The trickiest SAT/ACT transition questions

The trickiest SAT/ACT transition questions

When transition questions are discussed in regard to SAT Writing/ACT English, they tend to be covered in two main forms. 

The first way involves a transition placed after a comma in the middle of a sentence. 

Version #1: The Spanish conquest of the Aztecs in 1519 brought the fragrant vanilla flower—and its companion, cacao—to Europe. Vanilla was cultivated in botanical gardens in France and England, but growers were unable to collect its glorious seeds.   (more…)

“SAT Vocabulary: A New Approach” is now available on Amazon!

“SAT Vocabulary: A New Approach” is now available on Amazon!

I’m happy to announce that SAT Vocabulary: A New Approach, my joint SAT vocabulary project with Larry Krieger, is now up and available on Amazon.

Based on a thorough analysis of released redesigned SATs, the book is concise but comprehensive guide to key vocabulary for both the Writing and Language test and the Reading test. We’ve also included a bonus chapter covering the Essay. 

To be clear: this book is almost certainly not what most people think of when they hear the term “SAT vocabulary book” — that is, long lists of words and definitions. All of the vocabulary on the new SAT is tested in context, and some of it is tested in very indirect ways. As a result, we’ve included numerous exercises focused on applying vocabulary in rSAT-style contexts.

We’ve also gone out of our way to include a chapter on transitional words and phrases — not exactly standard fodder for most vocabulary lists. Although teachers (and parents, and sometimes tutors) tend to take for granted that high school students know how to use these words, in our experience plenty of students aren’t quite sure just what words like subsequently and nevertheless actually mean. 

Larry and I will of course be updating the book as more exams become available, but the College Board has released sufficient material at this point that we’re confident it accurately reflects the content of the new exam.

Click here for a preview. 

 

Everything you need to know to ace the APUSH essays

Larry Krieger has set up an APUSH Crash Course page on Facebook, and it’s a really impressive (not to mention free) resource. 

In addition to posting full-length sample essays with paragraph-by-paragraph explanations of how to present key points, he’s made a number of videos walking students through the test as a whole, the long essay, and of course everyone’s favorite: the DBQ.

He even explains what you need to include to obtain specific scores. 

Larry is truly the APUSH guru. He knows the test inside and out, and I strongly suggest that anyone taking the exam check out the page. Even if you’re already in good shape, you’ll probably pick up a few tips.

The AP English Comp terms you do and don’t need to know, condensed

The AP English Comp terms you do and don’t need to know, condensed

I realized after posting yesterday that I had buried the most practical information in the middle of what became a much longer-than-intended meditation/diatribe, so I’m re-posting the key information here in condensed form.

To sum up: since 2014, the AP English Language and Composition exam has not included questions directly testing knowledge of rhetorical figures. So you know those questions that ask you to identify whether a particular set of lines includes a metaphor, an oxymoron, antithesis, etc.? They’re gone. (more…)

AP English Composition: a rhetoric class without rhetoric

AP English Composition: a rhetoric class without rhetoric

When it first crossed my mind that I might be able to rework the original version of The Critical Reader into a prep book for the AP English Language and Composition exam, one of the initial things I did was head over to the College Board’s website and read the AP Comp course description.

I’d done some tutoring for the exam a few years back, but it wasn’t a test I’d been constantly immersed in, as was the case for the old SAT. I also knew that in addition to changing the SAT, the College Board had planned overhauls for a number of AP exams. Interestingly, the AP English Comp test was not officially listed among them; however, as I read the description for 2014 and beyond, it became clear that the test had recently undergone some important changes. (more…)