High-stakes standardized tests such as the SAT may seem daunting at first, but it is my firm belief that with the right instruction any student can improve their score. This is because the SAT is structured to test students on knowledge and mastery of specific concepts that do not change from test date to test date. With practice and a smart strategy these concepts can become second-nature to the motivated student (even writing an essay from an unknown prompt). Every student will come into the class with varying strengths and weaknesses, but I will do my best to help isolate difficulties and improve individual’s skills while providing a firm understanding of the structure of the SAT, the basic underlying concepts it tests, and the best strategies to ensure confidence on test day. The acquisition of these skills will go beyond test-day as well – helping your student communicate their ideas effectively in college essays, debates, and creative work, while gaining a deeper appreciation for good use of the English language around them.
At the end of this course, you will
The key to success on the SAT is taking practice that weaknesses can be identified and addressed and confidence/speed can be improved. Once all the grammatical concepts have been covered, and the method for writing essays has been taught, the class will consist mostly in solidifying this information through actual practice tests. I will provide a guide to students outlining the methods for this in addition to the material taught in class
|Week 1||Diagnostic Tests – Will administer a SAT Writing Practice Test and essay to assess the strengths and weaknesses of each student. Will also cover the structure of the exam and go over the course plan. If time permits, will begin going over grammatical concepts.|
|Week 2||Faulty Modifiers – words or phrases that describe something
Parallel Construction – a list where all the items have the same grammatical format
|Week 3||Sentences – made up of independent and dependent clauses
Plurals and Possessives – plural is when there is two or more of
something; possessive is when something belongs to something else
|Week 4||Pronouns – parts of speech that stand in for a noun (its antecedent)
Verbs – the SAT tests tense agreement and subject-verb agreement
|Week 5||Illogical Comparisons – you can only compare things that are alike in
some way; you can’t compare something to all things of that type? Concision and Redundancy – the SAT, however, is all about being as
|Week 6||Idioms and Standard English
Conjunctions and Conjunctive Adverbs – words that explain how two clauses in a sentence or successive sentences relate to one another
Throughout the course, we will get to know the three types of questions that will test these concepts – Improving Sentences, Identifying Sentence Errors, and Improving Paragraphs, and their variants.
|Week 8||Will begin class with Practice Tests on the above material, and begin introducing the concepts related to the essay section.
First we will cover how the essay section is graded, as this will focus students on meeting the criteria that graders are looking for – Each essay is given a score of 1-4 in the categories of reading, Analysis, and Writing by two different graders, with maximum possible score of 8 in each category. I have included a link to this rubric below.
Writing an SAT essay in 50 minutes consists of four major stages which
will be taught in depth:
We will also cover the 6 types of prompts you’ll see on Essay section and
how to approach them.
Type 1: Discuss what people should do
Type 2: Discuss which of two things is better
Type 3: Support or refute counterintuitive statements
Type 4: Analyzing Cause and Effect
Type 5: Generalizing about the State of the World
Type 6: Generalizing about people/human nature
The key to doing well on the essay section is confidence on test day and a solid grasp of what is desired by graders. Also invaluable is a wealth of general knowledge to help provide examples, and the ability to draw evidence from the text to support a thesis. The only homework assigned in this class (in addition to studying the grammatical/stylistic concepts presented) will be a requirement to read and analyze one op-ed piece a week from an outlet such as the New York Times or a comparable source. This will assist students with acquiring general knowledge and exposure to a variety of essay formats. There will also be a debate in the final two weeks, the subject of which is TBD. Students will apply the analyses of structure, use of evidence, and rhetorical techniques that they have learned in class to express and argue for their own points of view.
|Week 9-12||Weeks 9-14 – These will be spent solidifying the material presented in the previous section of the course through practice tests and the identification of individual needs for additional refreshing on specific topics. I will grade each student’s practice essays/tests and give personalized feedback on how to improve their scores and what concepts they need to review/practice.|
|Week 10||Practice Tests and Essays|
|Week 11||Practice Tests and Essays|
|Week 12||Practice Tests and Essays|
|Week 14||Debates (if we have this week)|
POLICIES AND PROCEDURES
Students will be expected to arrive on time and behave respectfully to everyone in the classroom. If a student will be absent they can either tell me in class the week before or e-mail me at the following address so that I can provide them with class materials and make sure they don’t fall behind. The only homework currently planned for this class is the article review assignment given above and studying the grammatical concepts/essay strategies given in the guide I will provide on the first day of class.
LINKS TO RESOURCES
Online Resources from College Board