Information on the New SAT for parents and students: Our Personal SAT tutor Sarah Rainsberger will work with you one on one at your own pace to study and prepare properly for this test. The better score you receive the more it will increase your chances of obtaining athletic or academic assistance.
The new SAT has been created in response to requests from colleges and universities who worried that the old SAT didn't properly evaluate the critical skills of writing and mathematics. The older versions (and there have been many!) of the SAT attempted to measure logic and reasoning skills, but were never intended to measure specific content areas. In fact, original versions of the SAT intentionally stated math questions in plain English, without any math-specific vocabulary or jargon, so that even students who hadn't learned specific concepts in school could "reason" their way through the questions. The new SAT will be much more of a "content-based" test, requiring a good grounding in three years' worth of high school Mathematics and English.
Is this change good news or bad news? Well, it means that the SAT is easier to prepare for. Although there is more specific math and grammar knowledge required for this test, it is content that is easily learned. For students who are willing to go through the effort of preparing effectively, there is the possibility of "learning everything" that will be on the test. This was not the case before, when even the strongest students struggled with extremely difficult vocabulary words or complex analogies. This means that preparation for the new SAT depends more heavily on learning specific content now more than ever before. The good news is that this is content that most schools should already be teaching: algebra, grammar, reading and writing skills. SAT prep used to be very different from a typical high school curriculum. Now, studying for the new SAT more closely resembles studying for your regular English and Mathematics classes.
Specific preparation is still important for success on the SAT, however, as the nature of the SAT test is still "tricky." Unlike the ACT (the other standardized university entrance Test) which asks several straightforward questions, the SAT asks fewer, but "trickier" questions. Understanding test-taking strategies is still very important for doing well on the SAT because many questions are meant to mislead you or catch you in a moment of inattentiveness.
Previously, the SAT was composed of two sections: Mathematical Reasoning and Verbal Reasoning. The new SAT contains a third section, Writing. This Writing section requires students to write a short (25 minute) essay as well as answer multiple choice questions concerning grammar, style and other writing techniques. The new Mathematics section will contain a few more advanced mathematical topics than the old SAT and will no longer contain "quantitative comparison" questions. The new Critical Reading section (which replaces the old Verbal section) will contain only multiple choice sentence completion ("fill in the blank with the proper vocabulary word") questions and multiple choice questions based on a variety of reading passages. The new SAT no longer contains the "analogies" questions, but instead contains more reading passages.
One important factor to keep in mind is that Mathematics now only accounts for one-third (not one-half) of the total test score. All sections are equally weighted and given a mark out of 800 points, making a new SAT score out of 2400. This is good news for some, but unhappy news for others. Many students are stronger in one area than the other, but the equal weighting of the Math and Verbal portions generally evened out the playing field in previous years. With an emphasis on language skills, including writing and very specific grammar usage, students who are stronger in mathematics will only have one section out of three in which to demonstrate their strength. Fortunately, just like mathematical formulas, grammar can be taught systematically and logically, and students who are willing to put forth an effort in this area can certainly achieve success.