James Z.

Recent Posts

What's the Difference Between the Old SAT and New SAT? 5 Major Changes on the Reading Section

Posted by James Z. on 12/5/16 9:09 PM

What does the reading section look like on the new SAT? In short, it’s a lot more predictable and straightforward than its predecessor, but there are some changes that could prove tricky. Let’s look at these changes in detail.

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Tags: SAT

Reading or Math? How to Decode Word Problems on the New SAT

Posted by James Z. on 11/25/16 7:13 PM

Mathematical Applications on the SAT 

The College Board emphasizes that the Mathematics section on the new SAT is intended to test especially the mathematical knowledge that will be relevant for a broad range of careers—not only the mathy professions like accounting, statistics, or chemistry—as well as for the needs of daily life. Mathematics for the non-mathematicians, in other words.

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Tags: SAT

New SAT Writing and Language: Methods for Composition and Style

Posted by James Z. on 10/14/16 7:00 PM

In the first of this series of posts on the SAT’s Writing and Language section, I distinguished between two broad types of questions: 1) grammar and punctuation and 2) composition and style. Although the test will not explicitly flag questions as belonging to one or the other type, it is useful to be aware of the distinction in order to understand the different methods that each type requires. For the most part, grammar and punctuation questions deal (as we have seen) with the analysis of the constructions of particular sentences and the applications of rules that guide correct usage in these constructions. The correct or incorrect answers can be found by testing the sentence against these rules. Do the subject and verb agree? Is a modifying clause next to the word that it modifies? Does a complete sentence precede and follow a semi-colon? And so forth. 

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Tags: SAT

An Introduction to the New SAT Writing and Language: Part II

Posted by James Z. on 9/5/16 6:00 PM

Grammar on the SAT

In my last post, I discussed several types of punctuation that you might meet on the Writing and Language section of the SAT. But incorrect usage of punctuation is not the only thing you will need to look out for when assessing whether there may be an error in a passage: you also need to ask yourself whether everything grammatically checks out. In this post, we’ll be taking a closer look at what exactly it means for a sentence to be grammatically correct (or incorrect) with the aid of a case study: grammatical agreement. (More on what that means below.) 

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Tags: SAT

The New SAT: How to Avoid Punctuation Problems

Posted by James Z. on 8/10/16 6:30 PM

The questions on the new SAT Writing and Language section can be sorted into roughly one of two categories: 1) grammar and punctuation, and 2) composition and style. In a series of three blog posts, we will work through each of these categories and get a sense for what kind of knowledge they test.

In this post, we will take a closer look at the first category, grammar and punctuation. More specifically, we’ll look at some types of punctuation questions that might show up on the test. (In the next post, we’ll come back to grammar.)

There’s a lot more than we can cover in one post, but here is a start.

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Tags: SAT

3 Essential Steps to Breaking Down the New SAT Essay

Posted by James Z. on 7/20/16 7:00 PM

There are many differences between the old and the new SAT. One of Cambridge Coaching's seasoned SAT tutors will walk you through the updates (and how they impact your test taking strategies!), while giving you step-by-step instructions on how to prepare for the new version of the test.

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Tags: SAT

The New SAT Reading in Focus: “Evidence Questions”

Posted by James Z. on 5/23/16 9:00 AM

The Old

When I tutored the old SAT, I heard a lot of complaints from my students about the reading sections. One recurring subject was the passage-based reading questions. These questions seemed “subjective,” students told me: the answers did not depend on concrete facts or skills, as for the writing (grammar) or mathematics sections, but instead on “feelings” or an emotional reaction to the passage.

The New

Although the situation with the old SAT was never as dire as it sometimes seemed (there were in fact skills that could help overcome even the most difficult reading passages), the new SAT has gone a long way towards bringing out into the open the logic that was lurking behind the scenes. You should see immediate benefits from the increased clarity of these new reading questions.

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Tags: SAT