The “new SAT” that came out in 2016 is almost a complete copy of the ACT. The main differences are in the lack of a “science” section on the SAT, some slight differences in the math sections, and differences between the optional essays.
The SAT has graphs and charts to interpret in the reading and writing sections to make up for the lack of a “science” section. Since the ACT “science” section is mostly the “Can you interpret a graph or a chart?” section, and some SAT reading and writing sections are science-based, that’s not a bad substitute.
The math sections differ in that the SAT has two sections - one “calculator,” and one “no calculator,” whereas the ACT has one long section where calculator use is permitted. The SAT problems involve more creativity and thought - or to put it more negatively, involve more “tricks.” The ACT math section involves doing 60 questions in 60 minutes. They’re more straightforward than SAT questions.
Both tests will give you “fill in the formula” questions for complex formulas, to see if you can manipulate equations and substitute in values. The SAT has the same little formula box in at the beginning of both sections, in which basic geometric formulas are printed, as well as some other basic math formulas. The ACT expects you to know the basic formulas.
The optional essays for the tests differ. The ACT presents you with a description of an issue, along with three perspectives on that issue. Your job is to write an essay discussing all three perspectives, then explaining your own perspective, which could be agreeing with one of the perspectives, partially agreeing with one or more, or presenting an entirely different perspective.
The SAT presents you with a persuasive essay of some sort, usually a newspaper or magazine editorial. Unlike the ACT prompt, the SAT prompt does NOT ask for your opinion on the subject of the essay, but instead asks you to analyze how the author uses facts, rhetoric, and logic to present his or her case. It helps to know the meanings of the words “ethos,” “pathos,” and “logos.”
That’s about it - hope this helps!
Does reading the SAT preparation books made for earlier SAT exams help for the new ones (the ones starting from 2016)? (From Quora)
The math is the same for pre-2016 and 2016-and-later “new” SAT books. with the exception of right-triangle trigonometry and imaginary and complex numbers. The books I used before and after 2016 didn’t bother to write very many new math problems for the chapters on subjects common to the new and old SAT (i.e., everything but right-triangle trig and imaginary/complex numbers). They did come up with many new problems for the practice tests, and those problems are a bit different from old SAT problems. But you can learn these problems by doing similar ones from the College Board’s website (don’t bother to buy THEIR books - the same tests are available for free download from their website, and their review chapters aren’t that great) or from Khan Academy.
Alec G-Man is correct, to some extent, in that old (or new) ACT books would work better for SAT prep than old SAT books, because the new SAT practically copied the ACT wholesale - the new SAT writing section is basically the ACT English (as some SAT prep tutors commented in the documentary “The Test,” the ACT people (American College Testing) should seriously consider suing the College Board for copyright infringement. And older SAT grammar/usage/vocabulary “sentence correction” problems would still be good practice for the writing/English portion of the SAT or ACT.
However, the SAT math questions are more “trick question”-like than most ACT questions, so I’d be more inclined to use old SAT math books than ACT ones to study for the new math SAT. I also really like most test prep books’ coverage of the tips and tricks for countering common SAT tricks and for guessing (which they’re not going to give you on the College Board site or Khan Academy’s videos, as far as I can tell - it’d be like the California Highway Patrol telling people where the freeway speed traps are).
I’d say you can use the old review books for the math and general practice, but you really should try a post-2016 review book for additional practice and better explanations than the College Board’s answer explanations. Khan Academy is great, but Barron’s SAT is really great for learning the tricks to SAT taking, as are books from Kaplan, Princeton Review, etc. Why don’t you see if you can look at a post-2016 SAT book at your public library, or post on FreeCycle, Rooster, or Craigslist to ask for one? I’m sure at least a few people near you have such a book to give away.
Best of luck,
Two More SAT Success Stories!
Two new success stories - one of my students scored 360 points higher on the August 2018 SAT than on her previous SAT! Another student of mine, taking the same SAT, scored a 1500 (790 math; 710 verbal)!
I’m not sure what you mean by “a couple points,” since the minimum increment is 10 points on the SAT, but I assume you mean by a small amount. I’d say the easiest way is to study the grammar for the writing/editing multiple choice section. Make sure you know the rules regarding “who” and “whom” “he/she/they” “him/her/them.”
Memorize the formulas in the little box before each math section, so you don’t have to spend time looking at them when you’re taking the test. Know the difference of squares (a+b)(a-b), as well as the binomial expansions for (a+b)(a+b) and (a-b)(a-b). Know your squares from 1 to 20. Know the properties of transversals, circles, and squares. Know the sum of the internal angles for a polygon with n sides = (n-2)*180.
Practice the reading and read the vocabulary section of Barron’s SAT or a similar SAT book. Practice all the SAT questions in general. Take a practice SAT in the actual time you’d have on the test.
What Did You Do in High School that Helped You to Get a High ACT/SAT Score? (From Quora)
I studied hard to learn the material, as Jon Richards noted, a little at a time. Studies in neuroscience have proven you can’t learn effectively through last-minute “cram studying.”
Read a lot; it’s the only way you’ll do well on the reading section. You’ll need to know lots of vocabulary and be accustomed to looking for main points in reading passages. And you’ll have to be able to do that for the rest of your life. Read op-ed (opinion-editorial) pieces in newspapers or their online equivalents so you will know common argument forms and how they are made. YouTube is a really good place to find such things in video form.
Practice your math - if you really pay attention in math class, you’ll know everything you need to know for the math SAT, EXCEPT the typical SAT tricks, that you can learn fairly quickly using any review book (other than the official SAT books - asking them to teach you what tricks they use, or what shortcuts you can use is like asking the highway patrol where the speed traps will be today).
Pay attention in science if you’re taking the ACT - while you don’t need to know MUCH science to do well on the ACT science section, there are always a few questions where you DO need to know a little of the science involved, or where knowing the science will make the passage much easier to understand. This will also help with reading passages that deal with the natural sciences. Believe me -I’ve heard people complain loudly about science problems being in reading or math tests when they didn’t really need to understand the science to do the math, and the science could be understood well enough to answer the reading questions. Don’t be one of THOSE people. No one will want to hear your complaint, and no one will take it seriously. Pay attention in ALL your classes, and the ACT and SAT will not be that daunting.
Hope this helps!
Author: John Linneball Who did you think? ;-)
I'm the proprietor and only tutor for this business; that's why I named it after me.