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Defeat SAT Science Content With This Summer Prep Plan

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The SAT and ACT once differed in several areas: The ACT was notable for testing scientific knowledge and reasoning, while the SAT left that material to more specialized subject tests. As of March 2016, however, the lines have blurred significantly. Following the SAT’s recent redesign, that exam now contains science questions.

If you have decided to make the SAT part of your path to college, but struggle with science or are just concerned with earning your best possible score, take some time during the summer months to learn about the science portion of the SAT.

1. Know where you’ll see science content: The free information available on the internet is great for test preparation. Consider, for instance, this teacher’s guide to the redesigned SAT, which is available for anyone to read.

If you are currently devising a plan of study, first review what will be on the exam. The above guide states that science content will be incorporated into all required sections of the SAT – reading, writing and language, and math. Different sections will, of course, approach the material in different ways.

In the reading portion, there will be two passages – or one passage with a pair – and approximately 20 questions that focus on reading and analyzing scientific writing. Roughly 40 percent of the reading section involves science-related questions. Twenty-five percent of the writing and language portion – not including the essay section – is also science-related.

Perhaps strangely, the math portion does not specify how many questions involve science. There are, however, a significant number of problem-solving and data analysis items: 29 percent of the section. With the SAT’s emphasis on applied, “real world” math, expect to find many questions that require you to manipulate numbers, read charts and plot data.

2. Weigh your preparedness with each type of science content: With 40 percent of the reading questions drawn from scientific passages, the importance of scientific literacy should be evident. But what material is covered, and how should you prepare?

One theme that runs through the SAT is the importance of evidence-based reasoning. For a science question in the reading section, this might mean synthesizing the information presented in two separate passages to determine if one supports the other.

You may also be asked to identify a hypothesis, and to assess whether the provided evidence supports or contradicts said hypothesis. You may likewise analyze related charts and graphs.

The writing and language portion will also require scientific reasoning. The emphasis, however, will be on paragraph and sentence construction, organization, word choice and the like.

For example, does a given sentence accurately convey the data presented in a graphic? If not, how can it be improved? Does a paragraph maintain appropriate language and tone throughout? If not, where does it deviate, and how can it be improved?

Overall, the SAT’s emphasis on science will be heavily tilted toward analysis and reasoning. When deciding where to focus your efforts, prioritize those science weaknesses that were most evident on your practice tests.

3. Learn how scientists think – and strengthen your weaknesses: One great way to improve your understanding of scientific reasoning is to examine great science. Fortunately, there is a wealth of strong science available online.

For example, look to respected print and digital publications. Scientific American, New Scientist and Astronomy Magazine are all sources of high-quality science writing.

YouTube channels like SciShow are great resources too. Be sure, however, that you are reviewing lessons devoted to science methods and reasoning, such as these SciShow experiments, rather than ones explaining basic facts.

Your goal should not be to learn science facts, but instead to learn how good scientists think. Take notes as you read or watch, and ask yourself, “How do they know that?” As you read an article, make a list of the evidence that supports a specific hypothesis.

Before you know it, you will have a better understanding of the world – as well as a potentially higher score on the redesigned SAT.

[Source:- usnews]

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