Academic Hacker Sat Essay Sample

Standardized tests have a reputation for presenting questions in formats that are tricky and confusing. Wouldn't it be great if there was a way to get past all that and take a shortcut to the correct answer? This article provides expert SAT hacks to help you solve SAT questions that might otherwise leave you stumped!


Can You Actually “Hack” the SAT?

Well, yes and no. Quick tidbits of advice like the ones in this article can prevent you from squandering your potential and teach you how to work with the test to earn the best score possible. However, you can’t rely on shortcuts to arrive at an excellent score if you’re missing knowledge that is critical for understanding essential aspects of the test.

Be warned that these SAT hacks, though helpful, are no substitute for in-depth studying, especially if you struggle with the content at a fundamental level. If you think you need prep that addresses deeper weaknesses, you should check out our complete guide on how to study for the SAT.


Overall SAT Hacks

Here are some tricks you can use on any part of the SAT to help you get through the section and earn the most points possible. 


#1: Answer Every Question (No Matter What)

The SAT doesn’t have a guessing penalty, so you should fill in an answer bubble for every question even if you have no clue what the correct response is. If you find yourself with a few questions left in the section and only 30 seconds on the clock, you should provide random answers for all of them. You never know if you’ll get lucky and answer one or two correctly, and even if you don’t, your score won’t be any lower than if you had left the questions blank.


#2: Be Prepared for the Format

Knowing what to expect is half the battle on the SAT. When you sit down to take the test, you want everything to look familiar so you can avoid mistakes triggered by stress. At the very least, you should review the timing and structure of the exam before test day. Taking practice tests with appropriate time constraints is the best thing you can do to alleviate confusion on this front. 


#3: Don’t Linger on Hard Questions

Getting stuck on one question for too long can do serious damage to your performance on the SAT, especially considering the fact that there are only four sections. If you have no idea how to solve a math problem or can’t seem to settle on one choice for a writing or reading question, skip it and move on. You can come back to it after you make it through the rest of the section.  


#4: Practice Managing Anxiety

Especially if you’re hoping to earn a really high score, coming across a problem that stumps you can kill your momentum on the test. To avoid this pitfall, you need to establish coping mechanisms to deal with these moments of doubt without letting them affect your overall performance. Mindfulness techniques are a great tool to have in your arsenal. Check out this article for more tips on how to reduce test anxiety!  


Imagine you're not taking the SAT. Instead, you're floating on a serene lake under a beautiful blue sky. You still have to stay awake, though. Seriously, don't fall asleep.


SAT Reading Hacks

Here are a few more SAT hacks that are specific to the content and format of the SAT Reading section.   


#5: Plan a Passage Reading Strategy

Don’t jump into the test without deciding how you plan to approach passages on the Reading section. Are you more comfortable with skimming, or do you like to read the questions first and then go back and reference the passage to locate the answers? Complete a practice Reading section with appropriate time constraints so you can figure out what feels most comfortable for you and makes for the fewest struggles with time management.


#6: Take Advantage of Find the Evidence Questions

Find the evidence questions on the SAT are a gift because they help make the correct answers to the previous questions clearer. If none of the answer choices for a find the evidence question make sense in conjunction with your answer to the previous question, this should prompt you to double-check your reasoning. These questions remind you that you need to choose answers to Reading questions based on concrete statements made in the passage. If you made any unfounded assumptions, find the evidence questions will alert you to your mistakes. 


#7: Engage With the Content

It’s much easier to get through the Reading section if you develop an interest in what the passages have to say. You’ll also retain more information from the passage when you move onto the questions. To get yourself interested, envision a scenario in which it's absolutely critical for you to remember what the passage says so you can explain it to other people. Imagine that you'll be presenting the information in the passage to another group of students after you finish reading it. 


"Notice anything different about me? Teehee" Denise, I accept that love is love, but you just met the SAT Reading section a week ago. YOU'VE BEEN HURT TOO MANY TIMES.


SAT Writing Hacks

These hacks will give you some insight into the way Writing questions work and how you can answer them more efficiently. 


#8: When in Doubt, Choose the Most Concise Answer

The shortest answer is often the best answer on the Writing section because good writing consists of saying what needs to be said without any unnecessary fluff. Super wordy answers are usually not the ones you want. Of course, this doesn’t hold true for every single question, but it’s a solid rule of thumb if you’re stuck. 


#9: NO CHANGE Answers Are Just Like Other Choices

Often, NO CHANGE answers are wrongfully viewed as more likely or less likely options than other answer choices in the Writing section. In fact, they’re just as likely to be correct as any of the alternative options. Don’t be afraid to pick NO CHANGE if you’ve double checked your reasoning and determined that it’s the correct choice. 


#10: Get Rid of Duplicate Answers

Sometimes, questions on the Writing section will have answer choices that are so similar to one another that choosing one over the other wouldn’t make any functional difference in the sentence structure. This means you can get rid of two choices in one fell swoop. If they’re essentially the same answers, then neither of them is unique enough to be the correct choice. Here's an example:

In this case, C and D are functionally the same answers. They both indicate that the author is about to make a statement that goes against what was said in the previous sentence or sentences. Both C and D can be eliminated (the answer is NO CHANGE for this question).

Sometimes answer options are just two halves of the same bad berry. This strawberry actually looks really good though. 


SAT Math Hacks

The SAT has two Math sections, one taken without the use of a calculator and one taken with the use of a calculator. On both of these sections, you can use the following SAT hacks to improve your performance.


#11: Don’t Ignore Diagrams

In many cases, the test will provide a diagram to help illustrate a math problem. These diagrams exist for your benefit, so make sure you pay attention to all the information they give you. Does your answer mesh with the way the diagram looks? If you’re asked to find a dimension of a shape, make sure the relative sizes make sense. Your final answer shouldn’t seem out of whack with what the diagram is telling you. 


#12: Know the Formulas

Although the SAT does provide important formulas at the beginning of each of the Math sections, you’ll be a much more efficient test-taker if you have the formulas memorized. It's a waste of time to keep flipping back to the beginning of the section whenever you think you need a formula to solve a problem. For studying purposes, here's a list of all the formulas you might need for the SAT Math section.


#13: Underline Your Goal

To keep yourself on track in the Math section, underline the value that you need to find (and circle it in the diagram if applicable). It's frustrating to confidently solve a math problem and later realize that you had to take your calculations one step further to actually get the answer the question wanted. In many cases, the wrong answers will be answers that you might get if you didn’t complete the solution process or solved for the incorrect quantity.  


#14: Plug in Answers

If you have no idea how to solve a math problem, one way to get around that is just to plug in the answer choices until you find the correct solution. This often takes longer than solving a problem with algebra, but if you have time, it can be a useful strategy. 


Plugs, not drugs. This is probably a t-shirt by now, right?


SAT Essay Hacks

The essay is optional on the SAT, but many colleges still require it. Here are some ways you can improve the quality of your essay with minimal effort. 


#15: Provide a Clear Thesis

The essay graders are looking for an easy way to interpret your essay and understand the points you’re making. The best way to tap into this is to write a strong thesis that falls at the end of the introductory paragraph. Reread the central claim of the passage that’s described in the prompt, and transpose it into your thesis statement. Make sure you sketch out the structure of your essay in your thesis by listing three examples of major techniques the author uses to support his or her argument. 


#16: Write a Good Intro and Conclusion

The introductory and concluding paragraphs are extremely important because graders typically pay the most attention to these parts of your essay. The introduction gives graders a preview of the quality of the rest of the essay and the way you’ll structure your ideas. It also contains your thesis, which is the most critical sentence in the entire essay and is what ties all of your points together. 


#17: Write More Than One Page

Try to make your essay around two pages long. The graders don’t have a specific quota for the number of words they want to see, but they expect you to provide a response that fully addresses the most important components of the author’s argument. It’s almost impossible to do this if your response only takes up one page. Consider whether you’ve really explained what’s going on in the passage, and if necessary add more evidence to make your essay complete. 


Also, make sure your writing is legible. If you bring a quill to the test, expect some backlash.


Conclusion: How to Hack the SAT

"Hacking" the SAT is possible to an extent, but you need to understand the content fairly well before you can employ most of these tips successfully. To recap, here's a list of all the SAT hacks listed in the article organized by section:



  • Answer every question
  • Be prepared for the format
  • Don't linger on hard questions
  • Learn to manage anxiety 


  • Develop a passage reading strategy
  • Use find the evidence questions to your advantage
  • Engage with the content


  • Choose the most concise answer
  • Remember that NO CHANGE answers are no more or less common than other options
  • Eliminate duplicate answer options


  • Don't ignore the diagrams
  • Underline your goal
  • Know the formulas
  • Plug in answer options 


  • Provide a clear thesis
  • Write a strong introduction and conclusion
  • Write at least two pages


If you follow all these pieces of advice and combine them with in-depth studying, you'll be well on your way to an awesome score on the SAT! 


What's Next?

If you think you need more structured guidance in your studying for the SAT, check out our list of the best prep books released this year. 

Khan Academy now provides free SAT prep services. Learn more about how it works and how to get the most out of these resources. 

There are also other ways to practice for the SAT online that you may not know about. Read all about the best websites to use for SAT prep!



中文 (Chinese translation)

On the morning of Saturday, March 5, students gathered at test centers around the United States to take the SAT, the all-important college entrance exam.

The day was momentous – not simply for the test-takers but also for the College Board, the not-for-profit that owns the exam. The organization was debuting an entirely new version of the SAT whose redesign was years in the making.

In Asia, test-preparation companies were eager for information. Any details about what was on the new SAT might be invaluable to their clients. That’s especially true because for years, the College Board routinely has reused SAT tests overseas after first administering them in America.

East Asian cram schools have repeatedly exploited that practice to breach the SAT, and the College Board has come to see the test-prep industry as a daunting adversary. For the first offering of the redesigned SAT this month, the organization imposed an added security measure: It banned tutors and other non-students from taking the exam that day.

The battle to safeguard the new SAT was on. It was lost almost as soon as the test began.

Test-prep companies had posted teachers outside U.S. test centers, ready to grill exiting students about what was on the exam. Within hours, American test-takers headed online to discuss the new SAT in detail.

On the popular website College Confidential, students described portions of the reading section from exams given on March 5. There was an essay on plate tectonics. A letter by the 1960s labor activist Cesar Chavez. A scientific paper about baby fat. A passage from a Michael Chabon novel. And more. Test-prep companies in Asia picked up this chatter and reported back to clients.

  1. Part One: College Board gave “compromised” SATs

  2. Part Three: Chinese cheating rings penetrate U.S. colleges

  3. Part Four: Widespread cheating alleged in program owned by ACT

  4. Part Five: Breach exposes questions for upcoming SAT exams

  5. At a glance: the new and old SATs

  6. College Board’s note to schools on the Reuters report

  7. • U.S. students given SATs that were online before exam

Then, last week, Reuters was shown two documents that reveal far more substantial holes in the SAT’s defenses.

Both documents contained entire sections from exams given on March 5. The College Board said it has a “long-standing policy” not to comment on what may be on an exam. Reuters verified the authenticity of the documents nonetheless with people familiar with the new SAT’s content - including students who took the test. 

The first file, offered free by a Chinese online test-advice company called SAT Helper, reconstructs one version of that day’s exam booklet. It had a 52-question reading section with five text passages – including the Chavez letter and the plate tectonics essay.

The second document was shown to Reuters by a Chinese tipster who had warned the College Board last year about security breaches. It contained images of another version of the March 5 test. Among its reading passages? The Chavez letter, the baby-fat paper, the plate tectonics piece and the Chabon novel.

Three high school students reviewed the documents and confirmed that the material came from the actual March 5 SATs they had taken. Reuters is not naming them because test-takers agree when they register for the exam not to disclose what's on it.

“That’s literally the one I took,” said one student, a high school junior in Maryland.

“It would have been better if I’d seen it before the test,” another high school student, a junior in Texas, said laughing.

“The questions started coming out as soon as I finished the test,” said a third student, a junior in Florida. “I thought this time the College Board had released them itself.”

The College Board says that test security and delivering valid scores are central to its mission. In addition to barring non-student test-takers from the March 5 exam - a practice that will continue on most test dates - it has taken other measures in recent years to thwart the Asian prep industry. SATs are now shipped to and from some test sites in lock boxes, and the College Board regularly sends out “take-down notices” if it sees test material online.

But as the brand-new bootleg test booklets show, the cram schools continue to find ways to subvert the defenses of the College Board and its security contractor, Educational Testing Service of Princeton, New Jersey.

What has made such breaches especially damaging in recent years is the College Board’s routine reuse overseas of SAT test material previously given in America. The recycling of exam items has enabled test-prep operators to provide international students an advance look at reading passages, grammar problems and other material that may be on future tests. Sometimes, the cram schools even create answer keys for their clients.

The College Board confirmed to Reuters that it plans to continue recycling test material. The redesigned SAT will be administered for the first time overseas in May, and it’s unlikely that the first foreign tests will include material that was administered March 5 in America. Still, the fact that the new test booklets were so quickly circulated demonstrates that the redesigned SAT remains vulnerable.

“We’re working against cartel-like companies in China and other countries that will stop at nothing to enrich themselves,” said John McGrath, the College Board’s senior vice president for communications and marketing. “These bad actors will continue to lie, cheat and steal to the detriment of students who work hard and play by the rules.”

U.S. admissions officers who were briefed on what Reuters found said the College Board ought to stop recycling exam material. “What they should do, step one, is consider ending the practice of reusing test content,” said Joy St. John, dean of admission at Wellesley College in Massachusetts. If applicants have seen exam material before taking the test, St. John said, “our ability to select students who are the best fits for Wellesley is really compromised.”

Even some cram-school operators agree, saying that the continued reuse of test material will make the new exam an easy mark.

The redesigned SAT “won’t resolve the fundamental problem, unless they have a continual flow of new questions, and use every test only once,” said Peng Wu, a general manager at Sanli, a Shanghai-based test-prep chain. Sanli created booklets of past test material to help students prepare for the old SAT. One former client, now a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, told Reuters a Sanli booklet helped him score a perfect 800 on the critical reading section of the SAT.

The likelihood that questions from the redesigned SAT will be recycled on future tests “is definitely a good thing for us,” Wu said.

In a letter to Reuters, College Board vice president Stacy Caldwell defended the organization’s handling of security. The College Board and its contractor, ETS, stand behind the validity of the test scores sent to U.S. colleges and their actions “to protect the integrity of the exam,” she said. Ray Nicosia, who heads the Office of Testing Integrity at ETS, said the number of people who cheat on the SAT is “far less than 1 percent.”

With the new test, Caldwell pledged that the College Board “will continue to take bold actions to stop cheating and theft.”

How the College Board will succeed at that mission is unclear. Internal College Board documents show that test-preparation centers have been able to penetrate security for years, often by exploiting the routine reuse of test material overseas.

Over the past three years, interviews and documents show, the College Board has often tried but failed to plug the flow of leaks. At other times, Reuters found, the College Board decided to go ahead with exams even after being warned that test material it had previously administered was in wide circulation.

“What they should do, step one, is consider ending the practice of reusing test content.”

Joy St. John, dean of admission, Wellesley College

Some people in the testing and teaching professions say they were disheartened by how the College Board or ETS handled evidence of possible breaches.

The tipster in China who provided Reuters with a copy of the new SAT booklet said he sent the same material to an ETS investigator on March 18. He said he hasn’t received a response. A spokesman for ETS referred questions on the matter to the College Board, which said it does not comment “on specific test content.”


By 2012, the College Board had decided to redesign the SAT. Market pressures played a role in the decision to remake the test.

For years, the college entrance exam industry has been under strain. Several million American high school students take the SAT or the rival ACT exam each year. But a growing number of U.S. colleges and universities have stopped requiring the tests, and some educators question their usefulness in predicting a student’s success in college.

At the same time, the New York-based College Board has been losing market share in the United States. Its competitor, ACT of Iowa, attracted more test-takers than the SAT for the first time in 2012. The SAT remains No. 1 overseas.

Within months of becoming president of the College Board in the fall of 2012, David Coleman set out his “beautiful vision” for the re-engineered SAT. It “will appeal to students over ACT,” he wrote. It would be “more focused, transparent, and specific” than the ACT, he added. And unlike the ACT, it wouldn’t include a science test.

Coleman declined to comment for this story.

As College Board leaders began working on their new test, they encountered major problems protecting the existing SAT.

In May 2013, cram schools in South Korea, known as hagwons, succeeded at obtaining material from the exam the College Board intended to give that month. It isn’t clear how the material leaked. The security breach was discovered by South Korean law enforcement officials. 

The College Board responded to that leak by canceling the scheduled exam. “Because a number of test-takers have likely already been exposed to these test materials, we had no choice,” the organization said in a statement at the time. The College Board declined to say how many students saw the exam ahead of time, or whether it knows how the hagwons got the questions.

The decision was drastic. Never in the history of the SAT, first given in 1926, had the College Board canceled an exam sitting across an entire nation for security reasons.

After the incident, officials assessed how many untainted versions of the exam remained. The College Board learned that half of the exams in its inventory had been compromised to some degree. To combat the breaches, the College Board reduced the number of test dates in South Korea and two Middle Eastern countries – to four times a year rather than six. Doing so would limit the potential for cheating, officials concluded. 

But College Board officials told Reuters that they went forward with a full slate of exams in Greater China, where far more students take the test, because they found no evidence that test material had been stolen there.


Not long afterward, more breaches emerged in China.

In January 2014, a student from Concordia International School Shanghai took a scheduled break during an SAT sitting in one of China’s largest cities.

When the student stepped into the hall, he saw groups of kids “talking about the exam, sharing the answers, and ‘celebrating’ about the test,” according to an account the student wrote to the school’s principal. The school, which declined to name the student, provided the account to Reuters.

The test given in China that day included some of the same reading sections that had been used on an SAT given in December 2012, just 13 months earlier. A Shanghai test-prep center, Veterans Education, had obtained an exam and given it to its students for practice.

To determine the extent of the problem, administrators at Concordia International School questioned all of their students who took the SAT that day. Nine students admitted they had studied at Veterans Education and had seen the entire test in advance, said Concordia principal Nicholas Kent. Concordia reported their names to ETS, which canceled their scores, he said. ETS declined to comment on the episode.

It’s unclear how many other students saw test material in advance. Ben Yoon, the president of Veterans Education, confirmed that he shared the December 2012 test with students but said he had no idea it included actual questions from an upcoming exam.

“My institute gets all of its teaching materials through open sources,” including on the Internet, Yoon said in a written statement. “I was shocked and appalled by the very possibility that such test materials could be obtained so easily.”

By October 2014, more problems had surfaced. A few days before the October test was administered, a tutor in South Korea sent a full copy of what he believed was the exam to the College Board, the tutor told Reuters. The tutor, who declined to give his name to the College Board, said he warned the organization about other leaked tests - and about the brokers who were selling the exams. The exam was given as scheduled.

But later that month,  the College Board withheld issuing test scores in parts of East Asia while it investigated possible cheating on the exam. It took the same step for the next three Asian test sittings as well. Withholding scores is a serious step: It means students applying to universities are in limbo while ETS determines whether their scores need to be canceled. In the October exam, scores were withheld for every test-taker in China and South Korea, where a combined 55,000 tests were taken last school year. The College Board didn’t disclose the outcome of the investigation.

That November, Linfeng Liu, now 20, took the SAT in Hong Kong. She said she was happy to recognize five questions on vocabulary and reading comprehension. Paraphrased versions of the same questions had been in a booklet provided by the test-prep center she attended in China, she said.

“It helped,” said Liu, now a freshman at Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. “I did those questions more quickly, so I had more time for the reading comprehension section.”

The College Board’s Caldwell says that cram schools, not students like Liu, are to blame for such incidents.

The next month, December 2014, the College Board issued a statement about the problems in Asia. “Over the past three months, organizations and individuals have illegally obtained and shared test materials for their own profit,” the statement said.

The South Korean tutor - the person who had alerted the College Board to a possible leak ahead of the October 2014 exam - once again tried to warn officials. He showed Reuters an exchange he had with an ETS investigator in January 2015. Attached to his email was what he believed to be the upcoming exam. Despite the tutor’s warning, the College Board went ahead with the exam on Jan. 24. Afterward, it again delayed releasing test scores.

“I was shocked and indignant that the College Board decided to proceed with the exams anyway,” the tutor said.

An ETS spokesman confirmed that one of its investigators “was in contact with this person. We have no additional comment other than the fact that ETS and the College Board take all tips seriously and investigate them thoroughly.”


By September 2015, ETS was being warned by another tipster that the SAT given in March in the United States was circulating in Asia. This tipster, based in China, was one of the sources who sent Reuters images of the redesigned SAT earlier this month.

In his September 2015 email to ETS, the tipster said that the SAT given just six months earlier in the United States was circulating in Asia. The material had been “widely dispersed,” the tipster warned. As evidence, he attached a text file containing what he said were parts of the exam.

An investigator for ETS quickly replied. “The documents will be reviewed asap,” the investigator wrote, according to emails reviewed by Reuters.

Nine days later, the tipster corresponded with the investigator again and sent some screenshots of the exam. The investigator asked if the March 2015 test given in North America was “widely spread out.” The tipster responded that it “is completely leaked out” and said that he had a scan of the entire test. He also attached more evidence: photos of what he believed to be the test booklet itself. The tipster told Reuters he never heard back.

The tipster didn’t know it at the time, but the College Board was about to reuse the March 2015 U.S. exam in China and elsewhere just a few days later, in its October sitting.

Despite the warnings, the test was given as planned. Caldwell, the College Board vice president in charge of the SAT, said ETS investigated the matter and didn’t think there had been “widespread student access” to exam material. She added that the “information lacked the specific facts to deem it credible.”

But two weeks before the exam took place overseas, parts of the test could be found on the Internet.

On Sept. 18,, a Chinese website with more than 500,000 estimated monthly visitors, posted several of the reading passages from the test the College Board was about to reuse.

The site is run by a Shanghai-based online test-prep company called Little Zhan Education. A Little Zhan teacher said the school only posts “mock papers,” but he acknowledged that “some of the questions might match those that actually appeared in the test.”

As the College Board went ahead with the SAT on Oct. 3, the tipster tried emailing admissions officers at 36 top American colleges.

“The reliability of the test has been severely compromised since last year,” he wrote that day, using the pseudonym “China anticheating.” “As you can see from the pictures I attached, these are the reading sections of the SAT test being conducted now.”

“We’re working against cartel-like companies in China and other countries that will stop at nothing to enrich themselves.”

John McGrath, senior vice president for communications, the College Board

Some of the emails were sent to incorrect addresses. But officials at a few of the schools recalled receiving the message. Gregory Roberts, dean of admission at the University of Virginia, said his office contacted the College Board after reading the email.

“We spoke by phone,” Roberts said. “They were aware of these emails.” The College Board declined to comment.

On Jan. 20, days ahead of another exam overseas, the “China anticheating” tipster sent Reuters 47 photographs. The images showed what appeared to be parts of six sections of the SAT test booklet used in the United States the month before, as well as a list of answers. The tipster said he sent the same warning, with the photos, to a College Board official.

In his email to Reuters, he also made a prediction: the version of the test in his possession was “very likely” to be reused three days later, on Jan. 23, at the international sitting of the exam.

He was right: Parts of the test that was to be given that day were identical to the version given previously in America. He also was right about the exposure. Reuters found that dozens of questions on the test were shared and discussed on the popular website reddit.

The College Board tried to contain the damage. On Jan. 21, it disclosed that it was canceling the scheduled SAT on Jan. 23 at every test center in mainland China and Macau.

But elsewhere in Asia, the College Board gave the SAT as planned. The next month, the College Board notified American universities that it was delaying the scores of an undisclosed number of students because of “a security incident.” The delays affected test takers in Singapore and other Asian cities, according to a guidance counselor in the region.

This month, Asian test-prep centers targeted the redesigned SAT.

For the first sitting of the test, on March 5, the College Board barred people who aren’t applying to college from taking the SAT. The step prevented cram school teachers who’d registered for the test from getting a direct look at the exam. Test-prep operators found ways around the measure.

Sanli, the Chinese test-prep chain, says it sent 11 teachers to the United States to collect information on the redesigned exam. They debriefed 40 Sanli students studying at U.S. high schools who took the new SAT as they exited test centers, according to Wu, the general manager. Sanli presented its findings at a seminar at a Shanghai hotel.

Other Asian operators harvested material from the new exam simply by going online. After the test ended, the website College Confidential was full of talk about the exam. The site said last week that it received and complied with one take-down request from the College Board after the new test.

And within hours of the test, a Chinese SAT coach who calls himself “Roy” had pieced together items that were on the reading and optional essay sections. Soon he was sharing his take on the test in a video posted on social media.

“Have you read College Confidential?” Roy said in an interview. “All the detailed material is there.”

This story was reported from Shanghai, Hong Kong, Seoul, Boston and New York. Additional reporting by Ju-min Park, James Pomfret, Rebecca Jang, Benny Kung, and the Shanghai newsroom.


Cheat Sheet

By Renee Dudley, Steve Stecklow, Alexandra Harney and Irene Jay Liu

Photographs: Bobby Yip

Graphics: Matthew Weber

Edited by Blake Morrison 

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