Did you know the shiny, new practice questions from the digital SAT just dropped? In this blog, we’ll crunch through some of these questions together. By analyzing them, we can talk about what’s changing. So if you’re a freshman or sophomore in high school, or an international student taking the exam next March, read on!
You can find the new sample questions here. Follow along as we go through some of the questions!
Reading and Writing Questions
RW Question 1
As some of you may know, the digital SAT is combining the reading and writing sections into one section. They will also only have one passage per question, so the passages will be way shorter. We were also told that on the actual digital SAT, you will be given background information and sources for the reading passages. Although the sample questions don’t have this information, we always recommend reading it if it’s available.
The first question is a passage about a woman who uses plant and vegetable dyes. The question asks what the main idea of the text is. Brooke’s strategy for these questions is to come up with the main idea on your own after reading and before looking at the answer choices. By determining the main idea first, you avoid being influenced by the answer choices. Because these new reading passages are so much shorter, understanding the passage will likely be easier than it is on the current version of the test. Because of this, there may be more curve balls in the answer choices, which is why we don’t want to look at them first.
In the first question, you may come up with a main idea that’s something along the lines of the following: Lillie Taylor creates dyes using plants. With this idea in mind, it’s easier to look at the answer choices and determine C is the answer. Watch out for answer choices that talk about popularity, like B’s use of “widely acclaimed.”
From this first question, it also seems like this test may be focused more on evidence. The answer key states multiple times that certain answer choices are incorrect because there’s no evidence to back them up.
RW Question 3
If we go to question 3, we can see that it’s more of a writing question and it’s a different format than what we’ve seen on the SAT so far. This question is effectively asking us to find good evidence to support the claim in the passage given. The passage before the answer choices makes a claim about a poem, and then each answer choice is a section from that poem. This is not the way that evidence questions work on the current SAT.
What makes this question unique is that we’ve never really seen poetry on the SAT before. This would be new SAT content that resembles a question from AP Literature or Language.
RW Question 6
This question has to do with vocabulary in context, which is a type of question that we used to see on the last version of the SAT (the one out of 2400 points). The passage contains a blank to fill in, and it asks us to complete the text with the most logical and precise word. With these questions, a tip is to look for a clue or keyword in the passage that means the same thing as the blank you are meant to fill in.
Math question 3 looks just like a math question you can find on the current version of the test. This question includes a graph where the x and y axes have different scales. The x-axis increases by 1, but the y-axis increases by 25. This is very typical to find on the SAT. The question then asks for the best interpretation of the slope of the graph. When answering this question, make sure to remember that you’re looking at the slope. Other answer choices may contain correct information, but they are not related to slope.