Out with the old, in with the new. The College Board will begin administering its revamped SAT in March 2016. If you have been preparing for the old exam, fear not; many of the skills you have been practicing will transfer to the new exam. Let’s take a closer look at which math skills are the most relevant to the new SAT:
Any Algebra Skill
The new SAT has a large focus on algebraic concepts. This includes solving equations, writing algebraic statements, plugging in appropriate variables, equation manipulation, etc.
Solving For Statements, Not Variables
This was the focus of November’s blog. I recommend looking at this if you have not already. This skill is more prevalent on the new SAT.
This includes properties and equations of lines, determining slope, interpreting graphs, using information to create a linear relationship, and other ideas relating to points and lines. Make sure you have a firm understanding of what slope truly means and how the y-intercept can be interpreted in word problems. It is also important to be able to identify the vertex and x – intercepts of parabolas.
The new SAT is almost entirely word problems. Many problems take simple concepts and place them into “real world” scenarios. Here is an example:
a = 18t + 15
Jane made an initial deposit to a savings account. Each week thereafter she deposited a fixed amount to the account. The equation above models the amount a, in dollars, that Jane has deposited after t weekly deposits. According to the model, how many dollars was Jane’s initial deposit?
This is also an example of understanding the y-intercept, which was just mentioned above.
Even though there are many skills that transfer, the new SAT reads very differently than the old SAT. There will be a learning curve as you get accustomed to figuring out what the question is asking for, just like with the old SAT. This skill of recognizing concepts and question format will be one of the trickiest aspects of the test. Unfortunately, this skill does not transfer, and the only way to really build it is to practice problems and become familiar with the exam.