By Alan Sheptin
“Why?” was the most common question. College Board made headlines with the news that it was revamping the SAT. No guessing penalties! No Choice E! No vocabulary lists! As a test practitioner, I had to try this test. Here’s my journey:
I looked at some test prep books, but was not confident of their trustworthiness. So I used the exams that the College Board published.
Registration on collegeboard.com was easy: I uploaded my photo, filled out info, paid, and chose a test site where I would not see any of my students. All set!
I woke up at 6:30 that dreary Saturday morning, and did what I told my students to do: eat a healthy breakfast, and have all your materials in order. Off I went.
After I signed in at the designated location, the site supervisor called me over:“Why are you taking this test?” “Because I want to try it.” And off I went!
I was relieved to see that I was in a classroom with regular sized desks and a clock. The proctor seemed kind and competent: an auspicious beginning.
Reading: Section 1
I was glad to get it done with first. I convinced myself that each of the five passages was interesting. My mindset helped. The questions were straightforward, and the vocabulary reasonable. The 65 minutes flew by and I was exhausted. A ten-minute break was surely needed.
Writing: Section 2
I used the skills my materials recommend, and used my ear to hear any cacophony in the sentences. This strategy really helped.
Section 3: Math, no calculator
This is unsettling to many students, as they rely heavily on the calculator. I answered every question confidently. When I checked all the answers, I noticed a careless error. Yikes!
Section 4: Math, calculator
There were a few very wordy questions that made me think. One Geometry question was a brain-teaser. There were no trigonometry questions or complex Algebra II-style problems. Not terrible.
Section 5: Surprise!
I was ready to leave when we were told that there was still another section (not in the published tests!).
I was happy to have another Math section to try. There was one interesting radical question, but nothing too complicated.
I liked the test and will recommend it once the College Board releases additional materials. And, I liked the test site. Contact me and I’ll divulge that (and my scores!)…
Alan Sheptin is the owner of Sheptin Tutoring Group in Chappaqua. Visit sheptin.com to learn more about his tutoring group.