Complete explanations for the end-of-chapter exercises in The Ultimate Guide to SAT Grammar, Fifth Edition and The Complete Guide to ACT English, Third Edition, are now available online via the Books page for $4.95 each.
Click here to purchase explanations for the SAT book.
Click here to purchase explanations for the ACT book.
Please note that to access the explanations, you must return to the main item page and follow the link provided.
If you purchased one of the new editions (SAT grammar, 5th ed., ACT English, 4th ed.), this does NOT apply to you; explanations are included in the books themselves.
Attention! This post has moved.
It can now be found here: https://www.breakingthecode.com/some-thoughts-on-the-2019-naep-reading-decline/
I’ve received a couple of inquiries about the updated AP English Lang/Comp exam, so I’m putting this out there now: yes, I am aware that the test is being updated for 2020, and yes, I will be revising my guide for that exam. I’m aiming to get it out by around February 2020.
In the meantime, if you are self-studying for the exam and absolutely cannot live without a book now, you can use a combination of the current AP Lang/Comp book and either The Ultimate Guide to SAT Grammar, fourth or fifth edition OR The Complete Guide to ACT English.
The major change to the AP exam involves the introduction of SAT/ACT-style writing passages, and from the document released by the College Board, it appears that there will be a heavy focus on “is this sentence relevant?” questions. These are discussed in great detail in the grammar books.
For practice, you can do SAT/ACT Writing passages, with a focus on the rhetoric questions. If you’re already comfortable with them, you probably won’t need to do too much more to prep.
If that’s not enough for you, I would also recommend getting the old (pre-2016) SAT official guide and doing the Fixing Paragraphs questions; since the AP exam (unlike the current SAT) will presumably continue to be written by ETS, it’s reasonable to assume the content will be extremely similar.
Although the essay-scoring rubric will be changed, the essays themselves will remain the same. If you’re a sold writer, you don’t need to worry.
The bottom line is that there’s plenty of material out there that will be directly relevant to the updated exam, even if it doesn’t have “AP English Language and Composition, 2020” stamped on it.
And finally, I feel obligated to point out that if anything, the new version of the test will if anything be easier than the old. The reading passages will be shorter and have fewer questions, and the writing passages will be written at a considerably lower level than any of the multiple-choice passages on the current exam. If the College Board wants to continue to “expand access” to the AP program—and collect even more of those $94/exam fees it’s now insisting that students pony up in October—it needs to ensure that pass rates don’t dip too low.
Follow the money, baby. Follow the money.
Announcement: the new editions of The Critical Reader (4th ed.) and The Ultimate Guide to SAT Grammar (5th ed.) are now available. Please note that orders placed through thecriticalreader.com will have longer-than-usual shipping times (expect approximately 5-7 days for delivery) for the next couple of weeks, until the new editions are stocked at our storage/shipping facility.
If you need the books urgently in the meantime, please order from Amazon: the reading book can be found here, and the grammar book here. (As of 9/20, the books do not appear to be consistently appearing at the top of Amazon searches even when the exact titles are entered, so we recommend that you use the links provided here to navigate to them.)
The ACT English book is now projected to be released by the end of next week (by 9/27). Unfortunately, there have been some delays involving the cover and proof shipping, and the book cannot be released until physical proofs have been checked.
To reiterate: if you are a student or parent who has recently purchased the current editions, you do not need to purchase the new ones as well. Tutors/companies may find it helpful to keep the updated editions on hand, however.
Tanya has been tutoring for 25 years. In college, she first pursued a major in math/science; however, she missed the humanities and made the switch to history. She also trained to teach and tutor the GRE and SAT CR and M for the Princeton Review.
After earning an education degree and a teaching certification, she pursued a 10 year career teaching reading, interpretation and writing in social studies classes, including AP US History. She continued to tutor math on the side and in Ridgewood, she worked as a teacher’s aide in Chemistry, Geometry and Alg 2 classes.
Tanya and her husband moved to Ridgewood (her hometown) with their two children and started The Ridgewood Tutor in 2012. She took official SATs at local high schools and earned an 800 in CR, a 790 in Math, and an 800 in Writing over the two times she took the test in 2015.
Strong scores don’t always necessarily translate into good teaching–that’s where those ten years of teaching have helped her develop the necessary planning skills. She has organized lessons for the SATs, ACTs and GREs from wonderful resource material that she hand-picked after much trial and error.
Educational/certification details: National Board Certified and state certified in social studies education by NJ and NY, she also holds a Masters Degree in Teaching from Teachers College, Columbia University.
Good to know: Tanya gives presentations featuring SAT and ACT tips several times during the year at the Ridgewood Library. Check out the home page of this site for upcoming presentations, or follow her twitter feed (which also features general college prep retweets).
Announcement: I realize this is coming on the late side (long story involving proofreaders, How to Write for Class, and the Random House permissions office), but I am planning to release updated editions of my SAT reading and grammar books, as well as my ACT English book.
Now, before you get your knickers all in twist over which editions to buy, here’s what you need to know: (more…)