Education

I finally understand why I shouldn’t use fake SAT questions . . .


So it turns out that this site may have finally changed my mind about my Kaplan SAT books, which I’ve been recommending to all my students for years.

As the author of that site explains, the important thing when you prepare for the SAT is to use questions that do the same kinds of things that real SAT questions do. And of course the only questions that you can count on to be exactly like the real questions are, well, the real questions. As in the questions written by the people at the actual College Board.

The author points out that a lot of the so-called “trusted sources” of SAT questions–those companies like Princeton Review, Barron’s, and even my beloved Kaplan–are actually some of the worst offenders when it comes to creating fake SAT questions that don’t follow the actual rules of the test, and which might actually be worse than not even practicing at all.

For example, the fake questions might require you to know math formulas that the real SAT would never use. Or they might ask about grammar rules, like apostrophe usage, that appear on other tests, like the ACT, but not on the actual SAT. And according to the author there are even more subtle, less obvious factors that might make a question bad for SAT prep even if it appears to be okay on the surface.

So here’s the bottom line: if you only practice with real SAT questions, then you never have to worry about using bad stuff. College Board materials are the only ones you can say that about. So why take the risk of using any other kind of “SAT” questions?

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