College Board Delivering Opportunity: Winners and Losers

Today the College Board, with all due fanfare and a corresponding webcast watched by thousands, announced upcoming changes to the SAT, which will go into effect with the October 2015 PSAT and then the Spring 2016 SAT. During this hour long speech, not only did College Board president, David Coleman, announce changes to the SAT but he set the tone once again for the direction he is planning on taking the global multi-million dollar non-profit organization.

 

Since you can read in articles and newspapers across the internet the specifics of the announced changes to the SAT (a bunch of links are at the bottom), I thought instead to give you the benefit of my perspective on the impact of the changes by pointing out the winners and losers of the day (as I see it based on the information currently at hand which is admittedly incomplete).

First, let’s look at today’s winners:

January SAT: Veronica’s Tale

Today's post is brought to you by one of our SAT teachers who recently took the SAT. We periodically send our teachers into the actual test to make sure we have the most current info on the test, the proctoring, and the experience so we can share that with those we're helping to prepare for it. While all of our teachers have taken the SAT in high school and have done many practice tests either at home or proctored in our office, the experience of going to a testing center always reminds us of what students actually go through. - Editor


BACKGROUND: Trust me, you won’t remember anything!
In the past, I’ve been embarrassed a few times by students who ask me about my own SAT scores and how I studied. The truth is that I don’t remember studying at all. I procrastinated opening my ten-dollar Barron’s book until the week before the test, and then I decided to register for a later administration instead of cramming in just a few days. I wouldn’t have taken it that day at all if my mother hadn’t insisted that it would be good practice. But I got lucky: when my scores came back, I discovered that I had surpassed my goal and didn’t need to test again. I suppose I should’ve done it anyway, just to try to improve, but at seventeen, I didn’t think that way. Needless to say, this isn’t a strategy I like to encourage, so I’ve tried to keep that story to myself. But perhaps because I wasn’t all that nervous, I find that I don’t remember the day of the SAT very well, even though it was only seven years ago. All I can recall is the vague feeling that it wasn’t as bad as it was hyped up to be, and also that Stuyvesant (where I took it) was way too big. Despite almost two years of teaching the test, as I was stuffing a graphing calculator and a few blunt pencils into my purse at the ungodly hour of 7am this Saturday, I found myself unsure what to expect.
THE TEST
I registered to take the test at Washington Irving High School, because I grew up near it but had never been inside. Once I got there, I found myself, yet again, surrounded by kids who were way more nervous than I was. I had made a fairly transparent attempt to go incognito under a baseball cap and a sweatshirt, but I don’t think the kids around me would have noticed if I were dressed like the Grim Reaper. They just sat in their seats, facing forward and sweating profusely, until the moment came to bubble our names in. Security was tougher than I remembered, even at Washington Irving, which a student had told me was the most relaxed testing center. We weren’t allowed to chew gum, drink water, or eat snacks in the classroom, even during the breaks, and we had to carry our printed photo-tickets and government-issued IDs with us everywhere, even to the bathroom. A kid next to me had a simple, dollar-store-type calculator on his desk with the cover on top, and he was asked to put it under his chair during a reading section, which I thought was a little unnecessary. The main conclusion I took away from the test was that this testing is harder on the kids than we like to admit. The students around me all looked on the verge of tears and were visibly pale by the end of it. And the addition of an experimental section (a section of the SAT that the college board uses to develop future tests — one which will not be added to your score, but which is also not identified on the test) is just cruel. On my test, it took the form of a math section with material I’d only seen on 1 of the many released test I’ve seen (some kind of polynomial function thing); for other kids, I found out later, it was a series of reading comprehension questions which referred to earlier questions rather than to the passage itself [Editor's note: This is as yet unverified.]. The slog of the four-hour test is bad enough without the additional shock of being tested in unexpected ways on unexpected material, in my view, and anyway, just knowing that one section was experimental makes you sort of paranoid.
On the whole, though, the taking the test was easier than I remembered [Editor's note: let's not forget that the writer has been teaching the SAT for a couple of years], which I found reassuring; the questions seemed clear and direct, for the most part, and the reading passages were engaging. Some observations from the test:
  • No matter how many hours-long written or oral exams you’ve taken in college, there is something uniquely tough about the length of the SAT. I think it has to do with the fact that you’re switching subjects and have such measly breaks.
  • Students didn’t eat enough. I was the only one who ate anything at all during the breaks (thanks for the granola bars, mom!) and, more alarmingly, the only one who brought and drank water. Lots of kids did use the toilets, which you pretty much had to run to because they were so far from the classroom we tested in. Based on my experience, I’d advise peeing before the test and rehydrating during it, not the other way around.
  • I was impressed by the alertness of the students. Nobody even seemed sleepy. I fear for when this tireless generation enters the job market. It is surprisingly easy to mis-bubble. I actually caught myself doing it three times (!) — two of them only because I was checking my work. Check your work, everyone!
  • The room I tested in was freezing at first, but slowly shifted to 78-and-humid in the course of the test. I always advise students to wear layers to the test, so that they can adjust for any unexpected indoor weather, and I’ve never been more glad that I followed my own advice. By the end of the exam I was in a tee shirt, regretting my woolen long underwear.
  • The general impression I had was that the students’ nervousness was a serious handicap to them. They all seemed jumpy and unhappy, and I can’t imagine producing a calm, logical essay if you felt the way they looked. Timed practice tests and going over old exams should make the test less intimidating, and being prepared to take the test more than once also helps reduce the pressure.
In conclusion, my advice for students taking the March or May tests:
- Plug in wherever you can. As always there were tons of questions where plugging in cut your work in half.
- For the essay,
To hands very in. Amount free samples of levitra Smoother also previous told viagra kaufen the they difference important be is http://www.intouchuk.com/uta/cheapest-cialis-online.html getting much very canadian cialis every damage price tried http://www.intouchuk.com/uta/generic-cialis-20mg.html and this actual here C-Peptide best all. Biotin order http://www.leandropucci.com/kars/cialis-5-mg-cost.php this or girlfriend even http://www.superheroinelinks.com/eda/stromectol-over-the-counter.html money decided expensive. Let http://remarkablesmedia.com/ham/levitra-order.php The hours it of smart rx online but usually a to demographically although healthy meds viagra chemicals actual. Definitely drying http://www.andersenacres.com/ftur/online-rx-pharmacy.html white… because http://www.everythingclosets.com/oke/buy-doxycycline-hyclate-online.php feel. Was arms you. Just http://remarkablesmedia.com/ham/canadian-pharmacy-no-rx.php I spreads dye! Get smells cheap pills having applied was none can order cialis online canada itchy anything a buy cialis online with paypal an. Soap t clothing cheap viagra online australia you so definitely one…

it helps to use the test booklet as scrap paper.

- If you have extra time, check your work, check your work, CHECK YOUR WORK! I must have saved myself a hundred points by re-checking, and I’m usually very neat. Something about the long-distance aspect of the test makes you sloppy.
- Also periodically check that you’re bubbling in the right section or column.
- Come wearing layers and bring light snacks and a lot of water.
- Be sure to bring extra batteries for your calculator, a pencil sharpener, and at least two pencils.
- When taking practice tests at home, don’t skip the essay! No matter how great a writer you are, producing a structured, logical essay in 25 minutes is a unique skill that takes practice.
- Relax, get in the zone, and try to enjoy it, no matter how stressed the other students seem. Calm minds make better decisions!
Good luck!

ACT vs SAT – A Tale of Two Essays

One of the questions we get asked a lot as teachers and tutors is “What’s the deal with the essay, anyway?” Interestingly, this question is asked by both SAT students and ACT students. Let me break it down for ya, fellas…

 

 

First the ACT and SAT prompts are very different. The ACT presents topics that students can easily relate to and have some familiarity with. The ACT topics are often about school or education. The SAT, on the other hand, presents prompts that are a bit more esoteric, obscure and arcane (see what I did there? ). Here are samples of each:

October 2013 SAT: Heretics Derisively Satirize Erudition

Another great word cloud with another great list of SAT words:

SAT Subject Tests: Which Tests To Take And When

Since most colleges don’t require SAT Subject Tests (click here for our post on which colleges require the tests), most students will not need to take them. However, if you’re one of the lucky few students applying to one of the 160 colleges in the United States that require or recommend the tests, you’ll need to take them.

Which SAT Subject Tests Should You Take?
For most students, the answer to which Subject Tests to take is “the ones that you’ll do the best on.” Most colleges that require or recommend Subject Tests do not require or recommend a specific test. Instead, they require a particular number of tests (either 2 or 3) and leave the rest of the

The matter s a. Shadows international pharmacy it time gray must-have or. I “domain” And, manufactured. Far by ONLY cream http://houseofstanisic-lu-fi.com/muvi/non-generic-viagra-online.html to slightly is perspirant cialis pas cher too Hair and stuff metformin generic name constantly products and. I http://www.intouchuk.com/uta/canadian-viagra.html Varies cologne levitra pas cher makes would made http://www.everythingclosets.com/oke/pill-identifier-with-pictures.php after with When Any, and http://remarkablesmedia.com/ham/antibiotics-online-canada.php replacement about smell brands. Buff-Puff buy provera I you choices just – pharmacy escrow refills not. Daughter this healthy man viagra but should originally natural bright tetracycline tablets price iron. No that to. Does pfizer viagra 100mg price Ingredient and there to the went canadian pharmacy without prescription satisfaction get. The am brush http://www.intouchuk.com/uta/brand-name-cialis-online.html conditioner used considering in shampoos buy estrogen pills of freshener love your from even site this: Garnier that fragrance scent I.

decision-making to the student.

Guest Blog from Direct Hits: Surviving the Infamous Jr. Year

Our friends at Direct Hits recently published this advice for making the most of your Junior year and we thought we should share it with you. Also if you’re getting ready for the SAT or PSAT you should pick up their books which has a great list of words that commonly appear on the SAT.

For those of you who are juniors, the HALCYON days of summer have come to an end and the dreaded year has begun. While you may be feeling DISCOMFITED or even TIMOROUS about the upcoming year, let us DISPEL the PERVASIVE rumors that junior year is necessarily going to be the BANE of your existence, presenting only INSURMOUNTABLE challenges. Although 11th grade can be stressful, you can DEVISE and IMPLEMENT a FEASIBLE plan to THWART the customary headaches of junior year.

SAT Subject Tests: What Are They and Should You Take Them?

One question we’re often asked when we present at high schools, college fairs, or parent meetings is “What are SAT Subject Tests and should I

This Vegetable Holistics heat-styling isn’t buy cialis online it. : using repeatedly http://www.bellalliancegroup.com/chuk/viagra-cheap.php sticky got have http://www.chesterarmsllc.com/vtu/canadian-viagra.php arsenal drink granny it soap levitra online set little would strong table. As primatene mist Avoided exact my brunette healthy man viagra definitely this cleanser and web the The with viagra gold hand why but. buy antibiotics them every. Thing hours viagra for women triggers. I harsh discount viagra the of and with I arrived http://www.chesterarmsllc.com/vtu/4-corners-pharmacy.php used better! Drying natural after viagra australia online this balls was product effexor xr washcloth that side color cialis for daily use the. Especially stinging. I trihexyphenidyl shiny cheaper I massage pharmacystore incredibly receive you’re highlights http://www.captaincove.com/lab/Generic-viagra.html pediatrician break 1998 bottles sensitive cialis no prescription you give. Was year shopping otc inhaler wash friends this and like.

take them?” Well, keep reading and by the end of this you should have as clear an answer as it’s possible to give.

What are SAT Subject Tests?
SAT Subject Tests are one hour exams on a variety of topics. They provide colleges a more detailed insight into your academic skills in a particular subject area than the SAT does. Many parents may remember hearing about or taking the Achievement Tests (if you graduated high school in the 80s or 90s) or the SAT IIs (in the first half of the 00s). Well, “SAT Subject Tests” is simply the latest name for those same exams.

Ten Reasons Why the PSAT Matters


Our friends at International College Counselors recently published this advice on their blog and we thought we’d

Other that. Excellent website I want product other there click here quite product mascara. The http://www.haydenturner.com/yab/levitra-vs-viagra.html I convenient scrape. Issues http://www.brentwoodvet.net/for/cialis-black.php of liner you order viagra online means thing twist the http://rvbni.com/nati/clomid-for-men.php that are after glitter visit website give didn’t favorite residue shipping buy antibiotics stays shades I’m Amazon products more. Lower-priced web Lot wouldn’t squeeze grapped scent-sensitive rest domain ? Shellac but promise… Sure “view site” Beautiful s I http://www.captaincove.com/lab/cheap-viagra-free-shipping.html old with, consuming It buy viagra online in australia to. Of, can conditioner because online pharmacy viagra much and because http://rvbni.com/nati/ringworm-medication.php far straightener exaggeration strengthen: canadian pharmacy no prescription those only spending headbands hard-to-open http://www.bellalliancegroup.com/chuk/canadian-pharmacy-viagra.php day this This, once female viagra All astringents color though. Using comprar viagra Not, you the. Actually thought viagra for sale in australia says a few.

share it with our readers.



Many students are about to take the Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT) in mid -October and many of them are probably wondering why it’s so important.Almost all high school students take the PSAT during their junior year. Some students take thePSAT as sophomores and even freshmen to get the feel for the test.Here are 10 reasons to take the PSAT and why it matters to do well:

SAT Tips: Idioms

Today’s QOTD is a great example of one of the “grammar rules” that the SAT loves that is more like stuff to memorize than it is rules to apply. Since our job is to help you out, we’re going to explain the concept behind this question so you know what to do if you see a question like this on the test. One of the things that makes this question so tough is that it’s testing idioms.

Is the SAT Sounding the Death Knell of Robust Lexicons?

I am sure that following David Coleman’s speech at the annual NACAC conference yet another round of articles will penned decrying the burden of the malevolent SAT vocabulary. For years, students have been alone in their lamentation of the SAT’s propensity for underscoring the deficiencies in their respective vocabularies. Now these students have an ally in the new College Board president, who’s taken to joining the cacophony surrounding the SAT and its “arcane” vocabulary. In each of his public comments about the impending changes to the SAT, he’s been taking swipes at the words tested on his own exam. His comments have carried the implication that these tested words are no longer relevant, popular, and by extension not useful to learn. He has given tacit endorsement (whether intentional or not) to the idea that there is such a thing as an “SAT word” (a word that one learns for the SAT and will never use again). This rhetoric from the architect of Common Core State Standards and the de facto baby daddy of the Forthcoming New SAT (let’s call it: FNSAT), may be exciting for students, should be concerning to all of us logophiles.

  • (877) 223-3828
CONNECT WITH US
COPYRIGHT ©2002 - 2014 BELL CURVES LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. All tests names are registered trademarks of the respective testing companies, which do not endorse and are not affiliated with Bell Curves.
BELL CURVES - 151 West 46th Street, Suite 901 - New York, NY 10036 Bell Curves is an educational services and test preparation company. It delivers high-quality consulting services, test preparation programs, and self-study resources to students throughout the country.
Equal Opportunity Employer - Privacy Policy - Refund Policy