Donna Cox
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 What's the deal on the "new" SAT? 

 SAT and ACT: What's the difference? 
Which is better for my child? 

Thank You, CTG!
(Notes from our students)

 What's the deal on the "new" SAT? 

The Class of 2017 faces a situation that last happened to the Class of 2006. The SAT has changed again. The "new" SAT looks more like the ACT: one section each on Reading, Writing and Language, Math without Calculator and Math with Calculator, always in that order. Then an "optional" essay, but watch out for that "optional" word: chances are that very many colleges will require the essay, as many do now for the similarly optional ACT essay.

The fill-in-the-blank vocab questions, the bane of many students' existence, are gone, but don't celebrate too quickly. The Reading portion of the new SAT consists of five reading passages, one and possibly two of which will be passages written in the era of the Founding Fathers. Not easy reading for anyone. There are also some graphs/charts/figures/tables associated with some of the Reading passages, so students will have to interpret those to answer some of the questions. The third change to the Reading test is the addition of "follow-up" questions, which ask the students to indicate the section of the passage that justifies the answer to the previous question.

The Writing and Language section looks eerily like the English test from the ACT, with one additional element: there are some graphs/charts/figures/tables in here, too, so once again, students will have to interpret those to answer some questions.

There are two Math sections, one in which the use of a calculator is not allowed and one in which it's OK to use a calculator. The Math covers a wider area of high school Math, with some more advanced Algebra than before as well as some trigonometry.

The essay question is always the same, but again, don't celebrate. Here's the question:
"As you read the passage below, consider how the author uses
  • evidence such as facts or examples to support claims
  • reasoning to develop ideas and to connect claims and evidence
  • stylistic or persuasive elements, such as word choice or appeals to emotion, to add power to the ideas expressed.
    Write an essay in which you explain how the author builds an argument to persuade his audience that [essay subject]. In your essay, analyze how the author uses one or more of the features listed above (or features of your own choice) to strengthen the logic and persuasiveness of his argument. Be sure that your analysis focuses on the most relevant features of the passage. Your essay should not explain whether you agree with the author's claims, but rather explain how the author builds an argument to persuade his audience."
    The essay will be graded on Reading, Analysis and Writing, with the top score in each category being a 4. The essay score will NOT be included in the Writing and Language score, as was the case with the essay in the pre-March 2016 SAT.

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