Common Core and (P)SAT Core | Reading

Common Core and (P)SAT Core | Reading

Students and parents tend to consider SAT/ACT test prep and school success as two completely separate missions. Yes, they look starkly different. Test prep can be seen as long-term preparation for the next official test date, and school success continuous reinforcement for a multi-year series of short-term goals.

But actually, they are highly interrelated! High performance in a rigorous school curriculum often means that a student has the skills and the mindset to do well in the rigorous test setting, and vice versa. This duality is most obvious in the English classroom and English sections of standardized tests.

Keep in mind: this doesn’t mean that preparing for one will take care of the other! Only with focused and strategic guidance can students prepare for both missions simultaneously with a high degree of success. And (P)SAT Core Reading & Writing at MEK will provide this focused and strategic guidance to help you to success!

Ms. Iulia Boboc will guide you through how (P)SAT Core targets both SAT/ACT test prep and the Common Core Curriculum. You can also find more detailed information about the Common Core State Standard in this blog post.

(P)SAT Core and SAT/ACT Prep

The SAT and ACT were designed to measure how well states are meeting the expectations of the Common Core State Standards. In doing so, these exams pinpoint and test these common curriculum skills by asking students to answer a variety of question types each testing one or more core skills.

By teaching students how to analyze these passages, how to identify these question types and what strategies to use to answer them, (P)SAT Core A and B gives students the tools to more thoroughly develop Core Curriculum skills with every question.

Reading closely questions ask students to identify the content of a passage, requiring students to understand the ideas explained in the passage or the relationships between the characters in the passage. 

Evidence questions ask students to identify the evidence supporting their reading closely answer choices, requiring students to be able to give textual evidence for their inferences.

Many questions aim to trick students with imprecise wording; in learning (P)SAT Core strategies to avoid trap answer choices, students are improving their precision of language.

Word in context questions ask students to identify the meaning of a word based on the connotation and tone of the surrounding text. 

Multi-text questions ask students to identify the relationship between passages and accurately understand how the ideas between passages communicate with one another. 

Central idea and summary questions ask students to identify what the primary claim of a passage is, requiring students to differentiate between principal messages and mere details.

Rhetoric purpose questions ask students to identify the purpose behind a line or phrase, requiring students to identify why an author made certain literary choices to further their argument.

Rhetoric structure questions ask students to analyze the structure of a text, requiring students to understand the development of the ideas in a passage and the manner in which the author expresses them. 

Moreover, Core also prepares students to apply these skills to a variety of passage types, including narrative, social science, natural science, historical, and dual passages. In doing so, students are building these skills using versatile material, allowing them to understand how an author’s language, purpose, and details differ based on what passage type they are reading. 

(P)SAT Core and Common Core

Below are the ways in which (P)SAT Core aligns with the specific statutes outlined in the New Jersey Common Core State Standard.

Common Core Standards

Cite strong and thorough textual evidence to support analysis of what the text says explicitly as well as inferences drawn from the text. RL.9-10.1

(P)SAT Core Reading Class

In class, students are consistently asked to identify the evidence backing up their reading closely answer choices. Additionally, students have “evidence” questions asking them to identify textual evidence in support of an answer. 

Common Core Standards

Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze in detail its development over the course of the text, including how it emerges and is shaped and refined by specific details. RL.9-10.2

(P)SAT Core Reading Class

(P)SAT Core students are asked to identify the central idea or claim of the text through central idea questions. Text structure questions also ask how the communication of an idea develops throughout the passage. For these reasons, Core teaches students to annotate and be critical of the development of an idea throughout a passage. 

Common Core Standards

Analyze how complex characters develop over the course of a text, interact with other characters, and advance the plot or develop the theme. RL.9-10.3

(P)SAT Core Reading Class

When studying narrative passages, (P)SAT Core students learn the importance of interpersonal relationships between characters and are guided to pay special attention to incidents within a passage that reveal character traits in anticipation of reading closely questions. This builds their inference skills and equips them to better analyze characters in literature. 

Common Core Standards

Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings. RL.9-10.4

(P)SAT Core Reading Class

In (P)SAT Core, students learn strategies for approaching “Word in context” questions that require students to select wording based on precision to maintain a passage’s tone and meaning. This builds Core B students to build their precision of language abilities. 

Common Core Standards

Analyze the cumulative impact of specific word choices on meaning and tone. RL.9-10.4

(P)SAT Core Reading Class

In studying narratives and historical documents, students learn to pay attention to tone and the impact of specific word choice. When studying purpose questions, students learn to identify the purpose behind specific word choice and the impact it has on the writer’s message. 

Common Core Standards

Delineate and evaluate the argument and specific claims in a text, assessing whether the reasoning is valid and the evidence is relevant and sufficient; identify false statements and fallacious reasoning. RL.9-10.8

(P)SAT Core Reading Class

(P)SAT Core students study dual passages which at times contrast in opinion and disagree with each other, asking students to properly analyze the arguments posed on a subject. 

Moreover, (P)SAT Core students become masters at identifying trap answer choices. This is because students learn to identify false statements and fallacious reasoning in the form of trap answer choices posed by standardized tests. This way, they assess both the passages for valid reasoning and answer choices. 

Common Core Standards

Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how an author uses rhetoric to advance that point of view or purpose. RL.9-10.6

(P)SAT Core Reading Class

(P)SAT Core students learn how to answer point of view and rhetoric purpose questions, making them skilled at determining an author’s point of view and the purpose behind a passage. Moreover, they learn to identify this for a number of passage types.

Common Core Standards

Provide an objective summary of the text. RL.9-10.2

(P)SAT Core Reading Class

This is often a skill that is difficult to teach in a traditional classroom, but which MEK focuses heavily on. Through the central idea question strategy, students learn to prioritize certain information in a passage so as to concisely formulate a summary of a passage without being distracted by details.

Common Core Standards

Determine an author’s point of view or purpose in a text and analyze how an author uses rhetoric to advance that point of view or purpose. RI.9-10.6

(P)SAT Core Reading Class

Many historical and natural science passages ask students to understand the author’s argument, including questions like rhetoric point-of-view questions. Core gives students strategies for identifying an author’s argument, as well as analyzing an author’s rhetoric in order to identify how an author’s lines serve to further the author’s argument. 

Get in on the success!

We’re hosting SAT and ACT test events every month! You can get started by signing up for one of our current test events and inquiring about (P)SAT Core Reading and Writing!

In the meantime, read more about (P)SAT Core Reading & Writing and contact us today to find out more!

I’m looking forward to having you in my classroom!

Iulia Boboc

Iulia is a skilled English teacher who teaches College Test Prep, H.S. Test Prep, School Support Tutoring, and the MEK English Learning Circles. She is gentle but strong in her approach to teaching, making her a valuable addition to the MEK teaching team.


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