Posted: Thursday, April 28th, 2011 | Filed under: ACT, SAT exam, SAT scoring, SAT strategy | author: By Teddy Bergman
Posted: Sunday, April 24th, 2011 | Filed under: ACT, SAT, SAT scoring, SAT strategy | author: By Teddy Bergman
What is Super Scoring on the SAT Test? How can it help me?
Over time, the College Board and the college admissions officers have made their approach to the SAT Test more flexible. In an effort to allow students to show themselves off at their best, the College Board and college admissions officers have allowed them to highlight their best efforts on the SAT Test. This began with the College Board’s re-introduction of score choice in 2008, whereby students could elect to send or withhold their SAT Test score after seeing the results. This eliminated the stressful gamble of trying to guess how you did on the SAT Test and if you wanted the world to see that score before you knew the results.
Furthermore, taking after a practice that college admissions officers employ themselves, you now have the informal flexibility to consider your SAT Test results through the awesome lens of Super Scoring. Super Scoring involves taking the highest section scores from multiple SAT Test sittings and creating a composite. Although the College Board itself does not take on this practice, unlike score choice, it has become commonplace in the college admissions process. The common application even has a section now where you can super score your tests.
Super Scoring works as follows: Let us say you took the SAT Test in March and scored 600 on Critical Reading, 650 on Math, and 550 on Writing, for a composite SAT Test score of 1800. Then, let’s say you took the SAT Test again in October and scored 650 on Critical Reading, 600 Math, and 600 on Writing, for a composite SAT test score of 1850. Now with super scoring you can poach your best section scores from each SAT Test date to create a beautiful Frankenstein test. In this case your Super Score composite would be 650 on Critical Reading (from the October SAT Test), 650 on Math (from the March SAT Test), and 600 on Writing (from the October SAT Test) for a composite Super Score of 1900. Most schools’ college admissions officers super score your SAT Test results when evaluating your application, a wonderful fact that lets your achievements shine as brightly as possible.
Posted: Wednesday, April 20th, 2011 | Filed under: ACT, SAT, SAT exam, SAT value | author: By Teddy Bergman
Should I omit questions on the SAT test?
Any good athlete or coach knows that you don’t go into a big game without a great strategy. You practice hard, eat and sleep well, and walk onto the field on game day with a proven playbook. When it comes to the SAT Test, omitting a question represents one of the best “plays” you can run. Proven fact: Omitting questions raises your SAT test score.
Success in omitting comes down to knowing when to do it, and at CATES we advise a pretty aggressive approach. The multiple choice questions on the SAT Test feature five answer choices. While some people say you should guess if you can eliminate one of these five, you should probably opt to omit when you cannot eliminate three of the five answer choices on a given SAT Test question. At CATES, we have discovered with our students that omitting according to this “rule of three” can sometimes make the difference between a score of 590 and one of 610. At the higher end of the scale in the Critical Reading, for example, one question could be the difference between a 760 and an 800!
Why? The SAT test does not deduct points for omitting. This means that if you leave a question blank, you do not lose or gain any points, and your SAT Test score remains unaffected. If you guess correctly, you gain a point – the best case scenario. However, if you guess incorrectly, you lose a quarter of a point. So if you find yourself stuck with more than two possible answer choices, we at CATES say: walk away. Think of omission your friend on the SAT Test, while anything worse than 50/50 odds as your nemesis.
Posted: Sunday, April 17th, 2011 | Filed under: ACT, SAT, SAT grading, SAT scoring | author: By Teddy Bergman
How has the SAT Test changed over time? How long has the SAT Test been around?
In 1927, the Educational Testing Service (ETS) developed the SAT Test because colleges wanted an objective way to compare students. When it came to selecting candidates for their incoming freshmen class, colleges had no quantitative way to compare the application of an A-student from the Upper East Side of Manhattan with that of a A-student from Des Moines, Iowa. The SAT Test emerged as the solution to this dilemma.
The SAT Test has undergone a number of significant revisiQons over the last 80 years, most recently in March of 2005. The old SAT Test assessed student reasoning based on knowledge and skills developed by the student in school coursework. The new SAT test improved the content of the exam by supplementing it with current curriculum and institutional practices in use not only in high school, but in college as well. The new SAT Test includes a third measure of skills – writing – that helps colleges make better admissions and placement decisions. In that way, the new SAT Test reinforces the importance of writing throughout a student’s education.
The new SAT Test asks students to write a short essay that requires them to take a position on an issue and use examples to support that position. This test also includes questions similar to the multiple-choice questions on the retired SAT II Subject Test for Writing to see how well students use and understand standard written English. These questions are designed to measure the student’s ability to recognize errors and improve sentences and paragraphs. This new section, and the new SAT Test in general, helps college admissions officers see if a student is ready to write at the college level.
Posted: Thursday, April 14th, 2011 | Filed under: ACT, SAT, SAT strategy, SAT value | author: By Teddy Bergman
What is the Experimental Section on the SAT Test? Why is it there?
The SAT Test consists of three sections: Reading, Writing, and Math. Each of these sections gets subsequently divided on the test itself into three sub-sections. Math breaks down into one 20 question section, one 18 question section, and one 16 question section. The writing portion of the test constitutes an essay, one 35 question section, and one 14 question section. Lastly, the reading section breaks down into two 24 question sections, and one 19 question section. These nine sections make up the scored portion of the SAT Test.
Yet, you’ll notice when you take the SAT Test that you have to complete ten sections.
One of the sections on every SAT Test is an experimental section. This extra section, which the College Board (the administrators of the SAT Test) inserts into the SAT Test, allows the test-makers to try out new questions for future SAT Tests.
Luckily for you, your performance in this section does not factor into your scoring. So how do you know which is the experimental section? Well, you don’t. You have no way of telling which section on the SAT Test is the experimental one. At the end of the test you can evaluate if you completed 4 sections of either reading, writing, or math, but you have no way of knowing which exact section was the experimental one. Thus, when taking the SAT Test, treat each section as if it counts, because chances are, it does. In fact, every single student we have worked with who thought they knew for sure which section was experimental has been wrong!
How important is the SAT test? Does it count for everything as far as college admissions goes?
At CATES, students often ask us how the importance of SAT Test scores ranks in comparison to the rest of a student’s overall college application. 1.6 million students took the SAT Test last year, so obviously the test serves as a critical component of the application, but it does not count for everything. Generally speaking, the levels of importance of the different aspects of your application break down as follows:
1. Grades – Did you challenge yourself in high school and earn great grades doing so?
2. SAT Test Scores, SAT Subject Test Scores, and ACT Test Scores.
3. Extracurricular Activities – Sports, Clubs, Community service, etc.
4. College Application Essays – Who you are “beyond the numbers?”
5. Recommendations – What do your teachers think of you?
6. Interview – How well do you present yourself in person?
Of course, there are exceptions to these general guidelines. Some schools may value the college application essay more than SAT test scores. When considering schools, ask your college counselor about how these institutions you aspire to rank these items.
As a rule of thumb, the top schools are going to be looking for strong SAT test scores. The test represents an objective measure, separate from all the idiosyncrasies of individual schools, which an admissions officer can use to gauge achievement. Additionally, as college admissions becomes increasingly competitive, you can expect to see median SAT test scores at all schools on the rise.
The SAT Test cannot replace or overshadow the great work you have done in the classroom for years, rest assured. Actually, in many ways the SAT Test presents a chance at redemption for the student who believes his or her academic record does not reflect the intellectual ability demonstrated in class. For cases like this, the SAT Test presents a great opportunity to show the admissions officers exactly what you are capable of doing.