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Friday, March 14, 2014

SAT Changes

The news spread quickly following the announcement by the College Board that a new and improved SAT is on the horizon. There's been a lot of buzz about what those changes will look like. As no one (outside of College Board) has yet seen the new test, we can only go by the information we have been given so far:
  • Scoring- there will be no penalty for wrong answers any more and we're going back to the top score of 1600. The essay will have a separate score.
  • Essay- will be optional.
  • Length- 3 hours for reading and writing sections. Add on 50 more minutes for the optional essay.
  • Vocabulary words- will reflect those that students may hear in a college course.
  • Math section- calculators will only be permitted on some of the sections.
  • Administration- print and digital options will be available.
Current freshmen, or the graduating class of 2017, will see the new version of the SAT in the spring of 2016 as juniors. Current 8th and 9th graders will get the first peek when they take the PSAT (Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test) in October 2015 as sophomores and juniors.

The SAT will morph into something that looks quite similar to the ACT. Students should remember that all four-year colleges accept scores from either test and that over 800 colleges and universities don't require test scores for admission. Perhaps the biggest irony of the SAT revision is that it is trying to more accurately reflect the grades that a student gets in school. After all, grades are the best predictor of a student's success in college.

Hmmm...too bad there isn't a simple way to look at student's cards, anyone???
One other interesting note- College Board has partnered with Khan Academy to offer free SAT prep for all. That partnership will also benefit students taking the current form of the SAT, with the release of  hundreds of practice questions and over 200 videos with step-by-step solutions.

Further details about the SAT alterations won’t be available until April 16, 2014. I'll keep you posted.