How to use your old SAT Bibles for the new SAT

SAT Prep | SAT

Last week we lookedHow to use your old SAT Bibles for the new SAT (Chameleon) at how to use the old Official SAT Study Guide to prepare for the new SAT. Today we’ll look at which chapters of the SAT Bibles still apply to the new exam.


Material to skip: The format of the test has completely changed, so avoid Chapter One and Chapter Two (the “Rethinking the SAT” section on pages 15-20 can still help you focus on positive thinking, though, so it’s worth a second read-through). The test makers have removed the Sentence Completion questions so you can completely eliminate Chapters 3-5 and the Vocabulary in Appendix B. Most of Chapter 6 is no longer needed, either, but the test makers have added more vocabulary to the questions about passages, so the sections on Roots and Affixes and Word Sense may still be helpful.

Material to study: All of the material in Chapters 7-13, with the exception of pages 214-217, are still valid for improving your score on the new test. In Chapter 14, all of the exercises except those on pages 366-367 and 371 provide great practice for the redesigned SAT.

Material to brush up on in the new Official SAT Study Guide: The new test has added a new type of question called Command of Evidence. These questions ask you where in the text you found the answer to a previous question or where you would find evidence to support a conclusion. You can see an example of two Command of Evidence questions on page 336 of the New Blue Book or on page 4 of the first free test (questions 5 and 10). Command of Evidence questions are now the most prevalent question type on the test, so it is extremely important you familiarize yourself with them prior to taking the new SAT. If you want to practice Command of Evidence in the Old Blue Book, simply underline the portion of text that provides the answer to questions about a specific portion of the test.

The new SAT also contains questions about one or two science-related graphics that accompany passages. Most of these questions have more to do with science than with reading, but you should investigate them in the New Blue Book before taking the test (two examples appear in questions 20 and 21 on page 339 of the New Blue Book or on page 7 of the first free test).


Material to skip: Because the format of the test has changed, most of Chapters 1 and 2 can be omitted. The exceptions are the “Rethinking the SAT” section on pages 15-20, the Grid-In information on pages 36-39, and the Classroom Math section on pages 40-43.

Material to study: All of the content in the remainder of the book (Chapters 3-10) is still tested on the new SAT.

Material to brush up on in the New Blue Book: You will want to review the Math section in the New Blue Book to learn about the “No Calculator” section, item sets, and the new focus on Algebra. You should also review basic Trigonometry, as it’s been added to the test.


Material to skip: Again, with the test changing format, you should eliminate most of Chapters 1 and 2. I would recommend re-reading “Rethinking the SAT” section on pages 14-19, though, because it addresses positive thinking and how it can improve your test score. The essay is now optional and has changed considerably, so avoid Chapter 12.

Material to study: All of content covered in Chapters 3-9 is still assessed on the new SAT. You must be aware, however, that the format of the questions has changed entirely (from individual sentences with errors to passages with errors), so do not expect the errors to be presented in the same way. Still, someone who practices with this book and becomes proficient in recognizing errors in single sentences should have no problem translating that knowledge to a test where errors occur in passages. As for Chapter 10, many of the strategies listed there will still apply to the new test, although they may need to be adapted slightly to fit the format of the test.

Material to brush up on in the New Blue Book: The Writing section has changed the most, so you have the most outside work in this subject area compared to the other two. In addition to completely revamping the format (think ACT English section), the test makers have added punctuation errors, word choice (i.e. it’s/its and there/their/they’re), degree of formality, and style maintenance to the test. They have also thrown some vocabulary questions and science questions into the mix. As in the Reading section, the science questions are more about science than about Writing, but you need to be aware of them before test day.


If you have any questions about how to use your PowerScore Bibles to prepare for the new test or for the ACT, let me know!

Image: "Blue chameleon," courtesty of Tambako The Jaguar