PEMBROKE PINES, FL - MARCH 06:  Suzane Nazir uses a Princeton Review SAT Preparation book to study for the test on March 6, 2014 in Pembroke Pines, Florida. Yesterday, the College Board announced the second redesign of the SAT this century, it is scheduled to take effect in early 2016.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
            (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Prior to writing his piece, Practicing For The New SAT? Savor Virginia Woolf — And ForbesMr. Anders, an author and Forbes contributor, had run a “one-student cram school” for his son in preparation for the former SAT. The exam was somewhat familiar to him as that particular format was similar to the test he had taken when in high school – minus analogies and quantitative comparisons (This newly designed SAT’s changes go way beyond most others.)

So, with an informed perspective of the former SAT, he was pleased to notice that on the College Board website, this redesigned SAT was more relevant to high school learning. It also “measures the essential ingredients for college and career readiness and success”.

That said, he made the commitment to devote 3 hours over Memorial Day weekend to pour through the test. He went to the College Board website who had smartly partnered with Khan Academy to provide readily accessible materials and practice exams.

He immediately noticed a “new vibe to the test”. Perhaps the College Board has finally gotten it right: This new SAT “actually tracks pretty closely to what an attentive high school student would know”. Ultimately, if you do well in school, you shouldn’t need to create a drastic change in lifestyle to do well on this test.

What stood out to him on the math was that the games and mental gymnastics are gone. The new test has more charts and graphs and looks like what students would encounter in a science or even history class. Reading and interpreting data should not be unfamiliar to the typical high school student. Knowledge of higher level math only through Algebra II is expected, whereas on the former version, that level of math was rarely if ever broached.

What he noticed about the reading was that the student clearly needs to know the main idea of the passage in order to answer the questions. These passages require “a genuine understanding of what the passage is all about”. NOTE: Important survival skills for college. (May I plug Breakthrough Test Prep a moment: The ONLY prep program that actually teaches critical reading skills and how to improve reading efficiency).

What really got his attention was that the passages were not predominantly the esoteric type of excerpts, but many were actually from more contemporary media. In fact, he couldn’t help but notice that on one of the College Board posted tests, there was an except from another Forbes contributor, Adriana Lopez, a piece about freelancers who prefer to work in a communal environment.

Bottom line, if you want your student to have sharper reading skills, actually develop a comfort level with what they would experience on the exam, and even learn cool stuff, have your teen read articles from the following media sites: Forbes, Inc., The Economist, The Atlantic, Wall Street Journal, Time Magazine. You could also purchase the paper version. They still exist!

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