I usually try to avoid naming any names when I talk about how a lot of test prep companies seem not to understand what happens on the SAT or PSAT (or, for that matter, on any test). In this case, though, I’ll make an exception, because this one particular mistake has been causing me a lot of grief lately…

You see, I do a lot of phone tutoring, and lately when I’ve been talking to kids about the PSAT a lot of them have been very confused by the passive voice because the Princeton Review told them it was an issue. Apparently a lot of parents and teachers out there are supplying my students with the PR book Cracking the PSAT, and my students are being exposed to its shortcomings even though I repeatedly warn them to practice only with real test questions, not with questions that are made up by test prep companies.

In this video I address the Princeton Review’s claim that the passive voice is worth thinking about on SAT writing multiple choice questions. There are no questions on the PSAT or SAT for which the passive voice is the only difference between a correct answer and an incorrect answer, which means that there’s no reason for a PSAT-taker or an SAT-taker to learn about the passive voice for the purpose of doing well on the SAT or PSAT. If you want to learn about the passive voice in real life, that’s up to you, of course, but don’t waste your time learning about it because you think it will help you do better on the SAT or PSAT.