Some have thought long and hard about the SAT and formed their own opinions about the SAT. Others, despite knowing the importance of the test, have never really thought about the test and thus have limited knowledge about the test.
Identifying the exact purpose of the test and what the test measures to accomplish that purpose is critically important, for not knowing these two factors can severely impede the efficiency of the students’ ability to improve their scores. This is because students who do not know the purpose behind the test and what the test measures will not know exactly what to study to improve their scores. Therefore, many students fall into the trap of thinking that they simply lack proficiencies in English or Math. This trap is particularly dangerous for students who feel that their weakness is in English.
While students can most often improve their SAT math scores by reviewing the mathematical concepts taught in school and solving SAT math problems, the same does not apply to reading, grammar, or the essay section of the SAT. This is because most schools do not teach the essential reading, grammar, or essay skills necessary for the SAT. Furthermore, in most cases, simply memorizing vocabulary, learning grammatical concepts, and practicing essay (1) does not dramatically improve students’ English proficiencies and (2) does not help raise students’ scores. Even when the students’ English proficiency does improve, the increase in scores is limited. This is because the reading, grammar, and essay sections of the SAT do not measure students’ English proficiency but other abilities. In short, many students often dedicate too much time and effort to inefficient means of study to increase their SAT scores.
To find the most efficient means of study, students must first figure out the purpose of the test and what the test measures, and the best place to find the answer to these is the College Board, the makers of the test.
According to Test Specifications for the Redesigned SAT, a report issued by College Board, the SAT is a standardized test that measures students’ fundamental academic skills (in reading comprehension, computational ability, and clarity of expression) so that colleges can use the data to predict the students’ academic performances at the colleges. In fact, in the Test Specifications for the Redesigned SAT, a 210-page report, the following words and concepts appeared repeatedly.
It is clear from the report (published by the source) that the SAT is a test of skills and reasoning ability. Thus, it is also obvious that most efficient means of study for students is to acquire and master the skills that the College Board specifies as essential and learn to reason logically so that the students can demonstrate through the test their college and career readiness and future success. Evidently, College Boards equates mastery of skills to a students’ ability and predictive measures for students’ future success.