I just posted a blog about the release of new SAT practice tests that you can find here. As I started to work through the tests, I expected to be struck by one of the many changes that the test has undergone, but the first thing I noticed was on the very first page:
65 Minutes, 52 Questions
While several components of the reading section have been excised, rather than three shorter sections the test now contains one massive reading question. The version I looked at spanned 15 pages. This is going to be a serious test of stamina.
Allow me to sound like an old man for a minute. When I heard about this change from my wife, my response was “Good. That’s what college is. You have to sit down and focus intently for an hour, and then you have to do it again.” Back in my day we had attention spans longer than 140 characters. We communicated in full sentences, not text messages. (Okay, I’ve probably pushed the old man bit too far now. For the sake of accuracy, we did have text messaging when I was in college, but it cost $0.10 per text so we didn’t use it that much.)
But seriously, I really do think this reading section is going to be a massive test of attention spans. In an era where two paragraph-long posts need a TL;DR summary at the bottom (Too Long; Didn’t Read) we aren’t used to having our focus tested like the SAT is doing.
There is, however, a solution. Sit down and read. Make it a habit to set a timer for 65 minutes (or more), turn off and put out of reach your phone, TV, radio or anything else that might distract and just read. The silence can be jarring at times in our world of multi-tasking (or more accurately multi-distracting) but if you make this a habit you’re not only going to improve your focus and chances on the SAT, you’re probably going to find that it’s your most productive time of the day. Make good habits and build your reading stamina because the new SAT is coming.
TL;DR- You better make the time to read because the SAT reading section is a long longer than this blog post