BREAKING: This past Wednesday, The College Board announced that they were doing a bit of remodelling. The influential non-profit organization College Board, which also administrates Advanced Placement (AP) exams, has made the most radical SAT changes since 2005. Current high school juniors and seniors: Don’t panic, these SAT changes will not be instituted until Spring 2016. However, younger students, tutors, and teachers should definitely take a close look at the new “Redesigned SAT,” which students can take both in print and, at select locations, online.
The 8 Key Modifications of the “Redesigned SAT”:
1. Returning to 1600 Point Scoring System
The College Board has decided to reduce the number of graded sections to two sections, combining Reading and Writing to one 200 to 800 point scale. The Math section will also be graded on a 200 to 800 point scale, making the best possible SAT score 1600 rather than the current 2400.
2. Supporting Answers with Evidence
In addition to the traditional type of questions in the Reading and Writing sections, like author’s tone, analogies, and sentence completion, the new SAT will include questions called “Command of Evidence.” There will be at least one question per passage asking you to select a quote that supports your answer from the preceding question.
3. Wrong Answers Are Not Penalized
To encourage students to answer every question, the new SAT no longer includes a ¼ point deduction for every wrong answer. This modification gets rid of the old SAT test taking strategy of only making a guess if you can eliminate one or more answer. Now, you can make as many educated guesses as you want!
4. More Relevant Vocabulary Words
The Redesigned SAT will focus on more practical vocabulary words, and a lot of the questions will present the word in a passage to encourage you to interpret the word in a certain context. If you want to get a head start on studying these new vocab words, check out our free and easy-to-use online SAT Flashcards.
5. Every SAT Will Include a Founding Document
After Spring 2016, you will come across one of America’s Founding Documents, like the Declaration of Independence or the Bill of Rights, every time you take the SAT. In the new SAT, The College Board wants to incorporate a discussion of the important values of citizenship: justice, freedom, and human dignity. This change to the SAT provides you with a more concrete type of subject to study for the exam.
6. The New Essay
First off, the Essay is now optional. However, some school districts and colleges may require it, so it probably will be a good idea to do it anyway. The new Essay section will be designed in a format that better reflects the type of writing you will do in college—you will read a passage at a beginning and then analyze the author’s argument. This new type of essay will be much easier to study for than the old one because you will be practicing as you write in a similar format for your high school assignments.
7. Fewer Math Topics but More Depth
The old SAT tested a general knowledge in a great deal of Math subjects, while the Redesigned SAT requires more depth of knowledge in three topic areas: Algebra, Problem Solving and Data Analysis, and Advanced Math. In addition, you will only be able to use your calculator on certain parts of the Math section. For a visual way to study your Math topics in depth, try using SAT Mind Maps!
8. New Real-World and Scientific Contexts
Throughout these SAT changes, you will encounter more passages and problems that are related to the kind of material you will see in the “real world” or in college, including more passages regarding scientific analysis and the social sciences. With the new SAT Changes, The College Board encourages you to demonstrate your skills that would be more useful in a collegiate environment or even in the workplace, like carrying out multi-step applications in the Math section or editing and revising texts.
The new SAT Changes, while important, are nothing to get nervous about. The College Board’s foremost intention is to make the SAT a better indicator of your knowledge and skills as a student. It is looking like the new SAT is more true to its name, an Aptitude Test, than the old exam. Now, you can spend less time worrying about Math topics you learned in the 8th grade and obscure vocab words. Instead, you can be studying for the SAT as you do assignments in school and as you push yourself to be a good student.
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