Week One Digital SAT Newsletter from Tony Kim and the MEK Team
Tony Kim, January 11th, 2024
MEK Digital SAT Prep: General Overview
In 2023, the MEK Team conducted extensive research on the Digital SAT. Initially, the College Board provided limited detailed information, (hey, maybe even they had no clue what was going on). They began to unveil more comprehensive information as the year drew to a close.
We also gathered valuable data from our MEK students, the “launching” group to take the first Digital PSAT. We collected and compared their scores with those from the traditional paper version of the test.
The Key Takeaways
The Digital SAT allows less room for error.
- Obvious reason: the number of questions are much lower
- English: 96 questions → 54 questions
- Math: 58 questions → 44 questions
- Obvious reason: the number of questions are much lower
Questions tend to be simpler.
- This isn’t primarily due to a difference in content difficulty, but rather because questions are generally “bite-sizes”, with a reduction in word count.
- (Math) No more multi-part questions
This change is expected to raise the average score of correctly answered questions for students nationwide. Additionally, with the shift to SAT optional policies by many colleges and universities, the SATs will attract more high-achieving test-takers compared to weaker ones, posing them as competitors to our students.
This phenomenon arises because the “scale score” is contingent on the overall performance of all students, as efforts are made to align scales scores with percentile scores.
This is why we, MEK teachers, often say, ‘We hope the College Board makes the most difficult SAT test for your test date’ in classes a lot.
Students with stronger core skills tend to achieve higher scores or at least maintain them. As mentioned already, due to the reduction in word count, the College Board is now compelled to employ greater creativity in introducing new and tricky elements throughout the entire test to challenge students and prompt incorrect answers.
On the first SAT class day of the semester last Saturday, 1/6, students took the first of many MEK SAT tests developed over the year. Their scores show promise and directly correlate with their Digital PSAT test scores. It’s noteworthy that the College Board designs the PSAT tests to be slightly more challenging that the actual SAT. This also validates the quality of our materials, reaching a difficulty level comparable to the most challenging SAT tests they might encounter on the official test day. Our comprehensive approach allows us to prepare students of varying levels and with diverse end goals.
We eagerly anticipate witnessing the growth of another group of young individuals as they advance to the next level with our support in the upcoming semesters.
First Day of MEK Spring Semester
As the MEK Team, we believe in the excellence of our materials and curriculum. However, as we approached the commencement of the Spring semester on Saturday, January 6th, 2024, we required more concrete evidence of our effectiveness and sought objective data and feedback to validate our confidence in delivering exceptional educational experiences.
Our primary concerns for the first day revolved around two key objectives:
- Assessing the alignment of MEK materials with those of the College Board:
- Ensuring compatibility in difficulty level
- Verifying consistency in nuances
- Evaluating the ease with which new students could adapt to our program, especially considering the recent transition to digitalized testing
If you’re curious about how we effectively addressed these two objectives, just keep scrolling – it promises to be an entertaining read!
For the 1st objective:
Assessing the alignment of MEK materials with those of the College Board
- While we’ve only administered one test so far, the results are quite intriguing. Take a look at some case studies below:
- As mentioned in previous posts, the promising scores achieved by students shows a direct correlation between their December SAT test scores and Digital PSAT test scores.
- It’s essential to highlight that the College Board intentionally designs the PSAT tests to be slightly more challenging than the actual SAT.
- This observation serves as validation for the excellence of our materials, demonstrating their ability to match the difficulty levels presented in the most challenging SAT tests that students may encounter on the official test day.
- Our comprehensive approach ensures effective preparation for students with diverse skill levels and varied end goals.
For the 2nd objective:
Evaluating the ease with which new students could adapt to our program, especially considering the recent transition to digitalized testing
The Challenge of Transitioning to Digital Testing
While the official Digital SAT administered by the College Board allows for the use of scrap paper during the test for brainstorming or math work, we took a deliberate approach by providing all test-taking students with MEK Scrap Paper for a specific reason.
During the test reviews with MEK teachers, students often express uncertainty, saying, “I do not remember what I did for this question.”
- This lack of recall is a crucial aspect of the Exam Prep process.
- Understanding what went wrong, is essential for students to rectify their mistakes and avoid similar mistakes in the future.
Recognizing the human element in both SAT test-makers and test-takers:
- The College Board will continue to present similar questions.
- The SAT students will continue to make similar mistakes.
We implemented this process to empower our students with a comprehensive understanding of their test performance.
Tangible Tools for Student Success
Despite the complete digitization of the SAT, we acknowledge the importance of tangible educational tools. To address this, MEK provides a clean paper copy of the SAT test for each student for their classes or tutoring sessions.
With this implementation, MEK ensures that each student has the following three essential items on their desk during classes:
- A tablet to review questions students answered
- MEK Scrap Paper to evaluate both correct and incorrect responses
- A clean paper copy of the SAT test for jotting down notes for teachers’ solutions and explanation.
Beyond classes or tutoring sessions, students can now effectively organize these materials for future reference. It is imperative for students to revisit their past mistakes from previous tests. These tools significantly enhance and streamline this crucial learning process.
Spring 2024 Registration
MEK Review is ready to help you navigate your academic and test prep goals, especially amidst all of the changes that the Digital SAT is bringing. Our materials and courses are developed not only with the understanding of the Digital SAT, but also with 26 years of experience and adapting to any and all changes that have been thrown our way. MEK stands as the best resource for you to journey to your goals.
Courses are still open for registration!
Contact us today to get started!