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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Sample Questions on the New SAT

Current high school freshmen will be the first to encounter the new SAT in the spring of 2016. We've been given a few bullet points of what to expect:
  • vocabulary words that people actually use in college and work settings.
  • a Math section that focuses on algebra, data analysis and advanced math to include quadratic and higher-order equations, geometry and trigonometry. 
  • an exam that will include passages drawn from either founding documents or key global writings
  • a return to a 1600 point scale with two required sections (math and evidence-based reading and writing)and an optional 50 minute (twice as long as the current SAT) essay section.
  • multiple choice sections with four answers instead of five and no penalty for wrong answers
Here's a great side-by-side comparison of the current SAT and the revised version.

Last week some sample questions were released. This is a preview of where the creators of the revised exam are headed:

Testing for Relevant Words in Context

(. . .) The coming decades will likely see more intense clustering of jobs,innovation, and productivity in a smaller number of bigger cities and city-regions. Some regions could end up bloated beyond the capacity of their infrastructure, while others struggle, their promise stymied by inadequate human or other resources.
Adapted from Richard Florida, The Great Reset
©2010 by Richard Florida.
As used in line 55, “intense” most nearly means
A) emotional
B) concentrated
C) brilliant
D) determined

Passport to Advanced Math

The function f is defined by f(x)=2xcubed+3xsquared+cx+8 where c is a constant. In the xy-plane, the graph of f intersects the x-axis at the three points (–4, 0), (1/2, 0) and (p,0). What is the value of c?
A) –18
B) –2
C )2
D) 10

If you're really into this kind of stuff, the College Board has released a 211 page document, Test Specifications for the Redesigned SAT, (it's on my reading list now) that will give a detailed overview of the rationale for, and the goals of, this new test. 
By the way, the correct answers to the questions above are B) concentrated and A) –18...but you already knew that, didn't you?