Still June, still SAT-free, right? Works for me.
Let’s keep June SAT-free, shall we? It just seems unnatural to think about standardized tests right after the school year ends. Next month, after the holiday, you can start thinking about college admissions again, but for now, let’s just concentrate on what’s important: summer.
As schools across the country start to let out for summer break this week (except for those of you in northern states, of course, who have to make up snow days until July), the last thing you want to talk about is the SAT, right? I understand. I don’t get as many vacations in a year as you do, but when I do, you won’t find me on the beach or by the pool addressing the secrets of a 30:60:90 triangle. It’s okay if you need a couple of weeks to unwind, but unfortunately, I’m not on vacation with you. I have to write about the SAT. It’s my job. So as a compromise, I promise not to mention The-Test-That-Must-Not-Be-Named by name, and instead talk about some seemingly unrelated activities you can do this summer to help you prepare without even realizing it.
Today’s blog focuses on a great time-saving trick in the SAT Writing section. Can you spot the error in the following sentence?
Weighing in at two and a half tons, Grandma drove the heavy 1974 Buick station wagon for over thirty-five years.Read More
You’ve probably been leaning on your calculator for so long that you’ve forgotten what a complex fraction even is.
The College Board likes to reach way back into your math history to gather concepts you learned in elementary school (remainders, anyone?). The more years that have passed since you mastered an operation, the more likely that operation will appear (and cause panic) on the SAT. One of the most anxiety-inducing concepts for high school students is complex fractions, those fractions that have a separate fraction in the numerator and/or denominator:
While a few SAT Reading questions will ask you about the passage as a whole, the majority of questions will send you back to the passage with a specific line reference. Consider some examples:
As a test prep teacher(and let’s admit it—an SAT geek), I have worked with over a thousand students in my career. Ninety nine percent of them have come to me with misconceptions about the test which ultimately led to errors in their execution. These errors make a test guru cringe, because they are easily preventable if you take the time to learn about the SAT before taking the test.
As you have probably heard by now, a redesigned SAT is debuting in the spring of 2016. And this probably has some of you wondering if you should take the present test or wait until next year to take the new version. Few Juniors have a choice--you will be taking the test before it changes. But for current sophomores, I strongly urge you to take the test prior to March 2016. Here's why:
Both of the following sentences are correct:
You can succeed on the SAT by reading, by studying, and by taking a prep class. [Correct]
You can succeed on the SAT by reading, studying, and taking a prep class. [Correct]
In the first sentence, the preposition by is used by all three items in the list: by reading, by studying, and by taking. In the second example, the preposition by is only used by the first item: by reading, studying, and taking.
This sentence, however, is incorrect:
You can succeed on the SAT by reading, by studying, and taking a prep class. [Incorrect]
Only two of the items in the series use the preposition by, making the sentence ungrammatical.
A series using prepositions does not have to repeat the same preposition:
We have a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Just ensure that all of the objects receive a preposition. This sentence is incorrect:
You can travel to the town on a plane, in a car, or a boat. [Incorrect]
The nouns plane and car are the objects of the prepositions on and in. Because the noun boat is in the same series, it must also be the object of a preposition:
You can travel to the town on a plane, in a car, or by a boat. [Correct]
Examine a question type that might appear on the SAT using unparallel prepositions:In the relative phrase, there are three groups of people for whom the toys are being collected: for children, parents, and for babies. Notice that the second group, parents, is missing a preposition. Either all three of the groups must use a preposition:
for children in the shelter,
for parents who are unemployed over the holidays, and
for babies in the hospital
Or just the first group:
for children in the shelter,
parents who are unemployed over the holidays, and
babies in the hospital
Since parents is not underlined, the preposition for cannot be added to that word. However, for can be deleted from the third group, babies:
The toy drive—which collects new toys for children in the shelter, parents who are unemployed over the holidays, and babies in the hospital—is slated to start the last week in November. [Correct]
Now the sentence is parallel. The error is answer choice (C).
Did you find this helpful? It’s just one of dozens of errors highlighted in The SAT Writing Bible.
Photo: Today's repeating pattern, courtesty of Kevin Dooley