Category Archives: SAT Writing Prep

PSAT Changes: Structure and Timing, Schedule, Scoring, National Merit Scholarship

slide_5Not only is the content of the PSAT changing in 2015 to align with the new SAT, there will be important structural changes, too, as compared in the following table. The most significant change, from the student’s perspective, is that the length of the test is increasing by more than 25% to 2 hours and 45 minutes. The time allotted per question is increasing, but it remains to be seen whether that will actually translate into a test that feels less fast-paced. This is because, by all accounts, the amount of text students must digest before answering the questions is expected to increase.

PSAT 2014 Versus Redesigned PSAT v2

Historically, the PSAT was offered on both a Wednesday and a Saturday in October, with each high school deciding between one of two national test dates. In this transition year, the College Board has decided not to offer a Saturday PSAT date. The recommended 2015 PSAT will be Wednesday, October 14, with schools having the option to offer the test on an alternate date of October 28. A Saturday alternative is expected to return in 2016. PSAT score release may slide to Jan 2016, but they are still hoping Dec 2015 might be possible.

11th graders will have only the October option for the PSAT, but starting in 2016 schools will have the option to administer a spring PSAT to their 10th graders. Dubbed the “PSAT 10,” this test will be identical in structure and scoring to the October PSAT/NMSQT (National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test). Schools will have a multi-week window in the spring when they may choose to offer this test, and it is believed that schools who favor a spring-to-spring slate of assessments will opt for this timing.

With so much else changing, why not change the PSAT scale as well? As of October 2015, PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10 scores will be reported on a 160-760 scale for each of two components: Math and Evidence Based Reading & Writing. This normed-for-10th-grade scale is expected to play nicely with the 200-800 scale for the SAT. Younger students whose schools decide to offer the new “PSAT 8/9” to 8th and 9th graders will receive scores on a scale from 120-720. This “vertical scaling” allows educators to track student progress over time using a consistent scale. And, in case you missed it, the maximum total SAT score will once again be 1600. 2400 is dead, because Critical Reading and Writing are no longer scored separately.

We have established that the current SAT will suffice as a “confirming” score for National Merit Scholarship standing for those students who score in the 99th percentile on the new PSAT. Top scorers will not be forced to take the new SAT if they have already done well on the current SAT.

We welcome questions and feedback about any of the information discussed above. Meanwhile, we will keep our ear to the ground and will continue evaluating and reporting what we hear. The current 11th graders in the class of 2016 are forgiven for feeling relieved and fortunate that they will emerge from the college admission testing gauntlet without having had to cope with this rather chaotic period of change. 10th graders: hang on for the ride!

psat-scholarship

psat

PSAT-NMSQT

SAT Essay Scoring and Feedback

Click HERE to find out a complete list of real SAT essay prompts (March 2005 – June 2015), provided by the College Board. You can use these prompts for practice.

The essay on the writing section of the SAT is the most difficult part to prepare for because neither books nor most SAT prep courses provide students with what they most need to improve: individualized feedback on their own SAT practice essays from highly professional and well experienced writing instructors who are also official College Board SAT Essay Readers. Our SAT Essay Scoring and Feedback service is completely different from computer-based artificial intelligence scoring systems, which provide overly general feedback to pre-programmed essay prompts. We help students understand their own unique strengths and weaknesses and the different steps they need to take to boost their essay scores using specific examples from, and suggested corrections to, students’ own essays.

Each essay is independently and carefully scored by two SAT Essay Readers on a scale from 1 to 6, according to the College Board’s SAT Essay Scoring Guide. These readers’ scores are combined to produce the 2-12 scale. Note that the two readers are randomly selected from a pool of 39 Official College Board SAT Essay Readers, who have extensive experience scoring SAT essays.

We provide the following two types of score reports within 3 business days of essay submission.

1. Basic Score Report:

The report contains an overall score as well as separate sub-scores for the different skill areas assessed, including thesis and support, reasoning and analysis, structure and organization, and use of language.

Click HERE to view a sample of the report.
$20.
Buy Now Button

2. Comprehensive Individualized Score Report:

The report includes everything in the basic report above, plus individualized, comprehensive comments made by one of the two SAT Essay Readers, regarding the different skill areas assessed, such as: thesis and support, reasoning and analysis, structure and organization, and use of language.

SAT Essay Score Report-Sample1
Sample SAT Essay Score Report
Page 1
Click on image to view larger

SAT Essay Score Report-Sample2
Sample SAT Essay Score Report
Page 2
Click on image to view larger

SAT Essay Score Report-Sample3
Sample SAT Essay Score Report
Page 3
Click on image to view larger
$40.
Buy Now Button

Submission Guidelines:

  • Email your SAT essay question and completed response as an attachment to ivymocktest@gmail.com with the Order ID # in the subject line of the email. You can find the Order ID # in the receipt that will be emailed to you after your order is submitted.
  • Essay Prompt must be an official College Board SAT Essay Prompt. Essay questions and responses should be typed and submitted utilizing Microsoft Word in either a .doc or .docx format.
  • SAT essay responses are expected to be completed in 25 minutes and generally do not exceed 500 words. We will not comment on/respond to content that exceeds 500 words.

Please view: Notable Achievements of Our Students

Click HERE to find out more about SAT Prep!

A Complete List of Real SAT Essay Prompts (March 2005 – June 2015)

A complete compilation of real SAT essay prompts administered historically by the College Board for different test periods.

SAT essay prompts contain a first part which is a passage or quote, followed by a second part which is the assignment.

For practice, you could write an entire essay on one of the prompts, or you could identify one historical, one literary, and one current event example that could be useful for each prompt.  If you have taken a course at our center, you will remember that you should research and memorize 5 literary, 5 historical, and 5 current event examples on a variety of topics before you walk into the test.  This strategy saves you valuable time and ensures your examples are detailed, accurate, and original.

For SAT Tips on the Writing section, please click: 25-Minute Essay Strategies.

Click HERE to find out more about SAT Prep!

Online SAT Mock Test

Students located outside the Washington metropolitan area can take a SAT mock test at home in an environment that resembles the testing environment as closely as possible, using the College Board’s actual SAT test booklet on May 3, 2014. Form Codes are AEKC, BWKC, CFKC. It has 10 sections, including an experimental section. Click HERE to download the test booklet.

Based on our statistical data analysis, the correlation coefficient between the questions on this test and all the questions from SAT exams from Oct. 2013 to June 2015 is as high as 0.91. Therefore, this test is the most representative of the SAT exams, and is the best one to be used to evaluate our students’ abilities.

If you wish to have another real SAT test pocket rather than this one, please click: 72 Full-length Real SATs are a Golden Resource to Our SAT Prep Program and find the test pocket that you wish to use for your mock test. Then email us at ivymocktest@gmail.com the year/form codes of the real SAT test, and we will email you the complete SAT set.

Our mock test is exactly the same as the real test provided by College Board/Educational Testing Service. Particularly, each essay is independently scored by two SAT Essay Readers on a scale from 1 to 6, according to the College Board’s SAT Essay Scoring Guide. These readers’ scores are combined to produce the 2-12 scale. Note that the two readers are randomly selected from a pool of 39 Official College Board SAT Essay Readers, who have extensive experience scoring SAT essays. So the test is exactly the same as the real test provided by College Board. The score is pretty accurate and meaningful.

We provide the following three types of score reports within 3 business days after receiving the online payment and the completed Answer Sheet (including the essay) from the student.

1. Basic Score Report:
The report contains:

  • Critical Reading: 200-800 points
  • Math: 200-800 points
  • Writing: 200-800 points
  • Essay: 0-12 points (if you actually wrote anything remotely relevant, that’s 2–12).

The report displays the number of questions for each question type (critical reading; mathematics; writing), that you answered right or wrong, or that you omitted. It also shows the total number of questions, and your raw score.

Click HERE to view a sample of the report.
$25.  Click HERE to register and make payment.
Buy Now Button

2. Detailed Score Report:
The report is similar to the College Board’s Question-and-Answer Service. This includes a detailed table of correct answers and scoring information. For each question, it also provides information about the type, level of difficulty, what your answer was, and whether it was correct, incorrect, or omitted. This gives you the opportunity to analyze your mistakes in some detail.

Click HERE to view a sample of the report.
$50.  Click HERE to register and make payment.
Buy Now Button

3. Individualized Comprehensive Score Report:

The report provides individualized, comprehensive comments and suggestions with each section (critical reading, mathematics, and writing).

Click HERE to view a sample of the report.
$75.  Click HERE to register and make payment.
Buy Now Button

Read more:

Click HERE to find out more about our SAT Prep Program.

Online SAT Critical Reading and Writing Tutoring/Coaching

Most SAT test prep courses are far more helpful when it comes to helping students raise their math section scores and have far less to offer students seeking to raise their scores on the writing or the critical reading sections of the exam. This is because shortcuts and test-taking strategies can only take you so far: developing students’ critical reading and writing skills requires a higher level of expertise and more personalized instruction and feedback than most test prep courses and instructors can provide. We have greatly helped students increase their SAT writing and critical reading scores as much as 200 points per section. Please view here: Notable Achievements of Our Students

800-number_4247537

How one-on-one individualized tutoring with us works:

  • Before the first tutoring session, the student will be required to take and submit a timed SAT test for diagnostic purposes (e.g., the three critical reading sections or the essay and two multiple choice writing sections of one SAT exam). Based on the student’s strengths and weaknesses and the number of scheduled meetings, we will develop a tutoring plan outlining the focus of and homework due for each session.
  • Tutoring sessions are conducted live, online through the use of a third-party webconferencing site (Google Hangouts) that allows students to see and speak directly with out tutor. While a webcamera is not required, students must have a computer with an internal microphone or us microphone and a pair of earbuds/earphones.

Our one-on-one individualized tutoring/coaching model is very unique. We ask that our student complete all the required problems at home, and then email his/her work to us before the class. We will carefully review and check the students’ work. Based on his/her work, we can detect what the student’s specific weaknesses are and use those problems in class to teach the student all the tricks, shortcuts, strategies, and tactics for taking the test. The entire two hours are used for instructional teaching only. We firmly believe that learning is extremely important, and that a student should not waste time doing problems with our supervision if he/she can do those problems at home. So our 2-hour session is equivalent to a regular 4-hour session.

Each tutoring package includes:

  • A detailed feedback report on the diagnostic test.
  • Review of and comments on homework exercises, including feedback reports on practice essays (for those students focusing on essay writing).

Featured SAT Instructors

All of our sessions are taught by highly qualified instructors who are excellent experts on preparing students for the exam. We distinguish ourselves by the high quality of our instructors. Finding top-quality instructors is no easy task. We’ve hand-picked some of the best, including graduates of Ivy League institutions. Meet some of them here:

Registration and PAYMENT

Online Registration is now open! Click HERE to register and make payment.

1 Hour (including 2 real SAT packets extracted from the College Board; only reading and writing sections)

$120

Buy Now Button

5-Hour Package (including 12 real SAT packets extracted from the College Board; only reading and writing sections)

$550

Buy Now Button

10-Hour Package (including 30 real SAT packets extracted from the College Board; only reading and writing sections)

$1000

Buy Now Button

Click HERE to find out more about SAT Prep!

Chief English Instructor: Dr. Susan Henson

Susan Henson received a B.A. in English from UVA and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Maryland, College Park. She has more than 20 years of experience teaching composition and literature courses at universities across the country. Over the years Dr. Henson has helped hundreds of college students develop their critical thinking, reading, and writing skills.

Most SAT test prep courses are far more helpful when it comes to helping students raise their math section scores and have far less to offer students seeking to raise their scores on the writing or the critical reading sections of the exam. This is because shortcuts and test-taking strategies can only take you so far: developing students’ critical reading and writing skills requires a higher level of expertise and more personalized instruction and feedback than most test prep courses and instructors can provide. A college writing and literature professor for more than 15 years, Dr. Henson has helped students increase their SAT writing and critical reading scores as much as 180 points per section. She has also been a College Board SAT essay reader for 12 years.

Senior English Instructor: Karen Johnson

Mrs. Karen Johnson received a B.A. with highest honors in English and a minor in Latin from the Johns Hopkins University. She is a National Board Certified teacher of Latin and English/ SAT prep (verbal and writing) with 26 years of classroom experience. She has specialized training working with academically gifted students. She has additional credentials in IB, AP and College Board/SAT instruction. She has extensive experience as a professional translator and interpreter and provide foreign language and culture lessons to adult professionals and corporations.

Mrs. Johnson is a College board Certified SAT Essay Reader/Scorer. She has many years of experience in teaching SAT Reading, Vocabulary and Writing skills. She has developed numerous SAT test taking techniques and strategies that have worked wonders for her students and has had students who achieved a PERFECT SCORE on the Verbal and Writing portions of the SAT.