SAT Critical Reading Tips

The SAT critical reading section is designed to test students’ abilities to read and understand material. There are important skills that can help students approach the critical reading section with smart work skills. For this reason, a solid SAT prep program is essential to performing well on this section of the SAT.

The critical reading section is made up of 67 questions total. Of these, 48 are passage-based reading multiple choice and 19 are sentence completion. The questions are broken down into two 25 minute sections and one 20 minute section. The critical reading section is scored on a 200 to 800 point scale that will make up one-third of the total SAT score.

The passage based reading section asks students to read both short and long passages and answer a series of multiple choice questions about the material. The goal of this section is to test reading comprehension. Many students choose to read over the questions first to get a sense of what is important. After reading the questions, go back and carefully read the passage.

It is important to remember that the questions about each passage in this section are arranged not by difficulty, but in chronological order. This means it is best to work in the order that the questions are given so that it is easier to isolate the appropriate section of the passage for reference. One of the sections is a duel-passage section that will require students to read two passages and answer questions about each individually and some that reference both sections. It is typically best to answer the separate questions about each passage first and then begin the ones that will require knowledge of both.

The sentence completion section presents students with an incomplete sentence that they will need to fill in with the appropriate word. There may only be one blank word in the sentence or there may be two that need to be filled in.

While having a strong vocabulary will certainly help in this section, it is just as important to read carefully and be sure that you understand the sentence. If you don’t immediately know the answer, see if you can eliminate possible answers until one becomes the clear choice. It is also a good idea to read the sentence to yourself with the word filled in to be certain that it makes sense.

Time management is an important factor in the critical reading section. It is crucial to read both carefully and quickly in order to answer the questions in the allotted time. A solid SAT preparation program will help students get comfortable with the format so that they can relax and do their best on test day.

Taking practice tests during your SAT test prep is one of the best ways to prepare for the critical reading section. A good plan for test preparation will also help students hone their reading comprehension skills and feel comfortable with the format of the SAT critical reading section. The more you read passages that are similar to the ones on the SAT, the more quickly and accurately you will be able to work on test day.

Breaking down the SAT math section

Preparing for the SAT math section is an important part of college prep. It is important for students to feel comfortable with the format of the math section and enter the test knowing what to expect.

The SAT math section is scored on a 200 to 800 point scale and accounts for one-third of the overall SAT score. Students are allowed 70 minutes to complete the math section and this time is broken down into one 20-minute section and two 25-minute sections.

The math section is made up of 54 questions. 44 of which are multiple choice and ten of which are grid-in questions. A grid-in question is another word for a student produced response question. The student must come up with the answer to the math problem and write their answer into a special grid.

The math section of the SAT covers basic arithmetic, geometry, and algebra I & II. It is recommended that students study functions, absolute value, sets, exponents, and radical equations, among other concepts. For many students, the SAT math section is likely to involve ideas from math courses that they took several years back in their education. For this reason, is important for students to re-familiarize themselves with these concepts throughout their SAT prep.

Trigonometry is not included in the test. Problems involving triangles can all be solved using knowledge of the Pythagorean Theorem and special right triangles. Algebra II is not included on the PSAT, but will be on the SAT. SAT practice tests are the best way to ensure that students are prepared for these questions and familiar with the overall structure of the SAT math section.

While all math problems can be completed without a calculator, it is recommended that students bring an acceptable calculator with them to the SAT. It is often best to use a familiar calculator and to use the same one that they used during their SAT practice tests. It is advisable to put fresh batteries in the calculator before the test and be sure that the calculator is working. Students are not permitted to share calculators during the test.

Acceptable calculators for the SAT math section include graphing calculators and scientific calculators. A four-function calculator is permitted, but not recommended. Students may not use the calculator on a laptop, cell phone, electronic writing pad, or pocket organizer. Also prohibited are any calculators that make noise or have a QWERTY keyboard feature. Students will be asked to put away their calculators during the critical reading and writing sections of the SAT.

A strong SAT prep program is the surest way for students to enter the SAT math section as well-prepared as possible. Students should use the scrap paper provided and not attempt to use a calculator for every question. It is best to work quickly and efficiently in order to complete each section within the allotted time.

GMAT To Include Integrated Reasoning Section Starting June 2012

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) recently announced changes to the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) that are set to take effect June 4, 2012. The test, called Next Generation GMAT, will include an integrated reasoning section. The goal of this new section is to provide insight into how the test taker will perform in today’s information-filled business environment.

The integrated reasoning section will evaluate the test taker’s ability to evaluate and synthesize information from multiple sources. These sources may include graphs, charts, and spreadsheets. Test takers will also be asked to evaluate trade-offs, interpret visual data representations, and determine probability and statistics. While question types are still in testing, the GMAC predicts that some questions will have multiple parts and more than one correct answer. They have not yet decided whether partial credit will be an option on these questions.

For the past four years, the GMAC has conducted surveys of business school faculties in order to evaluate the current test and pinpoint improvements that could be made to the test for the future. The integrated reasoning section is the primary result of these surveys. Faculties expressed the need for incoming students to be able to integrate data, work through complex problems, and make statistical inferences. Next Generation GMAT seeks to make the test more applicable to business schools by asking test takers to complete problems that are similar to the work they will face once in graduate school.

The GMAT will still take three and a half hours to complete. The 30 minutes integrated reasoning section will replace one of the two essays in the analytical writing section.

Currently, the GMAT analytical writing section contains one Analysis of an Issue essay and one Analysis of an Argument essay. The Next Generation GMAT will only include one essay, but students could be assigned either an Analysis of an Issue prompt or an Analysis of an Argument prompt. Therefore, test takers will still need to prepare for both types of essay during their GMAT test preparation. Business school admissions officers have stated that the two current essay test scores are highly correlated. For this reason, they anticipate that one essay will continue to provide a fair and accurate measure of test takers’ abilities.

Scoring on the Next Generation GMAT will change only slightly. The verbal and quantitative sections of the GMAT will remain the same and will continue to be scored on a scale of 200-800. There will be a separate score for the single essay in the analytical writing section and a second separate score for the integrated reasoning section.

The GMAC assures future test takers that more information about specific question types and sample tests for Next Generation GMAT will be available closer to the time of the test’s release. A GMAT course will help people planning to take the GMAT after June 2012 to prepare for the test, including the new section. Developing a comprehensive study plan is the best way to ensure success on the GMAT. Making time for GMAT test preparation and taking Next Generation GMAT practice tests are generally the best way to enter the exam confident and prepared.

Test Day Checklist

It is extremely important to go into your SAT test day confident, calm, and well prepared. Taking SAT practice tests during your study sessions will help ensure that you are familiar with the format of the SAT and allow you to relax and do your best work on test day. Having all the right tools with you on test day will also help you successfully complete the SAT.

Information
Be sure that you know the exact time and location for check-in. If you are unfamiliar with the area, you may consider driving to the test location once ahead of time so that you know how long it will take. This will be one less thing to worry about on test day. You will also need to print your SAT admission ticket from the College Board website and bring it with you for check in on test day.

Photo Identification
You will need to have a proper form of photo identification with you the day of testing. A driver’s license, state-issued photo identification card, school identification card, or passport are all acceptable forms of identification.

Pencils
A number two pencil is required for the SAT and it is suggested that you pack two pencils to be safe. Pens and mechanical pencils are not allowed. Be sure that your pencils are sharpened and ready for use before you arrive at the testing location. A good eraser is also helpful to make clean corrections to your test.

Calculator
You will want to read the requirements for calculators before the day of the test. For the SAT, a graphing or scientific calculator is recommended. A four-function calculator is allowed, but not recommended. Laptop calculators, cell phone calculators, and pocket organizers are not allowed. It is advisable to put fresh batteries in the calculator before the test.

Snack
While certainly not required, you are permitted to bring snacks and drinks with you for the break. Pack a water bottle and a small snack that you can eat to recharge your energy during the break.

Watch
The testing room will generally be equipped with a wall clock, but it is always helpful to have a watch with you on testing day. Turn off any audible alarms before going into the test. A watch will ensure that you can budget your time accordingly and that you will be able to complete the entire test.

Senior Year Planning

Senior year of high school can be an extremely busy time. Many deadlines and decisions are on the horizon and it can be overwhelming for students to balance all of their responsibilities. Developing a solid plan for senior year can help you to avoid stress and assure that everything is done on time.

Fall

The fall of senior year is often the time students choose to devote to taking the SAT. Schedule the test and begin to devote time to studying and preparing for the test. Online test prep is one good option to help SAT test prep fit into an already busy school schedule.

The fall is also the time to seriously narrow down college options. Once you have a list of the schools where you will be applying, organize important dates and deadlines onto a master calendar.

Researching financial aid is another important task for the fall. This involves researching student loan options, scholarships and grants, and options available at each of your colleges.

Winter

Winter of senior year is the time to focus on completing college applications. Many will use the same common application supplemented by some additional questions and information. Take time to write your essays and be sure they are a good reflection of your strengths. Be sure to ask for letters of recommendations early on in the process so that you give your teachers, guidance counselors, and employers plenty of time to write the recommendation.

Once everything is complete, be sure to double check that all parts of the application are there and send them in. Most high schools will provide resources to help students prepare the final application packet.

At this point, many colleges will also want to schedule a personal interview. This is both a time for the college to speak with you and gain additional insight into your application and also a time for you to ask questions about the selection process and why you should choose their college. Viewing the interview as a conversation will keep you from being nervous and help you get the most out of this experience.

Spring

By spring of senior year, you will have heard back from your colleges and it is time to focus on making a decision. If you were accepted to multiple schools, it is often worthwhile to visit these colleges once again. These campus visits can help you to make a confident decision. While on campus, you will want to take another tour, sit in on a class, and talk to current students about their college experience. Be sure to ask plenty of questions of students, staff, and representatives in the admissions office.

Before making a decision, you will also want to discuss your plans with your family, particularly concerning financial aid and how you will be paying for college. Once you have reached a decision, send out your acceptance and rejection letters to all the colleges that accepted you. Your school will soon be sending you more information and you’ll be busy planning for next year. You can now proudly announce your college plans and enjoy the conclusion of your high school career.

SAT vs. ACT: which should I take?

The SAT and ACT are both tests taken by students in the United States preparing for college. Generally, more students on East Coast and West Coast of the United States take the SAT and more students in the Midwest and mountain states opt for the ACT. While historically the SAT has been seen as the standard test for college entry, the ACT is now recognized by all four-year colleges in the US. The majority of colleges and universities will accept either test, but students with specific colleges in mind may want to consult that college’s admissions office when deciding which test to take.

While the two tests differ somewhat in format and material, each is designed to gauge students’ skills and knowledge. Being well informed about the tests will help students to decide which test to take before they begin their SAT Preparation or ACT Preparation plan.

Subject Areas

The ACT is based more on curriculum that students have learned in school whereas the SAT is designed more to test critical thinking and reasoning skills. The ACT is a multiple choice test that covers English, mathematics, reading, and science. The ACT Writing Test is an optional section in which test takers must plan and write a short essay. The SAT begins with a required essay section. It is then made up of writing, critical reading, and math sections. While the SAT has multiple choice sections, some of the math questions will require test takers to produce answers on their own.

Logistics

The ACT is administered on six national testing dates in the United States. Students may take the test up to twelve times total and only once on each testing date. The SAT is offered seven times each year in the US. Students may take the SAT as many times as they wish, but all scores will be visible to colleges. Not including instructions and breaks, the ACT takes two hours and 55 minutes and the SAT takes three hours and 45 minutes.

Scoring

ACT scores are determined by adding up the correct answers in each section. Scores for each section range from 1-36 and the results are averaged to produce a final score. Incorrect answers do not count against the final score. On the SAT, however, incorrect multiple choice answers receive a small penalty. Each correct answer receives one point and each incorrect answer deducts one-fourth of a point. Scores for each section are on a scale of 200-800. A perfect score on the SAT is 2400 points and a perfect score on the ACT is 36.

Preparation

ACT Preparation and SAT Preparation are critical to success on both tests. Taking the predictive tests, the PSAT and PLAN, can help students prepare for the actual test’s format. Preparation courses and practice tests are the best way of determining trouble areas and helping students enter the test prepared and confident.

Summer–A Little Studying Can Go a Long Way

Finally! School is out for the summer and you have a three months of laying around in the sun or watching television for hours each day. After the first few weeks, you will quickly learn that the monotony of leisure becomes boring, and you still have weeks of vacation left. With all of this extra time on your hands, what can you do to still have fun and make the most of your summer vacation? Why not use some of your spare time for SAT test prep?

SAT test prep in the summer?!? No, it is not that crazy of an idea. The first test in the fall happens in October, just a month after you return to classes. One month will not give you enough time to get ready, but you can use your spare time in the summer to get ready for the all important SAT test.

Trying to wait until September for your test prep means that you will have to be trying to cram with all night sessions in addition to your school homework and social activities like dances and football games. Instead of pulling a series of September all nighters, take just a few minutes each day during the summer to learn a new word or math problem. This daily form of SAT test prep will be easy and nearly effortless, especially if compared to the traditional study binge many students try.

When looking for an SAT test prep program, you might be thinking that you have to spend half of your summer inside a classroom. That might have been how your parents got ready for the test, but today, you no longer have to be tied to a test prep classroom desk, nor do you have to be tied to your computer at a set time for online tutorials. For total flexibility, you want a study program that is ready when you are. A self-paced 24 hour online SAT test prep program, such as the one at B Line Test Prep, offers you a way to both have fun through the summer and get ready to take the SAT in October without cramming.

With a self-paced program, you get to spend your study time more efficiently. Instead of a classroom where the test reviewer moves at a constant pace, whether you understand the material or not, a self-paced prep program lets you concentrate on areas where you might be struggling, but spend less time on where you are proficient. Why waste time going over material you already know? Focusing on areas of the SAT where you need work will make you feel better prepared for the test come October, or whenever you opt to take it.

Flexibility for your time and your learning styles should prompt you to choose a 24 hour online SAT test prep program to use just a few minutes each day over the boring summer months to get ready for one of the most important tests of your life – the SAT.

GMAT Critical Reasoning Section Broken Down

About 11 questions in the verbal section of the GMAT fall into the “critical reasoning” category, and they will require the candidate to read short passages ranging from 20 to 200 words. Usually, a passage presents an argument and tries to persuade the reader that the point it makes is valid. To accomplish this, evidence is presented, followed by some assumptions and the resulting conclusion.

This section is meant to assess the students’ skill in constructing an argument and evaluating one that is presented to them, but they will not need any previous knowledge of the topics being covered. Instead, they must weigh the answer choices presented to them carefully, so that they can detect even the slightest error in reasoning. One of the incorrect choices will suggest something that is totally opposed to the argument maintained in the passage, a choice that is really not covered in the passage, and a choice that completely distorts the facts.

To complete the section successfully, candidates should:

● Read the question before reading the passage. This is called “working in reverse order,” and doing so will help them in finding the correct response.
● Look for the evidence and assumptions presented in the passage, and the conclusion that is at the heart of the question.
● Become familiar with the basic concepts being covered in this section. If a question seems particularly difficult, they should try translating it into simpler language and work from there, remembering that some of the questions are hypothetical and that they should only deal with the facts presented in the passage.

The various types of critical reasoning questions contained in the GMAT include:

● Numbers and statistics – Students focus on ratios and numbers because they have to distinguish between them and take the data at face value as well.
● Studies and surveys – Experiments may also be included here, and candidates are asked determine if the results have been misinterpreted in some way.
● Scope-shift – Here they will detect a slight change in emphasis. (For example, “first-time home buyers may be changed to “recent homebuyers” later on, and this is a sign of faulty argumentation.)
● Causation – In this case, the “result” is mistakenly presented as the “cause.” The passage may state that a problem arose because of a particular factor when its development was actually far more complicated than that.
● Alternative explanation – Here, the argument presented in the passage is incomplete and another solution is needed.
● Explain-a-paradox – In this case, they have to choose the response that fails to meet certain standards, and words indicating a contrast of some kind (however, but) are especially important.

Preparing for the GMAT

For online test preparation, students can visit: http://www.blinetestprep.com/gmat, and choose from one of the three unique programs this company offers to suit their specific needs and circumstances. Also, as part of their overall test preparation, candidates should develop their personal studying strategy and sharpen their professional writing skills at the same time. Taking classes to prepare for the GMAT may involve some expense, but they also provide the motivation and support that many candidates need. Many often find that by signing up for an online test prep class fits into their schedule and provides a good foundation before you take the test.

GMAT Sentence Completion Questions

The GMAT, or Graduate Management Admission Test, is one test you will have to take-not to mention all the test preparation you’ll have to do-if you plan on furthering your academic career in the business or management fields. The standardized test is used by almost two thousand graduate schools around the world, making it a necessity for those who plan on getting a masters in business administration, or in any other similar area. The test is a general exploration of the test-taker’s business knowledge, skills and experience, and subjective things like motivation and interpersonal skills. Beyond these things, the GMAT measures things that are very simple and that can be adequately prepare for with an online test prep, like your basic verbal, mathematical and analytical skills.

Regardless of why you’re taking the GMAT, you will probably want to spend at least a month on test preparation to ensure that you get a good score. This is especially true since the cost for taking the test is two hundred and fifty dollars. That’s quite a bit of money, so you’ll want to make sure you’re well prepared. Fortunately, there are plenty of great online test prep websites like B Line Test Prep that will help you to make a great score, regardless of what you think your weak areas are.

One area of the GMAT where people often have trouble is the sentence completion part of the test. These questions aim to measure your knowledge of key grammatical points. Subjects covered may include the passive voice, mismatched subject/object pairs, incorrect verb tenses, and so on. Sentence Completion questions are a part of the verbal section of the quiz, and there are usually between sixteen and eighteen of them. Since the verbal section is only about forty questions, that makes this a very important part of the test that you’ll want to focus on in your online test prep studies or in whatever other test preparation method that you use.

The GMAT’s structure gives you four hours to complete the entire test, with two timed breaks of ten minutes each to give you a bit of a breather. This means that you have a little over three and a half hours for the test, or an hour and ten minutes for each of its three sections. Since the sentence completion part is about half of the exam’s verbal section, you’ll probably be using up somewhere between thirty and forty-five minutes completing and correcting sentences.

An Example Question:

The idea on the GMAT sentence completion questions is taking the sentence given to you and replace part of it with one of the choices listed below.

A) to take the sentence given to you and replace

B) taking the sentence given to you and replacing

C) take the sentence you were given and to replace

D) to taking a number of sentences you are given and replace

E) No change is required

Choice E is a popular one, and makes this section especially tricky, since not all sentences are actually incorrect.

Key statistics for the GMAT sentence completion:

* 16-18 questions in the verbal
* Verbal section consists of roughly 41 questions
* Aim to spend somewhere between half an hour and forty-five minutes on this portion of the test

Remember, sufficient test preparation is vital for success in this and other portions of the GMAT. Fortunately, there are great online test prep sites like B Line Test Prep to help you through your study period.

GMAT Reading Comprehension Section Broken Down

The GMAT reading comprehension section of the test is comprised of around twelve to fourteen questions that are within the verbal section of the test. The time available for the verbal section of the test is seventy five minutes. There are four passages to read with three to four questions following each passage. This section of the GMAT measures the skill to precisely and thoroughly read a passage, and then be able to correctly answer questions regarding it. The ability to draw conclusions from the material while paying attention to what the actual question is asking important. Certain parts of the text might be there just to confuse the test-taker. Attention to detail is essential for scoring well on the GMAT.

There are usually three areas that the reading comprehension section focuses on. They are Science (biology, etc.), Social Sciences (history, politics), and Business. The Science section usually has the factual questions, while the Social Sciences and Business sections usually contain the more difficult inference-type questions. A student may be asked to infer an author’s mood from reading a 200-400 word passage. These passages can often be filled with obscure words to further confound the test-taker.

Some useful tips for getting the optimum score on the GMAT include preparing as much as possible for the test. A student that uses multiple study methods such as flashcards, workbooks and an online test preparation course will be much better prepared than a student who does not utilize those methods. Studying over the course of three months is definitely favorable to studying for only three weeks. During the test, the test-taker should pace them self accordingly. Jot down notes in order grasp a certain concept. If a particular question is presenting a problem, then moving on to the next question and returning back to the more difficult question later is a viable option. Spending too much time on any one question can interfere with the ability to finish the test, therefore lowering the test score considerably.


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