Frequently Asked Questions – III

How Important Is Stress Reduction?

My thirty years of coaching remind me how important stress reduction is to high SAT I scores. In fact, in my opinion, it is the most important preparation variable. For Christians, at leas, stress reduction is best accomplished by a frequent and thorough devotional and Bible memorization program. The SAT and College Preparation Course for the Christian Student amply discusses this point and provides preparation exercises that will equip the student to be ready for the SAT I.

How is the 2005 SAT Different from Other SATs?

The new 2005 SAT I, more than ever, requires the student to participate in higher thinking exercises. Sixty percent of the present SAT I is critical reading exercises. That percentage will increase with the 2005 exam. In fact, the College Board is renaming the verbal section of the SAT I “Critical Reading.” This change in titling shows how serious the College Board folks are about critical reading. The verbal section will no longer include analogies. Instead, short reading passages will be added to existing long reading passages. A new section called the SAT writing section will be added. It will contain multiple-choice grammar questions as well as a written essay, which will require the student to take a position on an issue and use examples to support their position.

Students do not have to know how to solve quadratic equations to do well on the math portion of the SAT I. Some algebra and basic geometry is helpful, but I have found that the key to high performance on the math portion is the same as it is on the verbal portion: critical thinking and critical reading skills. Thus, best scores come from individuals who think well and read well ? even if their math skillls are average. The 2005 SAT I math section will not only cover concepts from geometry and elementary algebra, it will contain concepts from Algebra II. The math computation on the SAT I is usually not difficult. What may make the math portion of the SAT I difficult is that it is often presented in a word problem format. Thus strong critical thinking and advanced critical reading skills will increase SAT I math as well as SAT I verbal scores. The addition of Algebra II computations should not alarm good students. Good student, especially good homeschooled students, usually have had or are taking Algebra II before or during the junior year when the SAT I should be taken.

In summary, changes to the 2005 SAT I include:

  • A student-written essay
  • Analogies eliminated
  • Shorter reading passages added
  • New content from third-year college preparatory math
  • Quantitative comparisons eliminated

(For further information regarding the 2005 SAT I, see

What About Learning Disabled Students?

A student at any grade level with a documented disability is eligible for special arrangements for the PSAT and SAT. For further information, call the College Board at (212) 713-8000.

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