February 24, 2014
By Nina Wright, Reference Librarian
The April 4th SAT registration date is fast approaching! While students will still have a month after registering to prepare for these exams, producers of the SAT and PSAT recommend test takers study consistently over the course of three months instead of cramming for the test the week before. The tests have definitely changed from when I took them. The analogies, which were my favorite part, are gone. Instead, test takers are now challenged to write an essay.
The SAT essay is an opportunity to “...present and support a point of view on a specific issue” within 25 minutes. It is not required to be perfect, more of a “first draft”. Various example prompts are available on the College Board website (see links at the end of this article) and the opportunity to write a practice essay and have it “graded” is available though the Westerly Library’s subscription to the Learning Express Library database. Questions are culled from old tests, timed, and laid out to mimic the real thing. Learning Express not only allows the test taker a glimpse of the test, at completion it walks you through your answers and explains why the incorrect answers are…well, incorrect.
Even if you don’t usually study for a test, or you have been studying all along and have no need for more questions, logging in to Learning Express and checking out the PSAT/SAT format and time limits might be a smart move just to familiarize yourself with the test day procedure.
For learners already beyond the SAT, Learning Express offers information and practice exams for a multitude of topics. A few of the other subjects offered include: GED, Civil Service, Commercial Driver’s License, EMT-Basic or Paramedic, Cosmetology, Firefighter, and multiple law enforcement tests. Tests, study skills, and examples are also available for students from elementary school to college. There is even an entire section for people who want to take the test for U.S. citizenship. All tests are designed to mirror the real test and all are free and accessible with your library card.
To access the Westerly Public Library’s Learning Express Library database, visit the library website at www.westerlylibrary.org, click on ‘How do I?’, then ‘Do Research from Home’ and scroll down until you see Learning Express. New users may browse the site as they wish, but to take any test you will be required to create an account. You just need to select a username and password and enter an email address. This is useful because then the next time that you log in to the database, it can put you back where you left off the last time you accessed it.