How Can I Get Ready for the SAT Test Change?

new satWith each passing day, the premiere of the new SAT gets closer and closer. Although the new test is still more than a year away, students who will take the redesigned SAT – those in grades 10 and below – would do well to begin preparation as early as possible.

Why is early preparation so important for the new SAT?

Much of the media coverage of the new test has focused on the changes that will make the test somewhat less tricky: The elimination of the guessing penalty, the lack of abstruse “SAT words” (see what I did there?), and the newly optional essay.

Don’t be fooled – although the new test will be a bit less tricky, it will require far deeper knowledge than previous iterations of the test. On the current SAT, there are a lot of tricks that students can use to boost their scores in a short period of time; on the new SAT, last minute preparation is rendered all but impossible by the in-depth questions and large amount of required reading.

To do well on the new SAT, students will need to master several fundamental skill sets:

Critical reading comprehension: The old test had several reading passages accompanied by analysis questions. The new test requires reading skills in all test sections – even the math section, which features many more word problems!

Facility with language: Although the writing test is still multiple choice, it creates a more realistic representation of the editing and revision process. Students will still need a firm grasp of a wide variety of grammar and conventions rules, but they will also need to be able to make substantive changes to improve the overall content of several lengthy passages.

Thorough understanding of vocabulary: Although much has been made of the elimination of so-called “SAT words,” vocabulary is still a required skill on the new test. Students will require a fairly strong vocabulary in order to comprehend many of the reading and writing passages on the new test. In addition, both the reading and the writing passages will include questions that test students’ ability to distinguish among words with very similar meanings based on the context of the passage.

Strong math fundamentals: The math section focuses strongly on mathematical problem solving, which requires that students master fundamental computation, reasoning, algebra, and geometry skills. The inclusion of a no calculator section makes fundamental math skills all the more important

Grasp of high level math concepts: The new test will cover topics as difficult as trigonometry and precalculus, creating a new challenge for students who are just beginning to learn these concepts.

Can anyone help me prepare?

C2 Education recently released the first in-depth preparation program for the new SAT. The first of its kind, C2’s Redesigned 2016 SAT prep program includes support for the math, reading, writing, and essay portions of the new test. The program has been custom designed by some of C2’s most experienced teachers and academic experts, and it will be continually updated to reflect new information as the College Board releases additional details about the new test.

For a limited time, students who take a new SAT practice test at their local C2 center will receive a free copy of the C2 Redesigned 2016 SAT Math book, and students who enroll in the program will receive the full suite of books for free. To learn more or to register for the test, click here.

What can I do to prepare on my own?

To prepare for the reading and writing sections, the best thing that any student – regardless of grade or skill level – can do is to read constantly. By far the best way to improve reading speed, reading comprehension, and facility with language is to be exposed to a wide variety of language as frequently as possible. By consistently reading, students learn to become faster and more thorough readers. In addition, students who read frequently naturally improve their writing skills by absorbing the practices of authors and journalists.

To prepare for the math section, students should pay close attention in all school math classes. Look for any gaps in knowledge or areas of weakness, and address those weaknesses as early as possible. Since math builds on itself from month to month and from year to year, a lack of understanding of a single concept can create much larger difficulties later on.

Students should also consider reviewing their math textbooks and completing any additional exercises or practice problems. Math textbooks often have extra problems that are not assigned in class or for homework; this provides additional practice, and as we all know, practice makes perfect!