The SAT reasoning test is a standardized test conducted by College Board (a non-profit) and used by colleges in the United States, Canada and other countries for admissions. It measures the writing, analytical and problem solving skills of students to measure their readiness before they apply to college. With a non-homogeneous structure of evaluation across the schools in the US, the SAT supplements their grades, putting student performances in a national perspective and to evaluate them. The College Board defines the SAT as “a measure of the critical thinking skills you will need for academic success in college.”No really, what’s the SAT?
Contrary to popular urban myths, the SAT isn’t so much about aptitude as it is about knowing how to play the game. As a supplement to the GPA and with many merit-based scholarships using it for financial decisions, it is an opportunity to make up for the over 4000 hours of effort you make in high school with as little as 20 hours’ preparations.
Getting a foundation early ensures that you don’t have to cram it all in later. It’s also important to be ready for the SAT before, say, October of your first year at high school because that’s when you’ll take the PSAT. The PSAT can qualify you for a National Merit Scholarship and has become increasingly important to colleges as a supplement to students’ SAT scores. The PSAT is set up the exact same way as the SAT, but with shorter sections and fewer questions. The SAT is a very predictable test. It is divided into three parts:
The structure of the new SAT.
The SAT is scored by converting your “raw score” for the math and verbal sections of the test to a “scaled score” out of 800.
The questions have equal weight, with a correct answer earning one raw point. No points are deducted for incorrect questions. The final score is derived from the raw score; the precise conversion chart varying from each test administration. The total final score will be on 1600 with an additional essay score.
The SAT is offered six times a year in India:
The test is offered on the first Saturday of the month (apart from in March when it is the 2nd saturday). Students receive their online score reports approximately three weeks after test administration with each section graded on a scale of 200–800. n addition to their score, students receive their percentile.
We at AP Guru have put in free guides and tutorials for you to ace the SAT. Please visit our SAT Free Training page.
Last Wednesday, you were probably sitting at home when you suddenly heard a strange sound coming from outside. Upon a closer look, you realised that it was raining. The monsoons had arrived! Not only you do you love the idea of getting pummelled by thousands of heavy droplets crashing onto you from the sky above, but you also really enjoy muddying your books while stomping through the newly and increasingly verdant forests and hill stations during treks. You immediately get on the phone and call up your friends. Soon enough, a plan is set for a few weekends from now. Your excitement, however, is tempered by one barrier. Your parents.
You sit down with them and mention that you want to go on a trek. You look at your mom, who spouts a long soliloquy about the dangers of such adventures. You will get sick. You will get lost. You will get hurt. You will have no mobile network. You will blah blah blah. Then, you look at your dad, who provides a completely different perspective. You will get exercise. You will experience nature. You will build character. You will spend time with your friends in an active, constructive way. You will blah blah blah.
You leave your parents to discuss among themselves and you ring up your friend. She asks what your parents said. And suddenly, you don’t really remember. ‘My mom said...wait, no, that was my dad.’ By the end, you are completely off course. ‘You know, I think they’re okay with it. No problems.’ You have mixed and mingled and mangled what your parents had said, taking two differing viewpoints on the same topic and confusing them. This folly will come back to hurt you when your parents say no right before you leave for your weekend trek.
You have just faced (and failed) a real-life version of the Dual Passage (DP) questions on the SAT. The skills tested here are so important that it’s actually surprising that more exams do not test you on this (the only other one is the LSAT, which prepares people to become lawyers!). You need to be able to read and understand two different perspectives and answer questions that both compare and contrast them. Because of this, the DP questions on the SAT are considered some of the hardest for test-takers.
Before we get into some strategies to help you effectually tackle these questions, let’s first understand what these passages will look like:
Now, the reason that you messed up in properly transferring your parents’ individual monologues to your friend is simple. You listened to both of them first, and then talked to your friend. Imagine how much more accurate you would have been if you had done the following: 1) Listen to your mom while your dad is not home; 2) Tell your friend her perspective; 3) Listen to your dad later when your mom is not around; 4) Tell your friend his perspective; 5) Tell your friend how they are similar and different. Doing this would have ensured that you and your friend could have come up with a plan to guarantee a victory for your dad’s position. And you would then have been on your way to the jungle for a wet and muddy adventure with your friends.
This technique translates perfectly to the Dual Passages on the SAT. Here are some tips that may help you master these questions on the exam:
Follow these tips, and you will have a much better chance of succeeding on the Dual Passages. Most importantly, remember to jump back and forth, doing everything related to Passage 1 before doing everything related to Passage 2. Save the Comparative Questions for the end after you’ve reviewed the Main Ideas you had written. Attacking these passages in such a piece-by-piece method will help you avoid confusion and thus ace the questions on test day.
And soon enough, you’ll be on your way to soak up the monsoons in the nearby jungle...just get some studying done beforehand.
(p.s. – I will, from here on out, highlight difficult words to encourage you to continue to build your vocabulary. Write them down and determine their definitions based on context.)
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