, but with all of the changes, we will still continue our student-centered approach that tailors our comprehensive training to the student’s specific needs.

-Some believe the changes are simplifying the SAT too much. Do you agree or disagree?

Too early to say for the most part. I do think it is a shame that the new SAT will eliminate arcane and esoteric vocabulary words, which I personally think are important in preserving the fullness and richness of the English language. Generally, the focus of the College Board in designing this new SAT appears to be on identifying students with aptitude towards graduate level professional studies, where business vocabulary, evidence spotting, and ratio-based math skills are quite useful, rather than on identifying students with creative and “out-of-the-box” reasoning skills who would perform well in undergraduate humanities courses, which the current SAT is actually quite good at doing.

-Any other comments?

We at Marin SAT Prep believe the changes to the SAT are a great opportunity for us. We are already planning our new training curriculum and materials, and our goal, as it always has been, is to be able to provide the absolute best test prep program available anywhere for students preparing for the SAT.

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College Test Prep 101: How to Plan for the SAT and ACT

October 19, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured, video

Video presentation by Adam Piacente of Marin SAT Prep at the Belvedere-Tiburon Library on April 17, 2013.

Topics:

  • How important are these tests?
  • Which test(s) to take
  • When to take the test(s)
  • Preparing for the tests
    • When to start preparing
    • Which books
    • What to look for in a test prep program
  • Registering for the tests
    • When to register
    • How to register
    • How not to register
  • Extra Time & Accommodations
    • Applying
    • Worth It?
  • Getting ready for test day
    • What to Bring
    • Do NOT Bring
    • Night Before
    • Morning Before
    • At Test
    • During Test
    • After Test
  • Understanding your scores
    • When do I get my scores back?
    • What is a good score?
  • Submitting scores to colleges
    • When to submit scores
    • Which scores to submit
  • SAT Subject Tests
    • What are they?
    • When to take?
    • How many?
    • Which ones?
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2013-14 SAT Practice Test Score Conversion Tables

October 18, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured, Scores & More

Here are the raw to scaled multiple choice and essay score conversion tables for the 2013-14 Official SAT Practice Test.

In addition to listing the straight conversion tables for the multiple choice sections (the first table), I have also added the raw score point percentages for each scaled score. For instance, to get a scaled score of 600 on the Critical Reading subject for this test, you need 46 raw score points. With 67 total raw score points available on Critical Reading, a raw score of 46 translates into 69% (46/67) of the total points available.

For more on how your raw score is determined for each subject, see here.

Please note:

  • Not all tests use exactly the same scale. Depending on the difficulty of each test, some scaled scores may be slightly higher or lower for the same number of incorrect answers. For more on this, see the discussion in the comments here.

2013-14 SAT score conversion table 2013-14 essay score conversion table

Here is my own score Essay Score Differential table which helps you understand the specific amount each of the various essay scores changes your Writing multiple choice score.

2013-14 essay score differential table

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SAT Math: Triangle Sides and Angles (part 1)

Here are the basic SAT triangle side and angle rules you need to know, along with two example questions from SAT Unlocked II.

Answers in the comments.

Part 2

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SAT Unlocked II (vocab edition) now on sale

August 9, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Featured, SAT Unlocked

Buy SAT Unlocked

Unlock Your SAT Potential!

SAT Unlocked II is a complete SAT training system that guides you step-by-step through all of the subjects tested on the SAT Reasoning Test (SAT I).

Developed over years of SAT tutoring with hundreds of individual students, SAT Unlocked II is a highly effective test prep system specifically designed to unlock your SAT potential. SAT Unlocked is also chock full of examples, test taking strategies, tips and tricks to give you the extra edge you need to succeed on this all-important test.

For more and to purchase SAT Unlocked II, click here.

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June 2013 SAT scores now online

The College Board releases scores for the June 1, 2013 SAT today.

To access your SAT score report via the College Board website, click here.

If you have problems accessing your scores, contact the College Board directly by clicking here.

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May 2013 SAT scores now online

The College Board releases scores for the May 4, 2013 SAT today.

To access your SAT score report via the College Board website, click here.

If you have problems accessing your scores, contact the College Board directly by clicking here.

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June 2013 SAT Late Registration/Changes Deadline Today

May 17, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Registration and Reporting

Today  is the final day for US students to register for the June 1, 2013 SAT and SAT II Subject tests (late fees apply)

Today is also the last day to make changes to a previous registration.

To register online via the College Board website, click here.

For the full SAT calendar, click here.

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May 2013 SAT Late Registration/Changes Deadline Today

April 19, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Registration and Reporting

Today  is the final day for US students to register for the May 4, 2013 SAT and SAT II Subject tests (late fees apply)

Today is also the last day to make changes to a previous registration.

To register online via the College Board website, click here.

For the full SAT calendar, click here.

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May 2013 SAT Registration Deadline Today

April 5, 2013 by  
Filed under All Posts, Registration and Reporting

Today is the final day for US students to register for the May 4, 2013 SAT and SAT II Subject tests without having to pay a late fee (i.e., regular registration). The final day for US students to register is April 19 (with late fee).

To register online via the College Board website, click here.

For the full SAT calendar and list of fees, click here.

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