The SAT is taken by thousands of students each year. They study, they take the test, they get their results; but what really happens? Method Test Prep's Vice President Evan Wessler, after years of experiencing the SAT first hand, shares his reflections on his latest experience in the most recent Ebook Impressions of the June 2014 SAT. After getting a sneak peak into what to expect before and during the actual exam, what happens after the pencils are down? Let's reflect,
Did you know there was an experimental section?
On every administration of the current ten-section SAT, one section (either Critical Reading, Mathematics, or Writing multiple choice) is "experimental". Students are not told which of the sections is the impostor, and on given administration date, there are several forms of the exam that each contain a different experimental section.
While the results of these sections do not count toward students' overall scores, the statistics collected on each question within are used by the College Board to test out the validity of new types of questions. It is no mystery that the experimental sections on the most recent administrations of the SAT have featured content specific to the proposed revised 2016 format of the test.
On some sections, an experimental section is blatant (e.g., on the current test's Critical Reading sections, it is not normal to see graphs, pictures, and tables accompanying reading passages, but these things will be elements of the new SAT's Reading section), and on others, more subtle (e.g., Mathematics, which, when in experimental form is still presented in a format similar to that of the current SAT's Mathematics sections).
Getting a sneak peak at new question format and content was the main impetus behind my decision to take the test one more time.
And when it was all said and done...
Sitting for the SAT several times since my high school days has been an enlightening experience. It has given me the chance to comprehend the challenges and stresses of the exam from a new and more mature perspective. Inasmuch, it has informed my teaching style; when I work with my colleagues and students, I am much better positioned to recommend the most effective approaches and strategies possible, and to understand the rationale behind the test's role in college admissions.
Through it all, I got to confirm firsthand what every student needs to hear: though it is an imperfect gauge of ability and a significant mental toil, the SAT can be conquered with time, effort, and a little bit of insight.