A reader who works for a test-prep company writes that the new SAT is more coachable than the old version:
As someone who’s been teaching and writing materials in test-prep programs for almost a decade, I can assure you that analogies were the question type on which it was hardest to raise people’s scores. The strategies were catchy and easy to illustrate on the board, but the vocabulary and thought process weren’t always easy to transfer.
The essay is so coachable it’s absurd. In my experience (carried over from the SAT-II Writing), it goes like this:
1. Shove a list of six versatile historical, literary, and current events examples at the kids
2. Have them memorize a template of transition words, along with the mindset of developing the most skeletal expository essay imaginable
3. Nag them about timing, pacing, and penmanship
4. Watch their scores shoot up
5. Congratulate self on test-prep studliness with double Scotch
Writing is a useful skill, he observes, and it’s not a bad idea to test students on it. Just don’t expect it to hurt test preppers.
In this story, an SAT tutor says his students are getting much higher scores for writing than reading, which he thinks is strange.