What's the latest style of questions for SAT?

Certification: Test Prep SAT - Scholastic Aptitude Test

The most recent version of the SAT is different from the traditional one in a number of ways. The style of the questions is very different from the style in the former version. While the style of questions in the traditional tests encouraged cramming by students, the most recent version seems to encourage understanding of concepts that students can use on a regular basis. Below are a number of changes of the style of questions in the SAT test.

Vocabulary questions

While questions in the former version of the SAT would ask the meaning of vocabularies, questions of the current SAT test ask students to identify the meaning of words in a particular context. The questions ask students to identify the meaning of words whose meaning vary depending on the context in which the word appears. Unlike the former version of SAT, questions that asked the meaning of words that students would rarely use in their daily lives, the current style of questions feature words that students could apply in school and elsewhere after completing studies.

Reading comprehension Questions

The questions derived from the reading comprehension will require students to support their answers with evidence from the passage. Thus, the test questions will not only be assessing the students’ understanding, but also their ability to derive meaning, reflect upon  the reading, and support answers with evidence from many diverse sources.

What is more, every question asks for information from at least a single paragraph of the reading comprehension. The questions will require the students to quote from the text as evidence of their answers.

Some questions appear with informational graphics and require students to use information that the question and the informational graphics present in order to provide a sensible answer.

The Essay Questions

In the current SAT test, the essay question requires the students to read a passage and then write an essay based on the passage. Students will be required to write an essay describing how the author presents his argument, who is his target audience, and how the author convinces the reader. Thus, the essay question in the current SAT is very similar to the essay writing assignments administered to college level students.

Students are required to make a critical analysis of a piece of literature provided for them to read during as part of the test. The current style of essay questions primarily encourages close reading, proper analysis and coherent writing.  The test questions aim to encourage students to read different pieces of literature and critically analyze the work of different authors.

The essay’s prompt will be accessible to the students prior to the test. However, the reading passage remains undisclosed until the test day. Another unique feature of the essay question is that it is not compulsory; students can choose whether to answer it or not.

The Mathematic Questions

The Math questions concentrate on areas that are applicable to daily routines.  The questions focus on three main areas namely: the Heart of Algebra, Data Analysis, and Problem Solving.  In Problem Solving and Data analysis, questions assess students’ proficiency in, percentages, ratios, and proportional reasoning to find solutions in scientific, social and career situations. Questions concerning the Heart of Algebra deal with linear equations and systems thus help students to become experts in abstraction.

The math questions in the current SAT version prepare students for career training and college education. The aspects of the questions test are indispensable in major courses and many professions. Furthermore, if there are questions of geometric and trigonometric skills, they are more similar to those present in colleges and professions. Some questions do not provide choices and students have to present the answers they arrive at after working out the problems. However, students use calculators to solve problems as they did with the traditional SAT.

Questions Relating to Real-life Situations

All the questions in the current SAT relate to real-life situations. The reading section may draw from fictional or nonfictional literature work. The comprehension could relate to historical and political events that students may relate.

Students will be required to answer questions that consist of graphics such as tables, graphs and charts, in the reading section, in preparation for the social sciences, sciences and other careers where there is this kind of data. While traditional tests required students to identify errors, the current test has questions designed to enable the student to edit and modify data relating to the history, humanities, social science and what would normally be present in the work environment.

The Math questions feature systematic procedures, which prepares students for the multi-step calculations present in scientific subjects such as physics and chemistry. The Mathematic questions do not ask for straightforward calculations. Instead, students are required to analyze a scenario and answer questions—questions that would require mathematical calculations—about the scenario.

Questions concentrate on Great Global Conversation

The questions on the current SAT test aim at creating awareness in the students. For this reason, the reading comprehension includes articles such as those of global importance such as the World War and global warming. In addition, passages come from importantly historical documents as a “Letter from prison in Birmingham” by Martin Luther King Jr., or the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights.

The test questions on reading not only assess the students’ understanding but also equip them with information they need to know.

Wrong Answers Do not Attract Penalties

In the current SAT, wrong answers do not lower a student’s score. Thus, a student is encouraged to answer all questions without fear of losing marks. The test, therefore, encourages students to give the best answers that they can regardless of the correctness or incorrectness of the answers.


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