Get Ready for the SAT
To get ready for the SAT, it is important to know what the test is about, what it is expected of you and familiarize yourself with the test format. Having all your study materials ready and handy at the beginning will also greatly facilitate your revision. Aim high at improving both your SAT score and your English at the same time.
Predictor of your college success
If you plan to study in a college in the US, taking the SAT is a must. The SAT serves to provide an effective predictor of your college success, as with GMAT of your MBA success. The SAT, also called the SAT Reasoning Test, measures critical thinking, analyzing and problem-solving skills learned in the high school that are required in college. So, it assesses what you learned in the high school, suggesting the best way to get ready for it is to study hard in school. True as it is, now that you are about to take the SAT, you will still certainly benefit from familiarizing with the test format. Looking at it the other way around, since the SAT effectively assesses how well those skills of yours are, if you prepare well using the SAT exercises, you should be able to improve those skills and, hence, score high.
The test format
The SAT measures your critical thinking, analyzing and problem-solving skills through writing, reading and math. Each section accounts for 800 scores of the SAT. The test always begins with the essay, followed by other sub-sections at random:
A test of more than grammatical accuracy
The focus of this column will be on the 2 language sections – writing and reading.
The writing section is nicely structured with buildable inter-woven sub-sections from analyzing grammatical structures within a sentence, then going beyond the sentence level to the wider context of paragraphs and writing the whole essay:
Identifying sentence errors→Improving sentences→ Improving paragraphs→ Writing an essay
Students should learn to appreciate the close relationship between these sub-sections and gain the positive feedback effect that while you are improving your performance on one sub-sections, you are improving others.
The reading section is composed of “sentence completion” and “passage-based reading”. The former is essentially a vocabulary test while the latter assesses how well students use reasoning and inferencing skills to comprehend what is stated or implied in the context of the passage.
Besides “identifying sentence errors” and “sentence completion”, it is clear that the SAT, like other well-established language tests such as IELTS and TOEFL, is more interested in effective communication rather than grammatical accuracy. The SAT requires students to recognize not only grammatically correct sentence composition but also, more importantly, how sentences, paragraphs and essays can be written, organized and developed in a logical and coherent manner to achieve effective communication. Hence, students should not concentrate solely on grammatical accuracy; adopting “Context Approach” which emphasizes appropriateness to context and the logical nature of language is as crucial.
The rich official resources
Official exercises published by the College Board of the SAT are the most reliable resources for your practice of the SAT. The questions are set with the same stringent standard of the real SAT tests. The following materials provide a sufficient pool of reliable exercises for your preparation of the SAT. An attractive plus of the online practices is that they generate immediate online score reports and essay scoring.
- Exercise book (with 10 official tests): The Official SAT Study Guide: Second Edition.
- Online tests (with 10 official tests): The Official SAT Online Course
- “Practice and Review”, “Full Practice Test” and “Skills Insight”at http://sat.collegeboard.org/practice/
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(Next Tue: Identifying sentence errors)