by Emma McEvoy
The SAT is a vital part of most college applications and this year it’s making it’s biggest changes in 30 years. The new test will be available starting in March 2016, so it only affects the class of 2017 and younger.
A new partnership with Khan Academy lead to the first change in the SAT, free test prep. Many test prep programs can be pricey and unrealistic to the busy schedules of teenagers. Khan also has a relationship with the College Board, who makes the SAT, so this new test prep may be the best way to study up for the big exam.
The best part about the SAT is that it’s all multiple choice and now your wrong answers won’t count against you. You can now stop seconding guessing your every bubble because your guesses can only help you.
The second change deals with the essay portion of the exam. Instead of a personal essay, students will be asked to read a passage and explain the authors use of persuasion. Students will also have access to the question before the exam, but will not be able to see the passage before testing.
The reading portion of the test will now be more directly focused on evidence in the passage. Students will first be asked questions about evidence from the text. Following that question, students will be asked what evidence supports their answer above. In addition the reading portion of the test will include excerpts from U.S. founding documents like the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, as well as works by authors including Mahatma Gandhi, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Martin Luther King. This change is aimed to make the material more of what students are actually studying in school.
Although memorizing definitions that you will rarely ever hear has been the way for years, the vocabulary section will now be based on how it is used in context. The answer choices will include synonyms of the word highlighted in the question. Students can solve the problem by looking at context clues in the sentence.
College Board has decided to increase the amount of charts and graphs in the test. Students will be questioned on material that the graph reveals. In addition, students will have to correct sentences based on the chart’s information.
One of the most important changes College Board will be taking is changing the overall score from 2400 to 1600. The SAT was originally 1600 until it changed over in 2005. Furthermore, the SAT will include fewer choices (It is now out of 4 options instead of 5). Students now have a 25% chance of getting their guess correct. The last formatting change is taking out the experimental section, that never really counted for anything.
Lastly, some sections will be timed differently requiring a speedier pace. princetonreview.com lays out the new sections and times below:
Although these changes are aimed toward improving students’ test scores, the SAT is still considered a hard test. Your scores give you the opportunity to gain scholarships and prove to colleges that you belong in their curriculum. Make sure to use the resources provided and most importantly don’t stress, a lot more goes into your application than just your test score.