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

5 Books So Good You Won’t Notice They’re Helping You Study for the SAT

Posted by Sarah B on 8/31/16 6:30 PM

The SAT is a very important test, but it can be hard to set aside the time to study for it amidst all your other school work and activities. When you already have problem sets to do and papers to write, another set of practice drills on reading comprehension can seem overwhelming.

That’s why sometimes the best studying happens when you don’t realize you’re doing it! This list contains some fun and engaging books that will help you practice the techniques you’ll be expected to use throughout the reading comprehension section of the exam.

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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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Score Choice, Superscore, and All Scores: Why You Should Care About the Difference

Posted by Martha C. on 6/1/16 9:30 AM

As you’re gearing up to submit your college applications, you’ll inevitably have to consider the ways your standardized test scores impact the strength of your overall standing.  Different schools review your test scores in different ways, so it’s imperative to familiarize yourself with the distinctions between each method, and strategically frame your scores whenever possible. For the SAT, there are three ways colleges consider your scores: Score Choice, Superscore, and All Scores. Let’s review the differences now.

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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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SAT & AP Tutoring Approaches with Eric

Posted by Eric on 4/11/16 9:30 AM

Eric is a doctoral candidate in the Urban Planning program at Columbia University.  Prior to enrolling at Columbia, he earned a Master’s degree in Urban Planning from NYU and a Bachelor’s degree in history from Bowdoin College.  Learn about different strategies Eric uses to approach SAT & AP Exam preparation! 

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Tags: SAT, AP exams, Tutoring Approaches

The SAT Essay Dissected: A Step by Step Guide

Posted by Nikita Saxena on 12/21/15 9:00 AM

For many students, the SAT essay is one of the most challenging parts of the exam. The short length of time means that you don't have the ability to develop a strong, well-thought-out 5 paragraph essay. Fortunately, similar to other sections on the SAT, you can succeed by taking a methodical approach, and after some practice, this will come naturally.

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Your Guide to the New SAT

Posted by Zoe Balaconis on 12/4/15 9:00 AM

The new 2016 SAT is promising to be very different from the SAT we’ve come to know, but don’t worry. Since this exam is testing you more on your critical thinking skills rather than specific information, if you’ve been practicing your reading comprehension and mathematical skills steadily throughout the academic year, you’re well on your way to being very prepared. Here are a few things to know about the new SAT before delving into it:

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Tags: SAT