Today I wanted to share a question I am frequently asked: What part of the SAT has been known to be most challenging for students?
A: The subjects or topics tested for on the SAT are taught throughout high school. When you encounter these topics on test day, they should be fairly familiar. Some of the topics that you can expect to see include the following:
Math: Percentages, Ratios, Averages, Advanced Algebra, Word Problems, Equations, Functions, Logic, and Geometry
Writing: English grammar rules and the essay
Reading: Reading skills and Vocabulary
Assuming a working knowledge of all these topics, the real challenge is the ascending level of difficulty being tested for. You must understand each topic at 3 different levels of difficulty – easy, medium, and hard.
Now that you understand what it takes, a number of our students have cited the SATs reading section as the most challenging. To do well on this section you must do the following:
Master SAT Vocabulary
It’s important to do more than just memorize words like extrapolate, abstemious, or solicitous. You should be learning these words in a way that allows you to use them correctly in a sentence. Flashcards and memorization are one way to this. A better way would be spending some time on our Vocab Game.
This topic is large enough to be its own blog post, but I’ll offer a few quick tips.
- Start by reading the entire prompt with the goal of understanding the overall logic of the sentence; underline any descriptive words
- Eliminate answer choices that do not fit this logic
- Once you have chosen the right word(s) be sure to plug them back into the prompt to make sure they make sense.
Get familiar with the question types that are tested for on the Reading Section
We all know how to read already, so that is likely not the problem. The reading section has questions that are based on sentence completions as well as passage-based reading. We have addressed sentence completion questions above, but within each one of these topics you can expect to find the following question types and many others:
- Critical Analysis
- Main Idea
- Author’s Purpose
- Comparison Questions
- Vocabulary Questions
Finally, understand exactly what the question is asking you and answer in a short amount of time!