Preparing Students for the SAT® Writing & Language and Reading Sections

High school students taking the SAT in a classroom

NoRedInk’s pre-teaching materials, diagnostics, skills exercises, and passages are great resources for SAT® test prep.

Despite various shifts in the national testing landscape in recent years, the SAT remains top of mind for many high schoolers in the United States. Taking the SAT is a graduation requirement in nine states, and districts in many other states choose to administer the test on a weekday as part of the College Board’s SAT School Day program.

Regardless of your state’s relationship to the SAT, working with students on SAT-aligned skills is a great way to ensure high school juniors and seniors are ready for the demands of higher education or the workplace. Below, we explore how teachers can use NoRedInk to prepare their students for the SAT Writing and Language Test and the SAT Reading Test.

What do the SAT® Writing and Language and SAT® Reading Tests ask students to do?

The SAT Writing and Language Test is the shortest, but also the fastest-paced, SAT section: students have 35 minutes to answer 44 passage-based multiple-choice questions. Some questions focus on the expression of ideas in a passage, asking students to select the answer that most improves the substance and quality of the passage’s message. These questions evaluate student understanding of thesis statements, topic sentences, passage structure, sentence flow, conciseness, and style and tone.

Other SAT Writing and Language section questions focus on standard English conventions. They ask students to correct a variety of grammar, usage, and mechanics errors, including run-on sentences, incomplete sentences, incorrect subject-verb agreement, incorrect pronoun-antecedent agreement, and missing or extraneous commas.

Students have nearly twice as much time to complete the SAT Reading Test, which consists of 52 passage-based multiple-choice questions spread over 65 minutes. These questions require students to demonstrate several critical reading and comprehension skills, including identifying how a passage’s author uses evidence to support a claim, using context clues to deduce the meaning of advanced vocabulary, considering the implications of an argument, and interpreting data.

How to approach SAT® Writing and Language practice with students

Because students have less than a minute to answer each question on the SAT Writing and Language Test, it’s critical for them to master relevant skills ahead of time so that they’re able to work quickly on test day. NoRedInk offers several powerful tools for helping students with SAT grammar prep and writing prep.

NoRedInk’s pre-made SAT Planning Diagnostics are aligned with the skills students will see in the SAT Writing and Language section. Your diagnostic results will give you a clear overview of the writing and grammar skills your students already fully understand and the skills they need to practice in order to improve their SAT Language and Writing scores. Once you’re ready to build a unit around SAT grammar practice or writing practice, head over to the SAT section of NoRedInk’s Assignment Library to browse skills exercises by the degree to which specific skills are tested (heavily, moderately, or lightly). (Reference this resource for an in-depth breakdown of how NoRedInk activities align with the SAT.)

NoRedInk SAT Passage Quizzes are a particularly effective way to give students authentic SAT passage practice. These exercises assess students on multiple skills that they’re likely to encounter on the test, feature distractors that are crafted to mimic SAT distractors, and provide students with instant feedback and opportunities to learn from their mistakes by responding to questions similar to the ones they miss.

How to approach SAT® Reading Test practice with students

While NoRedInk isn’t explicitly designed to drive growth in reading comprehension or vocabulary, it includes a number of learning pathways that are ideal for SAT Reading prep. For instance, many SAT Reading questions test a student’s grasp of how authors use evidence to support claims. NoRedInk’s seven-topic Claims, Evidence, and Reasoning pathway provides you with pre-teaching resources and a sequenced set of adaptive, scaffolded activities. This makes it easy to work with students on granular skills like using strong evidence to support a claim and using strong reasoning to connect claims and evidence.

Because NoRedInk pathways are much more than just a list of SAT Reading practice questions, they ensure students actually absorb and master the skills you teach. This mastery-based approach tends to set students up for success better than SAT Reading prep that emphasizes extensive repetition or memorization.

Promote writing and grammar skills with NoRedInk

Whether you’re looking to provide your students with SAT Writing and Language practice and SAT Reading practice or simply want to build stronger writers and critical thinkers in your classroom, NoRedInk’s pre-teaching resources, skills exercises, and writing activities can help you achieve your goals.

Sign up for free today to get started with NoRedInk’s end-to-end writing and grammar platform!

Thomas collaborates with colleagues from across NoRedInk to craft stories that illustrate how NoRedInk ​​builds stronger writers. He holds a BA in Religious Studies from Occidental College.