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How hard are the SATs?

oystershelleatmeoystershelleatme Posts: 120Registered User Junior Member
edited June 2011 in SAT Preparation
Ok, so I'm going into 9th grade next year, and since all of my older high school friends are always freaked out about the SATs, I just want to know how difficult they are. Here are some questions for someone who has taken them or someone who is going to take them:

1. What's the hardest section?

2. Do they try to be really tricky?

3. What is the single most hard question?

4. How hard is it to get a perfect score?

5. How are the SATs different then the ACT?

Thanks!! Please respond with answers!
Post edited by oystershelleatme on
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Replies to: How hard are the SATs?

  • MarlonBrandoMarlonBrando Posts: 170Registered User Junior Member
    The material on the SAT isn't hard other than perhaps vocabulary. The hardest thing about the SAT is taking a test and focusing over a span of nearly 4 hours. Most people would say Critical Reading is the hardest section, but that's subject to your strengths and weaknesses.
  • MD MomMD Mom Posts: 6,728Registered User Senior Member
    I have one child who really likes taking standardized tests. When she was in grade school, she would come out of school after a day of testing and say something like: "There were two questions I didn't know the ansers too." She did not find the tests hard.

    The best thing that you can do for yourself is be familiar with the format. Buy one of the study books and get familiar with the types of questions that are asked. The tests are long, which is one of the biggest problems for young people.

    The ACT has science and social studies sections, which the SAT does not.

    Getting a perfect score is a combination of test-taking skill, knowledge, and luck--getting questions you know and not getting caught up on anything.
  • oystershelleatmeoystershelleatme Posts: 120Registered User Junior Member
    WOW!! I have studying to do!
  • coolapple1coolapple1 Posts: 347Registered User Member
    In my opinion, I think the ACT is easier. I HATE the vocabulary on the SAT!
  • oystershelleatmeoystershelleatme Posts: 120Registered User Junior Member
    Why do you hate the vocab?
  • MarlonBrandoMarlonBrando Posts: 170Registered User Junior Member
    Many feel like they make up vocabulary for the purpose of the SAT. If I didn't know better, I'd believe them.
  • oystershelleatmeoystershelleatme Posts: 120Registered User Junior Member
    Do people ever vomit during the tests or have a nervous breakdown?? That would be so sad to see....
  • coolapple1coolapple1 Posts: 347Registered User Member
    I hate the vocab because it can be a bit unfair at some points.
  • LoseYourselfLoseYourself Posts: 1,191- Member
    1. What's the hardest section?

    For most people, the hardest section is CR.
    2. Do they try to be really tricky?

    Not really. Just know y9ur stuff and answer questions with answers that are supported by the text (in reference to CR questions).
    3. What is the single most hard question?

    ...? Next questions.
    4. How hard is it to get a perfect score?

    Pretty damn hard.
    5. How are the SATs different then the ACT?

    It's "harder" than the ACT, according to most people. The ACT is more of an achievement test.
  • oystershelleatmeoystershelleatme Posts: 120Registered User Junior Member
    For the vocab, isn't it important to know the roots of the words?

    For ex. Fructose= "fruct" means fruit and "ose" means sugar.
  • nostalgicwisdomnostalgicwisdom Posts: 847Registered User Member
    Too bad not every single word works like that. You'd be better off learning a list of high frequency vocab words.

    1. What's the hardest section?
    -Depends on your talents. If you're an avid reader, critical reading will be easy. If you're a science/math person, math will be easy. If you're a polished writer(for classes such as AP Lang), writing will be easy. But in all honesty, for the average person out there, its critical reading that's the most brutal, especially with the eclectic vocabulary. The passages for a first timer can be very intimidating, but with practice they'll be easy, perhaps even fun, to do.

    2. Do they try to be really tricky?
    Oh definitely. Only for questions that are classified as difficulty 5 on the math/passage based reading portions. You have to be very vigilant with all the choices:
    For MATH- Read the question twice or three times, and do the problem slowly. Occasionally there is a part you overlook had you done the problem too fast. For example:
    "You have a bag holding integers 1-100. You take out all multiples of a number 3 and an integer n and are left with 63 numbers. What could be a possible value of n?"

    Had you done this problem too quickly, you may have overlooked that you also took multiples of 3 out, thus 3n doesn't exist in the bag, and gotten the wrong answer.
    For READING- You can not let bias get in the way of determining the answer. You must read the lines the question encompasses very carefully, making sure the answer is supported in them. The biggest flaw, even with technically really smart kids, is that test takers tend to create something new out of the passage, and the SAT critical reading exploits that flaw by putting that sort of answer on the test.
    For example:
    "This statement may seem exaggerated for two seemingly contradictory reasons. First, we've always been taught that America's war of independence from England was a true revolution, something of an exaggeration in itself. Second, and more important, we’re reluctant to give up the American myth of a slow and steady (but inevitable) progress toward an earthly perfection. Americans have always tolerated many more disagreements over the nature of their goals than over how they could be achieved. The process was expected to be rational, well ordered, and continuous, though some small conflicts were probably inevitable. So even to suggest the possibility of a cultural revolution in America must appear not only factually absurd, but blasphemous as well. Revolution is as heretical a doctrine in America as abolishing the monarchy would be in England."

    The author would most likely classify the Americans as?
    -Malcontented -Illogical -Cautious -Unorthodox -Suggestible

    I quickly chose illogical due to the double standard exhibited by Americans in terms of revolution[and in part of a bias], but after I scored my test realized that was never supported once in the passage. The answer is cautious- Americans are attentive to the potential problems of a revolution, which makes perfect sense. So you have to be ruthless with your choices, making sure to describe why an answer is wrong, rather than supporting how it could be right.

    4. How hard is it to get a perfect score?
    Incredibly hard on one sitting, pretty hard in terms of superscoring. Scoring a 2400 on one go is honestly luck based at its foundations.

    5. How are the SATs different then the ACT?
    Never took the ACT
  • oystershelleatmeoystershelleatme Posts: 120Registered User Junior Member
    Yeah I'm mostly a science/math person. My 7th grade math teacher had me take a portion of the math of the SATs (practice questions), and I got a perfect score, so I'm not worried about the math. I'm not worried about the essay either cuz I'm a good writer, but I am worried about the vocab and critical reading.
  • nostalgicwisdomnostalgicwisdom Posts: 847Registered User Member
    [Meaningful] practice truly makes perfect. This is how my scores went:

    7th grade: 470
    9th grade: 51[PSAT]
    10th grade: 60[PSAT]
    11th grade: 68[PSAT]
    Practice 1: 700
    Practice 2(after drilling on vocab): 780
    Practice 3(after being more careful with the questions): 800

    Get the blue book and direct hits and start soon, reading is something you build over time rather than suddenly learn.
  • oystershelleatmeoystershelleatme Posts: 120Registered User Junior Member
    Has the essay ever completely messed someone up? Though the time limit is only 25 minutes :( not something I'm happy about...
  • jhkmyunjhkmyun Posts: 139Registered User Junior Member
    Yeap, I got screwed over by the essay my first time. I prepped very little for the first time I tried, assuming that 25 minutes was more than enough and inevitably I ran out of time. Second time, I prepped ahead of time since I realized my writing wasn't great and that time I felt fine.

    Something people haven't mentioned is that Math is sometimes a little tricky. Always double check your answer and read the question carefully. Usually getting 1 or 2 wrong in Math blows up your score since so many people get perfect scores.
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