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FOR the CLASS OF 2017 student -- a comparison of test options...
More than any other test year, the decisions you make regarding advanced preparation are likely to significantly affect potential test results...
The English (grammar) & writing aspect of the SAT / ACT / NEW SAT


and Grammar

:  THE ACT test has one grammar/writing section of 75 questions.  Students are given 45 minutes to complete the entire section, which is all in the grammar in context with reading format. 


FACTS: This is a positive point test. Student receives credit for all questions answered correctly, no deductions for any wrong answers. 

-- Focus is on finding best choices based on a reading paragraph.  Time allotted is for both reading and grammar so requirement is faster than for the SAT.

-- Math knowledge required is Algebra I, Geometry, Trigonometry.  Some less well known topics that students may not have practiced, but will need to, include matrices.

-- An average score (considered approximately a 22), requires a student to complete 35 out of 60 questions correctly.   In comparing to the old SAT, you can see that the student must be more efficient in order to complete this mark. 

DOWNSIDES/Considerations Preparation for this test does not prepare the student for taking the October PSAT.  If your student is a consistently high tester (90th percentiles or higher) , he or she will probably still want to prepare for the PSAT, which is the qualifier for National Merit Scholars, and will be in the SAT new format.

-- If processing speed affects your student, you should be aware that this test requires faster processing, even at average testing goals
-- Students must stay focused in one area for a longer period of time, breaking up a larger portion of the test into sub-portions and managing throughout to optimize performance.
-- ACT approves test accommodations only one test at a time, complicating scheduling and test site selection


FORMAT:  The writing portion of the test is now optional, as it is for the ACT.  However, as students have learned from the ACT, most colleges want to see at least an effort in the writing portion.  Thsh is writing however, requires an essay which responds to the rhetorical devices used in a reading selection.  Students who are strong in English, or have completed AP English will have a chance to shine in this 50 minute effort.

The Grammar section is effectively a remake of the grammar in context section of the "OLD" Sat, extended to full length, not dissimilar from the ACT.

FACTS: It is unclear if the Collegeboard folks are merely trying to scare us all, but so far test practice work in this section has been HARDER material (more understanding of writing rhetoric devices and ability to understand and explain them in a clear essay)

-- Grammar is now made up of what most students consider to be the 'hardest' section of the "OLD" Sat grammar.


-- Students must have both writing AND interpretive reading skills in order to do well on this test.

DOWNSIDES / Considerations:

CONSIDERATIONS:  If you are preparing for this test, your student will be more ready for taking the PSAT.  So, if your student is a consistently high tester (90th percentiles or higher) , he or she will want this preparation for the PSAT, which is in the SAT new format.

DOWNSIDES-- There is wide-spread concern re:how colleges will integrate scores from these and other tests.  Given the extreme difficulty leap on this test, and the uniqueness of the formatting, it is unclear how students will fare, and how colleges will measure these differences.  Even if your student is taking the PSAT for National Merit Scholarship consideration, it will probably be worthwhile to try an early ACT, or old format SATs to see how these compare for your student.

Students need to practice writing clear, concise critical essays in a relatively long (50 minute) timeframe.  This section will be a major challenge to those who may not be advanced in English argumentative and rhetorical concepts.











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