SAT Graph Review

Watch the video of this blog here. So, today, we’re going to talk about SAT graph questions. Now, the SAT includes graphs, tables, and charts on every section of the test, and each test evaluates your knowledge of graphs in a different way. We’ll talk about graph questions on each section of the test, but first, let’s discuss graphs in general.

Reading Graphs

SAT Graph Reading Strategy


To excel at SAT graph questions, you must first know how to read graphs. Start with the title, and any legends or keys included in the figure. Also, read the caption, if one is available. Analyze the x- and y-axes to see which variables are being compared. Look for any obvious trends in the data, such as minimum or maximum values.

Graphs on the Reading Test

SAT Graph on the Reading Test

On the Reading Test, most graphic questions will ask you to compare an author’s conclusion to data in a figure. For these questions, you need to understand general trends within the graph. Make sure you read the axes and recognize what information is presented before you analyze. These questions are usually fairly simple and straightforward, so read the passage and graphic carefully. If you understand both the passage and the figure, the answers to these questions will be self-evident.

Graphs on the Writing & Language Test

SAT Graph on the Writing and Language Test

 

The Writing & Language Test often asks you to consider information in the graphic to choose the most appropriate detail. They usually DON’T ask you to compare information in the passage with information in the figure. Rather, these questions focus solely on your knowledge of the graph. Essentially, you have to condense information in the graph to a written format. For these questions, you must read all four answer choices while consulting the graph. Only one choice will accurately portray the information from the graph in written form.

Graphs on the Math Test

SAT Graph on the Math Test


Graphs on the Math Test are very different from graphs on the other two sections of the SAT. Instead of focusing on general trends, you typically need to extract numerical data. In addition, many questions will ask you about the graph of a function. These problems require you to find specific data points, or may ask about the function as a whole. You must still read the figure carefully and know where to find the information you need. If the axes are unlabeled, make sure you don’t confuse your x- and y-coordinates.

SAT Graph Questions in Summary

SAT Graph Example


The key to doing well on SAT graph questions is reading. Locate pertinent data by carefully analyzing the figure and any accompanying information. If you know how to effectively extract useful information from a graph, these questions will be much easier.

If you want more advice about improving your score on the SAT, sign up for KallisPrep today. Our online SAT prep course includes hundreds of video lectures, skill quizzes for each question topic, and thousands of practice questions. 


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6 Ways To Get a Better Score on the SAT Essay

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So, the optional essay is an important component of the SAT, and many students elect to take this section of the test. Most colleges don’t require the essay, but they will look at your score if you write it. Although the essay is considered less important than other sections of the test, a good score will help set your application apart from similar candidates. Here are a few tips to help you maximize your score on the SAT essay test.

1. Understand the task

The SAT essay test asks you to analyze an author’s argument. Do NOT write a persuasive essay! Rather, tell the audience whether or not the author wrote a persuasive passage. Examine the author’s argument and any persuasive elements he or she uses. Your job is to tell the audience if these features were convincing and why.

2. Know how the essay is graded

Now, let’s take a look at the rubric for the essay and see what the graders are looking for. First, the graders will evaluate your understanding of the passage. You must demonstrate that you have read the text and have a thorough grasp of the author’s intended meaning. Next, graders will look at your analysis of the text. To score well here, you need to comment on several persuasive features of the passage. Finally, the graders will score your writing. Organize and support your central claim, and be sure to correct any errors before submitting your essay.

3. Annotate the passage

As you approach the essay test, it helps to annotate the passage; that is, highlight, underline, or summarize important information as you read it. This will help you focus your analysis and provide quick references to the author’s key points.

4. Outline your essay

Before you begin writing the essay, create an outline. Think about the author’s central claim and the evidence he or she uses to support that claim. Ask yourself what stylistic techniques does the author use to support his or her argument. Organize evidence and stylistic techniques into key points you plan to develop into your body paragraphs.

5. Use direct quotations

Throughout your essay, you should make frequent references to the passage. In theory, paraphrasing and quoting should both be effective methods to support your essay. In reality, however, graders have very little time to spend on each individual essay. Thus, they are likely to overlook references which don’t contain direct quotes.

6. Practice

I have one final suggestion to help you improve your score on the SAT essay: practice. Write a few essays and ask a friend or teacher to grade you using the official rubric. This will give you an idea of how to adjust your style for the real test.

Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you next time!


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Christmas Tree Math Problem

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So today I have a special holiday question for you guys. Christmas is coming up, and, as some of you may know, Rockefeller Center in New York puts up one of the largest Christmas trees in the country. The tree is decorated with a Swarovski crystal star and has become a symbol for the holiday season in Times Square.

To get in the holiday spirit, I came up with this fun SAT trigonometry problem about the Rockefeller Center Christmas tree.

The Rockefeller Center Christmas tree has a star 9.5 feet tall. Around noon, the shadow of the tree reaches only 33.3 feet to the nearby ice skating rink. An observer standing on the edge of the shadow looks up at the tree and measures the angle of inclination as 68.5°. About how tall, in feet, is the Christmas tree (round to nearest foot)?

(A) 75
(B) 77
(C) 82
(D) 85

Figure for SAT Trigonometry Problem

We’ve been given some information about the tree, and we’re asked to calculate its height. From the figure, we can see that we’re dealing with a right triangle problem. And, because we have a single angle and the length of one side, we must be dealing with an SAT trigonometry question.

Now, SAT trigonometry questions will always be very simple. The test makers only expect you to know a handful of identities, so you can easily solve these questions by analyzing the information given and the information needed. Here, we have an angle and the length of its adjacent side, and we need to find the length of the opposite side.

SOH: Sin(x) = Opposite/Hypotenuse
CAH: Cos(x) = Adjacent/Hypotenuse
TOA: Tan(x) = Opoosite/Adjacent

Thinking back to SOH-CAH-TOA, we see that taking the tangent of the given angle will give us the ratio of the opposite and adjacent sides. Now, we plug in the given angle and the length of the adjacent side, then we simplify the equation to solve for the length of the opposite side, which is equal to the height of the Christmas tree.

tan(x) = opposite / adjacent (TOA)
tan(68.5) = opposite / 33.3
33.3 tan(68.5) = opposite
Opposite = 84.5 feet

Remember that the star on top is 9.5 feet, so be sure to subtract 9.5 from the length of the opposite side to calculate the height of the tree itself. Now, let’s review our answer choices. Seventy-five, of course, is choice (A).

And if you notice, choice (D) is 85, which is the length of the tree and the star, rounded up. So even with a quick and simple question like this, it’s important to read the question thoroughly. Always make sure you actually answer the question and not just solve for a value.

Happy Holidays, and thanks for reading!


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Halloween SAT Reading Answer Explanation

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So last week we looked at a Halloween-themed SAT Reading passage. We learned about the myth of Stingy Jack and how he outwitted the devil to avoid being sent to Hell. Let’s take a look at the questions accompanying the passage and talk about how to solve them.

1. It can be reasonably inferred that Stingy Jack

(A) befriended the Devil to avoid being sent to Hell.
(B) tricked Saint Peter to gain access to Heaven.
(C) lived reprehensibly.
(D) died honorably.

Okay, the first question is asking us to make an inference. Now, the correct answer to an inference question on the SAT will always be a very safe conclusion; oftentimes, these questions are only one step away from a summary question. So we’ll be looking at the text to help us pick the right answer.

Okay, as we go through the answer choices, it’s very easy to eliminate wrong answer choices. (A), for example, is easily eliminated, because we know that Jack tricked the devil, and the two were never friends. Likewise, (B) is incorrect, because Jack was denied access to Heaven when Saint Peter judged him. Now, (C) has textual support and looks like a safe inference, so it’s likely the best answer. I always double check that (D) can be eliminated, just in case there isn’t a better answer that I may have overlooked if I marked the answer immediately. And looking at (D), we know that this is the opposite of the information presented in the passage.

2. The situation in paragraph 2 (the transmogrified coin portion) is most similar to

(A) a witch turning her victim into a newt.
(B) a writer confusing students on the SAT.
(C) a politician stalling with a filibuster.
(D) a child outwitting her parents.

Alright, let’s take a look at the second question. Here, we’re asked to make an analogy between two similar situations. It’s very easy to stop here for a minute and think about the situation in question before analyzing the answer choices. And in this case, we see that Jack outwits the devil for personal gain. Let’s take a look at the answer choices and see if we can find something that matches. (A) compares Jack to a witch; however, Jack never actively transforms the devil on his own; rather, he tricks the devil into doing this himself. (B) is easily eliminated because Jack gains a discrete benefit from outwitting the devil whereas a writer gains nothing. (C) can also be eliminated because Jack is not trying to delay an inevitable outcome at this point in the story (the first instance of Jack outwitting the devil could be seen in this way, but the coin portion cannot). That leaves us with (D), which clearly expresses a situation in which one party outsmarts another for a particular benefit.

Alright, I hope you all enjoyed this special Halloween edition of KallisPrep’s blog. Thanks for reading!


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Halloween SAT Reading Sample Question

This passage is adapted from wikipedia.org, “Stingy Jack”, accessed on 9/18/2017. The passage describes the story of Stingy Jack, the mythical character often cited as inspiration for jack-o-lanterns.

As the story goes, several centuries ago amongst myriad towns and villages in Ireland, there lived a drunkard known as “Stingy Jack”. Jack was known throughout the land as a deceiver, manipulator and otherwise dreg of society. On a fateful night, Satan overheard the tale of Jack’s evil deeds and silver tongue. Unconvinced (and envious) of the rumours, the devil went to find out for himself whether or not Jack lived up to his vile reputation.

Typical of Jack, he was drunk and wandering through the countryside at night when he came upon a body on his cobblestone path. The body with an eerie grimace on its face turned out to be Satan. Jack realized somberly this was his end; Satan had finally come to collect his malevolent soul. Jack made a last request: he asked Satan to let him drink ale before he departed to Hades. Finding no reason not to acquiesce the request, Satan took Jack to the local pub and supplied him with many alcoholic beverages. Upon quenching his thirst, Jack asked Satan to pay the tab on the ale, to Satan’s surprise. Jack convinced Satan to metamorphose into a silver coin with which to pay the bartender (impressed upon by Jack’s unyielding nefarious tactics). Shrewdly, Jack stuck the now transmogrified Satan (coin) into his pocket, which also contained a crucifix. The crucifix’s presence kept Satan from escaping his form. This coerced Satan to agree to Jack’s demand: in exchange for Satan’s freedom, he had to spare Jack’s soul for ten years.

Ten years later to the date when Jack originally struck his deal, he found himself once again in Satan’s presence. Jack happened upon Satan in the same setting as before and seemingly accepted it was his time to go to Hades for good. As Satan prepared to take him to hell, Jack asked if he could have one apple to feed his starving belly. Foolishly Satan once again agreed to this request. As Satan climbed up the branches of a nearby apple tree, Jack surrounded its base with crucifixes. Satan, frustrated at the fact that he been entrapped again, demanded his release. As Jack did before, he made a demand: that his soul never be taken by Satan into Hades. Satan agreed and was set free.

Eventually the drinking took its toll on Jack; he died the way he lived. After he died, Jack’s soul prepared to enter Heaven through the gates of St. Peter, but he was stopped. And Jack was told by God that because of his sinful lifestyle of deceitfulness and drinking, he was not allowed into Heaven. Jack then went down to the Gates of Hell and begged for commission into underworld. Satan, fulfilling his obligation to Jack, could not take his soul. To warn others, he gave Jack an ember, marking him a denizen of the netherworld. From that day on until eternity’s end, Jack is doomed to roam the world between the planes of good and evil, with only an ember inside a hollowed turnip (“turnip” actually referring to a large rutabaga) to light his way.

1. It can be reasonably inferred that Stingy Jack

(A) befriended the Devil to avoid being sent to Hell.
(B) tricked Saint Peter to gain access to Heaven.
(C) lived reprehensibly.
(D) died honorably.

2. The situation in paragraph 2 (the transmogrified coin portion) is most similar to

(A) a witch turning her victim into a newt.
(B) a writer confusing students on the SAT.
(C) a politician stalling with a filibuster.
(D) a child outwitting her parents.

Check in next week for answers and explanations!


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