1. Not finding help here? Sign up for a free 30min tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Horrendous SAT difficulty level in English?

  1. Feb 16, 2015 #1
    Hello all. I plan on appearing for the SAT / ACT soon (I'm still sort of on the fence between the two), and I've heard that the SAT English difficulty level is absolutely brutal. This is tipping the scales in favor of ACT, but then I've also heard that scoring in ACT writing can prove to be very challenging in itself, and now choosing between the two has become a daunting task for me. I'm currently doing A Levels and I've had a decent academic performance in English so far, and I'm doing quite well in Maths and the sciences. I've consulted my teachers and they've said that I should not fret too much about it, but I have a strong aversion to language tests, simply because I feel that grading them comes somewhere under the jurisdiction of subjectivity, and hence I might get a lower score because my piece of writing did not particularly appeal to the examiner (and also because I'm not too confident about linguistic skills either :P ). The relative importance given to them could potentially be a deciding factor for me. Any advice is appreciated.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 16, 2015 #2

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    Since what matters are percentiles, I don't see how any test can be more "brutal" than any other.
     
  4. Feb 16, 2015 #3
    So does that mean that both the tests lie on the same plane? Or rather, is this is a "busted" myth?
     
  5. Feb 16, 2015 #4

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    I have no idea what you just wrote means.
     
  6. Feb 16, 2015 #5
    I mean are you saying that "SAT English is more challenging than ACT Writing" is a myth?
     
  7. Feb 16, 2015 #6

    Vanadium 50

    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    I'm saying it's mathematically impossible to have one test more difficult than another if they are both interpreted as percentiles.
     
  8. Feb 16, 2015 #7

    phinds

    User Avatar
    Gold Member
    2016 Award

    No, he is saying that since the pool of people taking the tests are pretty much the same, what matters is how well you do relative to others, and that will be independent of what test you take. If everybody does poorly on one and great on the other but you are at the 80th percentile on both then no one is going to care which test was "harder" they're just going to look at you as 80th percentile.
     
  9. Feb 16, 2015 #8
    But even though the marking becomes approximately the same after the percentile system is applied, it only happens if the people taking both the tests have more or less the same ability, thereby setting similar percentile standards. It is only natural to assume that the test with the tougher questions will attract those who wish to challenge themselves. I don't want to end up taking a test which attracts a "language lover" student pool, if you know what I mean.
     
  10. Feb 16, 2015 #9

    phinds

    User Avatar
    Gold Member
    2016 Award

    No, I would say it is completely UNnatural and you are getting that backwards. Most people don't want to challenge themselves on this kind of test, they want to get a good grade.
     
  11. Feb 16, 2015 #10
    So basically both the tests attract students which have approximately the same linguistic abilities, and I can score about the same in either of them?
     
  12. Feb 16, 2015 #11

    phinds

    User Avatar
    Gold Member
    2016 Award

    Hard to say for sure but probably.
     
  13. Feb 16, 2015 #12
    But then why do some people do better on the ACT than the SAT or vice-versa? (Bear with me, I want to get a good grade too :P )
     
  14. Feb 16, 2015 #13

    jtbell

    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Most students don't strategize ACT versus SAT like this. They simply take whichever one is required by the schools that they apply to.
     
  15. Feb 16, 2015 #14
    The heart of the problem lies there: I haven't narrowed down which school I'll apply to, I just have a general idea that I'll be doing something related to physics. I might even have to give the SAT 2 to make sure I can apply to some of the high tier schools as well, so I just want to do something where I can demonstrate my potential the best. To be quite honest, this is a very stressing period for me as I'm really unsure how to secure admission in the "right" place, and since I'm in my senior high school year and haven't yet appeared for any of these tests, I feel like I'm in a fix. I really hope I'm not overthinking this.
     
  16. Feb 16, 2015 #15
    The SAT's english portion is not that difficult. Unless it has changed dramatically with the recent removal of the writing portion, it is almost entirely vocabulary and grammar based, with little analysis from what I can remember.
     
  17. Feb 16, 2015 #16

    IGU

    User Avatar

    They are both fairly easy tests, not meant to separate top students from each other. The ACT tends to be more about knowledge and the SAT more about cleverness, but both are pretty easy. You can find lots of information on this through Google -- this isn't a very good place to ask.
     
  18. Feb 18, 2015 #17
    Who told you the English was hard? Everybody I know(including myself) who was decently strong in english did well on it. I studied for the math SAT only and did far better in English than math.

    Go buy yourself(Drop the $20, it's very worth it.) a copy of the official College Board Study Guide for the SAT, set an alarm as the book describes and take the test at home. If you're just doing it for testing purposes, do the entire practice SAT in the order you're said to, following real SAT guidelines(I.E. Don't just take the 3 math portions in a row, get an 800 and think you'll get 800 on test day. Simulate the actual test day.). Also, take an SAT with enough time to retake it. You'll almost definitely do better the second time, because much of it is knowing what to skip, in which case sometimes people fret on the real deal test and take too long to answer the questions they should've skipped(That's what I did.). If you have any questions, you can PM me; I took the test two years ago and spent like 3 months slaving in order to do well.
     
  19. Mar 10, 2015 #18
    The thing with the SAT is that in order to gain a respectable score (2200+), you need to be familiar with the problems and work with care. Even though the questions on their own are fairly easy, you need to be able to do almost 150 of them with sustained accuracy.
     
  20. Mar 10, 2015 #19

    CalcNerd

    User Avatar
    Education Advisor
    Gold Member

    And why not just take both. Yeah, its a small cost, but then you can jus submit the better score. Admittedly you incur the higher cost of taking two tests AND then the higher cost of having to send the score (because you did not send the three free colleges you were allowed to) to the college you want to attend. But going this route will alleviate your anxiety.
    The cost of doing this will not be all that great and will give you the chance to re-take the exam if you really did do poorly. Usually the scores are going to reflect your aptitude and if you are a good student, it will show.
     
  21. Mar 14, 2015 #20
    The SAT English really isn't all that hard, many/most of the questions are multiple choice and are quite easy. Good luck!



    (Source: when I gave the practice SAT on the college board website last year in year 7)
     
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook




Similar Discussions: Horrendous SAT difficulty level in English?
Loading...