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
The pressure surrounding your performance on the SAT and ACT can be colossal. It may seem like everything—from admissions to scholarships to pride—is riding on those few hours spent huddled over a scantron form. For some students pressure is motivation, and they use the energy of the situation to focus and produce their best possible performance. However, for the majority of students, the pressure and their desire to perform well actually has the opposite effect, and leads them to struggle during the tests. How can you overcome this?
I’m not perfect. Don’t tell my mom or my kids that, but it’s true. I have flaws. I make mistakes. I even make mistakes at work (let’s keep my boss out of this conversation, too). One work mistake I have made in the past is in assuming that my students understand how to evaluate themselves. When I first meet with a tutoring student who hasn’t submitted a practice test, I’ll ask “What are your weaknesses on the SAT?” They answer something general, such as “Math,” because their grades haven’t met their expectations or simply because they don’t like it. But it doesn’t answer my question.
If you’re like most high school students, there isn’t a lot of downtime in your day, let alone time to study for something other than your normal homework. Yet the SAT looms in your future, and you keep hearing about how you need to start studying for it months—maybe even years—in advance. How can you fit SAT prep into an already overloaded school day? The solution is simple: study in 5-minute segments. Even the busiest teenager has 5 minutes to spare—whether riding in the car, waiting for practice to start, or sitting in the dentist’s office—so there are no excuses: start prepping for the SAT now.
You can procrastinate no longer, Juniors. If you haven't already starting to think about SAT prep, it's time. We recommend that all juniors take the test at least once in the spring of their junior year, and that they spend two to four months preparing for said test. As of today, you have 7 weeks until the March test, 14 weeks until the May test, and 19 weeks until the June test. But have no fear--I'm not throwing you into the deep end just yet. I’m going to ease you into the realm of college admissions tests by talking about goal-setting for the SAT.Read More
- Annie's belligerent attitude often got her sent to detention.
- Harry was not a belligerent man, but when the thief attacked him he didn't hesitate to punch the thief in the face.
Topics: SAT Word of the Day
When we teach SAT courses, we hand out a student profile which asks students about their SAT experience and expectations. One of the questions prompts them to list their target score. So many of the responses are the same: 1800. When we ask why they want an 1800, their answer is simple: “Because that’s a good score.”Read More