2019 English SATs SPaG Paper 1 Analysis
What's New this Year


Every year, as soon as the SATs English papers are published, we take a look under the hood to see what’s new and what’s not.

For us, that means comparing the most recent exam with all the previous papers since 2016 as well as the government specimen paper published in 2015 (in terms of the question formats and question types used in conjunction with the assessed content domains).

This year, it occurred to us that other people, especially fellow teachers and parents, might be interested to see what we’ve found, so here you go! Happy Reading!


Paper 1: New Questions

Question 2

What’s new here:

Using this question format (joining boxes) to assess knowledge of noun and adjective suffixes.


QUESTION 3

What’s new here:

Using this question format (ticking rows in a table) to focus solely on questions and commands.


Question 7

What’s new here:

New question format (3 stand-alone sentences + 2 multiple-choice options in a box each time) to assess knowledge of Standard English. 


Question 8

What’s new here:

Using this question format (complete target sentence by writing in a word) to test knowledge of relative pronouns.


Question 12

What’s new:

New question type for assessing knowledge of prefixes: (1) the prefix is added to three words, not just one, and (2) the student is asked to select the meaning of the prefix rather than the meaning of the prefix + root word.


Question 14

What’s new here:

Combining new question type (asking for an antonym for a specific word) AND using this question format (sentence containing underlined target word + 4 vertical tick boxes) to assess antonyms.


Question 16

What’s new here:

Using this question format (target sentence + 4 horizontal tick boxes) to assess knowledge of hyphen usage.


Question 17

What’s new here:

Using this question format (sentence with underlined target word + 4 vertical tick boxes) to test knowledge of personal object pronouns.

(It’s worth noting here that this is first time that the assessed word has been a personal object pronoun.)


Question 19

What’s new here:

Combining a new question type (asking for the clause to be named) and new format (sentence containing underlined target words + line for short written answer) to assess knowledge of subordinate clauses.


Question 20

What’s new here:

Using this question format (provision of target sentence) and question type (add punctuation) to test usage of a single dash.


Question 21

What’s new here:

Using this question format (sentence containing underlined target word + 4 vertical tick boxes) and question type (identify word class) to test knowledge of possessive pronouns.


Question 23

What’s new here:

Using this question format (provision of target sentence) and question type (add punctuation) to assess comma usage in lists that contain adjectives.


Question 24

What’s new here:

Combining this question format (select one of four sentences) with a new question type (identifying correct tense usage) to assess knowledge of tenses.


Question 25

What’s new here:

Combining a new question type (underline most formal sentence) with this question format (provision of target passage) to assess knowledge of formal and informal English.


Question 26

What’s new here:

Combining this question format (provision of target sentence) with new question type (circle word to show command) to assess knowledge of commands and the imperative.


Question 27

What’s new here:

Expanding on the question type (label subject and object) to encompass 2 subjects and 2 objects (as opposed to 1 subject, 1 verb, and 1 object) and adjusting the question format accordingly (four horizontal boxes to be labelled).


Question 29

What’s new here:

Combining a new question type (identify closest meaning) with this question format (target sentence + 4 vertical tick boxes) to assess knowledge of the present perfect simple.  

(Arguments could be made on both sides as to whether the question format here is also new.)


Question 30

What’s new here:

Combining this question format (provision of target sentence) with new question type (circle 3 examples of a word class) to test knowledge of adjectives.


Question 32

What’s new here:

Using this question format (4 sentences with underlined target words) to test knowledge of adverbs.


Question 33

What’s new here:

Combining a new question format (3 stand-alone sentences containing underlined target words + space for written answer) with this question type (identify word class) to assess knowledge of co-ordinating and subordinating conjunctions.


Question 34

What’s new here:

Combining this question format (provision of two target sentences to be compared) with this question type (explain change in meaning) to assess understanding of impact of commas on meaning.


Question 36

What’s new here:

Using this question format (complete target sentence by writing a word) to test knowledge of relative clauses.


Question 37

What’s new here:

Combining this question format (provision of two target sentences to be compared) with this question type (explain change in meaning) to assess understanding of impact of conjunctions on meaning.


Question 38

What’s new here:

Combining this question format (provision of target sentence) with this question type (circle a word belonging to a particular word class) to test knowledge of modal verbs.


Question 40

What’s new here:

Combining this question format (provision of target passage) with this question type (add missing punctuation) to assess semi-colon usage and usage of commas with fronted adverbials AND dividing main and subordinate clauses.


Question 41

What’s new here:

Combining this question format (provision of target sentence) with this question type (circle a word belonging to a particular word class) to test knowledge of nouns.


Question 42

What’s new here:

Combining this question format (4 stand-alone sentences) with this question type (identify particular usage) to test the passive voice.


Question 44

What’s new here:

Combining a new question format (complete target sentence with two words) with a new question type (deriving two new words from a common root word) to assess knowledge of adjective and noun formation.


Question 48

What’s new here:

Combining this question format (provision of a target sentence) with this question type (insert missing punctuation) to test apostrophe usage.


Question 50

What’s new here:

Combining this question format (provision of a target sentence) with this question type (circle a word belonging to a particular word class) to test knowledge of co-ordinating conjunctions.


More SPaG-related content to follow! Check back again soon!

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