Updated: Dec 2, 2018
Let’s be clear. The SAT sucks in a different way than the ACT. The new SAT, as of March 2016, is based out of 1600 points as opposed to the first new SAT which was a 2400-point test. These multiple test changes result in conflicting information on the internet. The test used to be two-thirds English and one-third Math, but currently it is 50-50. The SAT is logic-based which tests you on your ability not to get duped by the test. In the end, it does not matter which standardized test you choose (link here to comparison of the two) to take because all colleges accept both. Let’s jump into the SAT and find out why it SUCKS!
Reading Comprehension Section
52 questions in 65 minutes
Over the course of 65 minutes, there are five different passages.
In other words, you will read five different stories, written by five different authors with five distinct voices in just over an hour. By the fifth passage, it is difficult to manage all of the information that has been crammed into your brain.
One of the five passages will be in a passage one/passage two format forcing you to compare the two and essentially sneaking in a sixth reading passage.
You are also guaranteed to have one passage that is antiquated, difficult to read, and filled with large vocabulary.
Line identification is a new type of question in this section only found on the SAT, which functions as a test within the test. You need prove how you arrived at an answer to the previous question by citing the lines from the passage where you found your answer. These are handcuffed questions and you stand the chance of losing both points if you don't get it which really sucks. These questions can lead students on a wild goose chase if not prepared on how to conquer it.
Overall, there is too much information being thrown at you all at once. This section is really long and the first one that you do on the SAT, which leaves you exhausted for the rest of the test. Therefore you must walk into this test prepared to read a lot of material for hours at a time. If you know what you’re doing, it becomes relatively easy to find the correct answers in this section.
To start practicing reading comprehension questions, CLICK HERE
44 questions in 35 minutes
There are only 44 questions in the grammar section. This is 31 questions less than the ACT grammar section. You might tell yourself that a section with less questions means it is easier to tackle… EH! WRONG!
This version of the SAT test imitates the ACT grammar section. The problem with this is that the SAT has done a terrible job of copying and that is what makes it suck. The layout is confusing making it difficult to understand which question belongs to which part of the passage, which is clearly a fundamental problem.
The SAT includes an annoying type of question where you are given a sentence and asked to choose where it belongs in a longer passage. These somewhat subjective questions are difficult to answer without specifically training for them.
Overall, the flow of this section is not smooth. By the time you get into the groove of a short reading passage, you switch to a new passage. This is done on purpose.
The SAT strives to create difficult testing circumstances. The good news is with practice and preparation anyone can overcome this section and conquer the test.
For more tips on how to handle the SAT grammar section CLICK HERE
Math Section/ No Calculator
20 questions in 25 minutes
This section sucks, plain and simple, because you are not allowed to use your calculator.
This will be really tough for someone who does not feel comfortable with math, because you're guaranteed to have questions that use decimals and fractions hands down. If decimals and fractions freak you out, you better get a handle of it before you walk into this test.
Confidence aside, human error is a fact of life. It is possible to make small mechanical errors at any point during simple math, i.e., multiplication, division or subtraction. It is important to have a system in place to check your math. That being said, most of these questions can be solved without doing detailed math.
Student response answers are the suckiest part of the SAT by far. The SAT is the only test that isn't multiple choice all the way through which sucks. No one wants to take a non-multiple choice standardized test, which is exactly why the SAT has 5 student response questions in section 3. You will have to do the math, trust your own answer and bubble it in correctly. No pressure.
While this section is only 20 questions, it is essential that you build confidence and feel comfortable working on math problems without your calculator.
I find this section to be the hardest; it gets harder faster because there are fewer questions and some questions really make you wish you had your calculator.
CLICK HERE for sample math problems. Calculator not permitted.
38 questions in 55 minutes
This math section is only 38 questions. Don’t be deceived by the number of questions. This is still a hard math section.
The questions are purposefully worded to make you feel like you’ve never learned this math before.
Remember, the section has more to do with deciphering what the question is asking of you, than it does with complex math which sucks.
That being said, while I teach strategies to tackle these problems this section does require a strong mathematical background. You need to know how to use formulas plain and simple. There is no getting around that. What makes this section suck is figuring out what the question is testing you on because there is always a short cut to getting the correct answer.
The worst part of this section is the approximately 8 questions where you are required to supply the answer independent of multiple-choice. More student response answers!
Here’s an SAT Math fun fact. On the non-multiple choice questions there are sometimes several answer choices that are correct. This means that a certain range of answers are acceptable as correct. Now imagine realizing there are multiple answers to a student response question and the agony of indecision that follows. Thankfully, there are ways to prepare for this test and feel more confident.
CLICK HERE for sample math questions.
Essay Section (Optional)
This section is not your typical “ do you like this or dislike that” type of essay.
You will be asked to read an article, most likely on a boring topic written by a well known and admired historical figure, i.e., Martin Luther King, Theodore Roosevelt or Susan B. Anthony.
You will need to identify the topic of the article as well as how the author presents their argument using different types of rhetoric.
In order to pass this section you have to be a competent writer knowledgeable of how to cite rhetorical devices, create an organized and sophisticated paper, and analyze an article.
What sucks here is the fact that you have to read and then write an essay, rather than just write your own essay on one topic. Also, the SAT does not care about your opinion of the topic, they just want you to talk about how good the author is at conveying their argument, which is very sucky for some students.
I hope this article helps you figure out which test sucks less. If you would like a more straightforward comparison between the two tests, CLICK HERE. If you want to learn more, check out my other blog titled Why the ACT Sucks. Whichever test you choose: study, practice and focus because you will need it to persevere. Good luck!
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