101 Ways to Score Higher on Your SAT Reasoning Test: What You Need to Know Explained Simply

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  1. GED® Reasoning through Language Arts Guide
  2. SAT - Wikipedia
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The introduction and conclusion are clear and generally well developed. Sentences are somewhat varied and word choice is sometimes varied and precise. There may be a few errors, but they are rarely distracting. The essay shows an understanding of the task. The essay takes a position on the issue and may offer some context for discussion. The essay may show some recognition of complexity by providing some response to counterarguments to the writer's position. Development of ideas is adequate, with some movement between general statements and specific reasons, examples, and details.

Focus on the specific issue in the prompt is maintained throughout most of the essay. The organization of the essay is apparent but predictable.

GED® Reasoning through Language Arts Guide

Some evidence of logical sequencing of ideas is apparent, although most transitions are simple and obvious. The introduction and conclusion are clear and somewhat developed. Language is adequate, with some sentence variety and appropriate word choice. There may be some distracting errors, but they do not impede understanding. The essay shows some understanding of the task. The essay takes a position on the issue but does not offer a context for discussion. The essay may acknowledge a counterargument to the writer's position, but its development is brief or unclear.

Development of ideas is limited and may be repetitious, with little, if any, movement between general statements and specific reasons, examples, and details. Focus on the general topic is maintained, but focus on the specific issue in the prompt may not be maintained.


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The organization of the essay is simple. Ideas are logically grouped within parts of the essay, but there is little or no evidence of logical sequencing of ideas. Transitions, if used, are simple and obvious. An introduction and conclusion are clearly discernible but underdeveloped. Language shows a basic control. Sentences show a little variety and word choice is appropriate. Errors may be distracting and may occasionally impede understanding.

The essay shows a weak understanding of the task. The essay may not take a position on the issue, or the essay may take a position but fail to convey reasons to support that position, or the essay may take a position but fail to maintain a stance. There is little or no recognition of a counterargument to the writer's position.

The essay is thinly developed. If examples are given, they are general and may not be clearly relevant. The essay may include extensive repetition of the writer's ideas or of ideas in the prompt. There is some indication of an organizational structure, and some logical grouping of ideas within parts of the essay is apparent. Transitions, if used, are simple and obvious, and they may be inappropriate or misleading. An introduction and conclusion are discernible but minimal. Sentence structure and word choice are usually simple. Errors may be frequently distracting and may sometimes impede understanding.

The essay shows little or no understanding of the task. If the essay takes a position, it fails to convey reasons to support that position. The essay is minimally developed. The essay may include excessive repetition of the writer's ideas or of ideas in the prompt. Focus on the general topic is usually maintained, but focus on the specific issue in the prompt may not be maintained. There is little or no evidence of an organizational structure or of the logical grouping of ideas.

SAT - Wikipedia

Transitions are rarely used. If present, an introduction and conclusion are minimal. Sentence structure and word choice are simple. Errors may be frequently distracting and may significantly impede understanding. Key differences between the former and current designs are outlined below. Many elements of the writing prompts remain the same. For example, the test is still an exercise in argumentative writing, and it continues to measure core competencies that are linked to college and career success.

Scoring and reporting for the ACT writing test have also been updated. Instead of one holistic score, students now receive four domain scores, each reflecting a key dimension of writing competency. They also receive a subject-level Writing Score. The test is the same everywhere, but instructions for registration, test day, and score access vary by country. Includes Canada and overseas US military bases. This action will open a new window. A score above was equivalent to the In the average score for the Class of was out of a maximum Tables were provided to concord scores for students taking the SAT after January and before March Many college entrance exams in the early s were specific to each school and required candidates to travel to the school to take the tests.

The College Board , a consortium of colleges in the northeastern United States, was formed in to establish a nationally administered, uniform set of essay tests based on the curricula of the boarding schools that typically provided graduates to the colleges of the Ivy League and Seven Sisters , among others. In the same time period, Lewis Terman and others began to promote the use of tests such as Alfred Binet 's in American schools. Terman in particular thought that such tests could identify an innate " intelligence quotient " IQ in a person.

The results of an IQ test could then be used to find an elite group of students who would be given the chance to finish high school and go on to college. The commission, headed by Carl Brigham , argued that the test predicted success in higher education by identifying candidates primarily on the basis of intellectual promise rather than on specific accomplishment in high school subjects.

Specifically, Conant wanted to find students, other than those from the traditional northeastern private schools, that could do well at Harvard. The success of the scholarship program and the advent of World War II led to the end of the College Board essay exams and to the SAT being used as the only admissions test for College Board member colleges. Machine-based scoring of multiple-choice tests taken by pencil had made it possible to rapidly process the exams.

Bill produced an influx of millions of veterans into higher education. Brigham felt that the interests of a consolidated testing agency would be more aligned with sales or marketing than with research into the science of testing.

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On June 17, , the first exams of the College Board were administered to students across 67 locations in the United States, and two in Europe. Although those taking the test came from a variety of backgrounds, approximately one third were from New York , New Jersey , or Pennsylvania. The majority of those taking the test were from private schools, academies, or endowed schools. The test contained sections on English, French , German , Latin , Greek , history, mathematics, chemistry , and physics.

The test was not multiple choice, but instead was evaluated based on essay responses as "excellent", "good", "doubtful", "poor" or "very poor". It was administered to over 8, students at over test centers. Slightly over a quarter of males and females applied to Yale University and Smith College. This scale was effectively equivalent to a to scale, although students could score more than and less than In , the number of sections on the SAT was reduced to seven, and the time limit was increased to slightly under two hours.

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In , the number of sections was again reduced, this time to six. These changes were designed in part to give test-takers more time per question. For these two years, all of the sections tested verbal ability: In the SAT was first split into the verbal and math sections, a structure that would continue through The verbal section of the test covered a more narrow range of content than its predecessors, examining only antonyms, double definitions somewhat similar to sentence completions , and paragraph reading.

In , analogies were re-added. Between and , students had between 80 and minutes to answer verbal questions over a third of which were on antonyms. The mathematics test introduced in contained free response questions to be answered in 80 minutes, and focused primarily on speed. From to , like the and tests, the mathematics section was eliminated entirely. When the mathematics portion of the test was re-added in , it consisted of multiple choice questions.

Until , the scores on all SATs had been scaled to a mean of with a standard deviation of Although one test-taker could be compared to another for a given test date, comparisons from one year to another could not be made. For example, a score of achieved on an SAT taken in one year could reflect a different ability level than a score of achieved in another year. By , it had become clear that setting the mean SAT score to every year was unfair to those students who happened to take the SAT with a group of higher average ability.

In order to make cross-year score comparisons possible, in April the SAT verbal section was scaled to a mean of , and a standard deviation of , and the June SAT verbal section was equated linked to the April test. All SAT verbal sections after were equated to previous tests so that the same scores on different SATs would be comparable. Similarly, in June the SAT math section was equated to the April math section, which itself was linked to the SAT verbal section, and all SAT math sections after would be equated to previous tests.


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From this point forward, SAT mean scores could change over time, depending on the average ability of the group taking the test compared to the roughly 10, students taking the SAT in April The and score scales would remain in use until Paragraph reading was eliminated from the verbal portion of the SAT in , and replaced with reading comprehension, and "double definition" questions were replaced with sentence completions.

Between and , students were given 90 to minutes to complete to verbal questions. Starting in , time limits became more stable, and for 17 years, until , students had 75 minutes to answer 90 questions. In , questions on data sufficiency were introduced to the mathematics section, and then replaced with quantitative comparisons in In , both verbal and math sections were reduced from 75 minutes to 60 minutes each, with changes in test composition compensating for the decreased time. From to , scores on the SAT were scaled to make the mean score on each section.

In and , SAT scores were standardized via test equating , and as a consequence, average verbal and math scores could vary from that time forward. However, starting in the mids and continuing until the early s, SAT scores declined: By the late s, only the upper third of test takers were doing as well as the upper half of those taking the SAT in From to , the number of SATs taken per year doubled, suggesting that the decline could be explained by demographic changes in the group of students taking the SAT. In early , substantial changes were made to the SAT.

The changes for increased emphasis on analytical reading were made in response to a report issued by a commission established by the College Board. The commission recommended that the SAT should, among other things, "approximate more closely the skills used in college and high school work". Major changes were also made to the SAT mathematics section at this time, due in part to the influence of suggestions made by the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics.

Test-takers were now permitted to use calculators on the math sections of the SAT. Also, for the first time since , the SAT would now include some math questions that were not multiple choice, instead requiring students to supply the answers. Additionally, some of these "student-produced response" questions could have more than one correct answer. The tested mathematics content on the SAT was expanded to include concepts of slope of a line , probability , elementary statistics including median and mode , and counting problems.

By the early s, average total SAT scores were around typically, on the verbal and on the math. The average scores on the modification of the SAT I were similar: In , half of the college-bound seniors taking the SAT were scoring between and on the verbal section and between and on the math section, with corresponding median scores of and , respectively.

The drop in SAT verbal scores, in particular, meant that the usefulness of the SAT score scale to had become degraded. At the top end of the verbal scale, significant gaps were occurring between raw scores and uncorrected scaled scores: Corrections to scores above had been necessary to reduce the size of the gaps and to make a perfect raw score result in an At the other end of the scale, about 1. Although the math score averages were closer to the center of the scale than the verbal scores, the distribution of math scores was no longer well approximated by a normal distribution.

These problems, among others, suggested that the original score scale and its reference group of about 10, students taking the SAT in needed to be replaced. Beginning with the test administered in April , the SAT score scale was recentered to return the average math and verbal scores close to Although only 25 students had received perfect scores of in all of , students taking the April test scored a Because the new scale would not be directly comparable to the old scale, scores awarded on April and later were officially reported with an "R" for example, "R" to reflect the change in scale, a practice that was continued until For example, verbal and math scores of received before correspond to scores of and , respectively, on the scale.

Certain educational organizations viewed the SAT re-centering initiative as an attempt to stave off international embarrassment in regards to continuously declining test scores, even among top students. Since , using a policy referred to as "Score Choice", students taking the SAT-II subject exams were able to choose whether or not to report the resulting scores to a college to which the student was applying. It was also suggested that the old policy of allowing students the option of which scores to report favored students who could afford to retake the tests.

In , the test was changed again, largely in response to criticism by the University of California system.

Download 101 Ways to Score Higher on Your SAT Reasoning Test What You Need to Know Explained Simply

Other factors included the desire to test the writing ability of each student; hence the essay. The essay section added an additional maximum points to the score, which increased the new maximum score to The mathematics section was expanded to cover three years of high school mathematics. To emphasize the importance of reading, the verbal section's name was changed to the Critical Reading section.

In March , it was announced that a small percentage of the SATs taken in October had been scored incorrectly due to the test papers' being moist and not scanning properly, and that some students had received erroneous scores. The College Board decided not to change the scores for the students who were given a higher score than they earned. A lawsuit was filed in on behalf of the 4, students who received an incorrect score on the SAT.

At the time, some college admissions officials agreed that the new policy would help to alleviate student test anxiety, while others questioned whether the change was primarily an attempt to make the SAT more competitive with the ACT, which had long had a comparable score choice policy. Still others, such as Oregon State University and University of Iowa , allow students to choose which scores they submit, considering only the test date with the highest combined score when making admission decisions.

Beginning in the fall of , test takers were required to submit a current, recognizable photo during registration. In order to be admitted to their designated test center, students were required to present their photo admission ticket — or another acceptable form of photo ID — for comparison to the one submitted by the student at the time of registration.

The changes were made in response to a series of cheating incidents, primarily at high schools in Long Island, New York, in which high-scoring test takers were using fake photo IDs to take the SAT for other students. On March 5, , the College Board announced its plan to redesign the SAT in order to link the exam more closely to the work high school students encounter in the classroom.

The SAT has been renamed several times since its introduction in It was originally known as the Scholastic Aptitude Test. According to the president of the College Board at the time, the name change was meant "to correct the impression among some people that the SAT measures something that is innate and impervious to change regardless of effort or instruction. Test preparation companies in Asia have been found to provide test questions to students within hours of a new SAT exam's administration.

The leaked PDF file was on the internet before the August 25, exam. For decades many critics have accused designers of the verbal SAT of cultural bias as an explanation for the disparity in scores between poorer and wealthier test-takers. The object of the question was to find the pair of terms that had the relationship most similar to the relationship between "runner" and "marathon".

The correct answer was "oarsman" and "regatta". The choice of the correct answer was thought to have presupposed students' familiarity with rowing , a sport popular with the wealthy. However, according to Murray and Herrnstein, the black-white gap is smaller in culture-loaded questions like this one than in questions that appear to be culturally neutral. They further found that, after controlling for family income and parental education, the so-called achievement tests known as the SAT II measure aptitude and college readiness 10 times higher than the SAT.

The largest association with gender on the SAT is found in the math section, where male students, on average, score higher than female students by approximately 30 points. Some researchers believe that the difference in scores for both race and gender is closely related to psychological phenomenon known as stereotype threat.

Stereotype threat happens when an individual who identifies themselves within a subgroup of people, is taking a test and comes across a stereotype usually of American origin regarding their subgroup. This along with additional test anxiety, will usually cause a low test performance for that individual or group affected. This is because the individual is under increased pressure to overcome the stereotype threat and prove it wrong.

This form of stereotype can be translated into a form of gender or race bias and is found in numerous SAT tests spanning throughout the years it has existed. Gender bias of the SAT tests can happen within certain sections which include the questions or passages themselves. This bias itself is usually for that against females. Other researchers question this assertion, and point to evidence in support of greater male variability in spatial ability and mathematics.

Greater male variability has been found in both body weight, height, and cognitive abilities across cultures, leading to a larger number of males in the lowest and highest distributions of testing [] []. This may result in a higher number of males scoring in the upper extremes of the mathematics section of the SAT, resulting in the gender discrepancy.

For the demographics example, students are often asked to identify their race or gender before taking the exam, just this alone is enough to create the threat since this puts the issues regarding their gender or race in front and center of their mind. For the mathematics example, a question in the May SAT test involved a chart which identified more boys than girls in mathematics classes overall.

This is also based on the common stereotype that "men are better at math than women," []. Since the passages were in the beginning it may have allowed this new information to linger in the minds of the test takers for the rest of their test taking time, especially the females who may now have the new thought as to not being intellectually competent of doing things other than house work and chores. Studies suggest that teaching about stereotype threat might offer a practical means of reducing its detrimental effects.

It can be shown when women were informed about stereotype threat problems in standardized tests, they tend to achieve higher scores. Thus, informing women about stereotype threat may be a useful intervention to improve their performance in a threatening testing situation. This is also known as a stereotype threat mitigation. The main study that supports these findings comes from two well-known professionals on Education known as Claude Steele and Steve Spencer.

With this test, one group from each gender would be given the test with an intro sentence. The other group within each gender would not be given this sentence. The sentence itself stated: The results were as follows: But among participants who were given the intro sentence that stated the test did not show gender differences, where the women were free of confirming anything about being a woman, woman performed at the same high level as equally skilled men.

Their under-performance was eliminated. Results showed that women performed worse than men when the problems were described as a math test where the stereotype threat was not discussed , but did not differ from men in the problem-solving condition or the men that learned about stereotype threat. For the women in the teaching-intervention condition in which they learned about the threat, they indeed had a greater overall performance than the women without this treatment.

Although aspects of testing such as stereotype are a concern, research on the predictive validity of the SAT has demonstrated that it tends to be a more accurate predictor of female GPA in university as compared to male GPA []. African American, Hispanic, and Native American students, on average, perform an order of one standard deviation lower on the SAT than white and Asian students. Researchers believe that the difference in scores is closely related to the overall achievement gap in American society between students of different racial groups.

This gap may be explainable in part by the fact that students of disadvantaged racial groups tend to go to schools that provide lower educational quality. This view is supported by evidence that the black-white gap is higher in cities and neighborhoods that are more racially segregated. For example, African Americans perform worse on a test when they are told that the test measures "verbal reasoning ability", than when no mention of the test subject is made. John Ogbu , a Nigerian-American professor of anthropology, found that instead of looking to their parents as role models, black youth chose other models like rappers and did not put forth the effort to be a good student.

One set of studies has reported differential item functioning — namely, some test questions function differently based on the racial group of the test taker, reflecting some kind of systematic difference in a groups ability to understand certain test questions or to acquire the knowledge required to answer them. In Freedle published data showing that Black students have had a slight advantage on the verbal questions that are labeled as difficult on the SAT, whereas white and Asian students tended to have a slight advantage on questions labeled as easy.

Freedle argued that these findings suggest that "easy" test items use vocabulary that is easier to understand for white middle class students than for minorities, who often use a different language in the home environment, whereas the difficult items use complex language learned only through lectures and textbooks, giving both student groups equal opportunities to acquiring it. There is no evidence that SAT scores systematically underestimate future performance of minority students. However, the predictive validity of the SAT has been shown to depend on the dominant ethnic and racial composition of the college.

Christopher Jencks concludes that as a group African Americans have been harmed by the introduction of standardized entrance exams such as the SAT. This, according to him, is not because the tests themselves are flawed, but because of labeling bias and selection bias; the tests measure the skills that African Americans are less likely to develop in their socialization, rather than the skills they are more likely to develop. Furthermore, standardized entrance exams are often labeled as tests of general ability, rather than of certain aspects of ability.

Thus, a situation is produced in which African American ability is consistently underestimated within the education and workplace environments, contributing in turn to selection bias against them which exacerbates underachievement. In the s and s there was a movement to drop achievement scores. After a period of time, the countries, states and provinces that reintroduced them agreed that academic standards had dropped, students had studied less, and had taken their studying less seriously. They reintroduced the tests after studies and research concluded that the high-stakes tests produced benefits that outweighed the costs.

Atkinson , the president of the University of California , urged dropping the SAT as a college admissions requirement:. Anyone involved in education should be concerned about how overemphasis on the SAT is distorting educational priorities and practices, how the test is perceived by many as unfair, and how it can have a devastating impact on the self-esteem and aspirations of young students.

There is widespread agreement that overemphasis on the SAT harms American education. Even now, no firm conclusions can be reached regarding the SAT's usefulness in the admissions process. It may or may not be biased, and it may or may not serve as a check on grade inflation in secondary schools. Frey and Detterman investigated associations of SAT scores with intelligence test scores.

Additionally, they investigated the correlation between SAT results, using the revised and recentered form of the test, and scores on the Raven's Advanced Progressive Matrices , a test of fluid intelligence reasoning , this time using a non-random sample. They estimated that this latter correlation would have been about 0. SAT preparation is a highly lucrative field. The test preparation industry began almost simultaneously with the introduction of university entrance exams in the U. The College Board maintains that the SAT is essentially uncoachable and research by the College Board and the National Association of College Admission Counseling suggests that tutoring courses result in an average increase of about 20 points on the math section and 10 points on the verbal section.

Montgomery and Lilly performed a systematic literature review of all published SAT coaching research in search of high quality studies defined as those with randomized controlled trials. The Johnson San Francisco study was also the only high quality study found on a prep course of 30 hours or more in length, although validity of this outlier study is uncertain due to the attrition of half the participants. Certain high IQ societies , like Mensa , the Prometheus Society and the Triple Nine Society , use scores from certain years as one of their admission tests.

For instance, the Triple Nine Society accepts scores verbal and math combined of or greater on SAT tests taken before April , and scores of at least on tests taken between April and February After studying over 50 graded essays, he found that longer essays consistently produced higher scores. He also discovered that several of these essays were full of factual errors; the College Board does not claim to grade for factual accuracy.

Perelman, along with the National Council of Teachers of English also criticized the minute writing section of the test for damaging standards of writing teaching in the classroom. They say that writing teachers training their students for the SAT will not focus on revision, depth, accuracy, but will instead produce long, formulaic, and wordy pieces. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the college admission test in the United States Of America.

For other uses, see SAT disambiguation. This article relies too much on references to primary sources. Please improve this by adding secondary or tertiary sources. May Learn how and when to remove this template message. Retrieved September 30, Retrieved October 13, Retrieved June 6, Retrieved 20 July Rowman and Littlefield Publishers. This broke the once tight link between academic coursework and college admission, a break that remains to this day.

The New York Times. Retrieved May 14, Retrieved January 7, Retrieved June 22,