SAT Curriculum

Tutoring in preparation for the SAT often significantly helps students who attempt OP subjects in their comprehension, reading, writing performance and mathematical reasoning. No element of Integrity's SAT curriculum/ preparation program is in conflict with the QSA's OP requirements. In fact, many students have reported to Integrity's principal tutor that their SAT preparation has significantly enhanced their OP performance across their range of subjects.

What's in the SAT?

Each standard edition of the SAT includes critical reading, mathematics, and writing questions divided into 10 test sections.

The SAT examines three areas:

1. Critical reading containing questions relating to:

  • Sentence completions
  • Passage-based reading (short passages), and
  • Passage-based reading (long passages);

[source: http://professionals.collegeboard.com/testing/sat-reasoning/about/sections/critical-reading ]

2. Mathematical Reasoning containing questions relating to:

The SAT maths topics cover the following areas:

  • Arithmetic
    • Basic Arithmetic
    • Fractions & Decimals
    • Percentages
    • Ratios & Proportions
  • Algebra
    • Polynomials
    • Solving equations/inequalities
    • Word Problems
    • Lines and angles
  • Geometry
    • Triangles
    • Quadrilaterals/polynomials
    • Circles
    • Solid geometry
    • Co-ordinate geometry
  • Miscellaneous topics
    • Logical reasoning
    • Counting & Probability
    • Functions & graphs
    • Interpretation of data

3. Writing skills containing questions relating to:

  • Improving sentences
  • Identifying sentence errors, and
  • Improving paragraphs

In More Detail…

Writing

The writing section consists of two types of questions:

  • An essay
  • Multiple-choice questions

The multiple-choice questions ask students to:

  • Recognize sentence errors
  • Choose the best version of a piece of writing
  • Improve paragraphs

[source: http://professionals.collegeboard.com/testing/sat-reasoning/about/sections/writing ]

The SAT Essay

What are the criteria for the best SAT essays?

The very best essays show

  • controlled, disciplined, skilful use of language, and logical, articulate use of argument. This is the standard towards which candidates will be working. If at all possible, despite the limited time in which to write (25 minutes),
  • superior development of a theme – that is, to develop a case line, a theme or a statement that the essay returns to repeatedly to emphasise the position on the topic.

Essays are double-blind marked by assessors in different parts of the United States, and if there is a discrepancy of more than one mark (on a scale of 1 to 6), are triple blind marked by an even more experienced assessor. That third mark then over-rides the other two.

In order to be successful in developing a logical and lucid argument in the SAT essay within a very limited timeframe (25 minutes in the SAT Reasoning Test – a very demanding yet not impossible task), every candidate needs to have

  • developed some high-level brainstorming techniques – again, developed by repeated practice, and
  • some clear, definitive examples (illustrations) of life principles available at instant recall (so as to speak), which can be readily recalled and modified depending upon the specifics of the position taken on the topic.

These matters are part of Integrity Tutoring's student preparation program.

What does the Writing section of the SAT measure?

The SAT Writing section measures a student's ability to develop and express ideas clearly and effectively. It consists of multiple-choice questions and a student-written essay. The multiple-choice section counts for approximately 70 percent and the essay counts for approximately 30 percent of the total raw score, which is used to calculate the 200- to 800-point score for the writing section.

The multiple-choice section measures students' ability to use language in a clear, consistent manner, and to improve a piece of writing through revision and editing. Questions ask students to recognize sentence errors, to choose the best version of a piece of writing and to improve paragraphs. The essay measures a student's skill in developing a point of view on an issue.

How is the SAT essay different from the QCS essay?

The essay is the opportunity to demonstrate writing skill and ability. In the very best SAT essays, examiners will see an insightful, disciplined, controlled, coherent, intelligent, convincing essay, illustrated with strong, relevant examples.

The SAT essay must be completed within 25 minutes. In the QCS writing task, students are provided with a colourful broadsheet of stimulus materials from which to write, and extends over 2 hours.

How do I improve my essay writing skill?

Essay writing is a skill which develops in exactly the same way as the development of any other skill (like learning to ride a push bike, or learning to play a musical instrument, or riding a surf board) – with constant P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E.

Not surprisingly, the more one practices, the better one becomes, and the more enjoyable the experience becomes.

Integrity Tutoring will provide very practical advice and modelling of essay writing skills as part of a student's preparation.

The Introductory Paragraph of the SAT Essay

  • should elaborate, develop, explain and expand on the case line/ theme
  • states clearly and confidently your position on the topic
  • elaborates on the subject, develops the core ideas,
  • explains, defines concepts, clarifies various aspects of your theme.
  • The link to the following paragraphs is a bridge that says something like: “There are several powerful reasons explaining (… the essay's theme)”

Examples (particularly Australian, or illustrations that have a more local context) need to be briefly contextualised (with an economy of words) for an American marker/ assessor.

Reading

The Reading questions assess students' reading skills, such as:

  • Identifying main and supporting ideas
  • Determining the meaning of words in context
  • Understanding authors' purposes
  • Understanding the structure and function of sentences.

Mathematical Reasoning

The questions require students to apply mathematical concepts and to use data literacy skills in interpreting tables, charts, and graphs. They cover skills in four major areas:

  • Numbers and operations
  • Algebra and functions
  • Geometry and measurement
  • Data analysis, statistics, and probability

The SAT maths topics cover the following areas:

Arithmetic

  • Basic Arithmetic
  • Fractions & Decimals
  • Percentages
  • Ratios & Proportions

Algebra

  • Polynomials
  • Solving equations/inequalities
  • Word Problems
  • Lines and angles

Geometry

  • Triangles
  • Quadrilaterals/polynomials
  • Circles
  • Solid geometry
  • Co-ordinate geometry

Miscellaneous topics

  • Logical reasoning
  • Counting & Probability
  • Functions & graphs
  • Interpretation of data

All maths problems require some logical and mathematical reasoning. Some questions are quite easy, others more complicated and more difficult. For Queensland students, the topics examined follow more closely the Senior OP Maths A syllabus content, understandings and skills. Higher order mathematics topics covered in Maths B and Maths C are of no real advantage in the SAT.

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