New SAT Introduced

March 12, 2014
Posted in SAT/ACT
March 12, 2014 ACS

This month the College Board introduced the “new” SAT and it will have some major changes. These changes will be put into place in the spring of 2016.

According to Inside Higher Ed, these changes appear to be designed in response to the growing criticism of the SAT.

The major changes will include a substantial ‘revision’ to the writing test that was added in 2005, which was the last major overhaul of the college admissions test. In the current writing test, where students respond to using their own experiences or values, will be replaced with a writing where students will respond to a passage of writing and they must analyze evidence.

The students will then be evaluated on both their analysis and their writing skills. The essay, however, will be optional, and it will be scored separately, which means that the point scale used by the SAT will return to the old score of 1600 possible points, like it was before the addition of the essay portion.

In addition, the new SAT will contain ‘relevant’ vocabulary words, will focus on greater depth on fewer math topics, and will ask students to cite specific passages that support their answers.

The new version of the SAT will consist of three sections:

  • Evidence Based reading and writing
  • Mathematics
  • Optional Essay

Another change to the SAT is that students will no longer be penalized for incorrect answers on the multiple choice section of the test. With the current SAT, one-quarter of a point is deducted for each incorrect answer. The current scoring makes students engage in strategy games with themselves involving if they should guess or not and if it is worthwhile for them to choose an answer after eliminating obvious wrong answers.

Reactions to the new SAT have been mixed. Many applaud the elimination of the writing test and believe the new test makes the SAT more easily understood. On the other hand, some skeptics have questioned whether the changes are going far enough, and whether the changes make the SAT more similar to the College Board’s main competitor, the ACT.

Even with the new changes, students will still need to take either the SAT or ACT. And, if you need help planning or studying for either of these college admissions exams, we have a variety of programs that can help so please feel free to give us a call and we can set up an appointment to discuss your plans.


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