Summary: No official announcement from the UCs yet: The University of California has not yet made an official decision about whether it will accept for admissions only the new SAT scores or both the current SAT and the new SAT scores. However, we can’t imagine why they would not accept both the 2005 (2400-point scale) SAT and the 2016 (1600-point scale) SAT, as many colleges have already announced that they will accept both.
If you’re a high school student in the class of 2017, you may be wondering whether you should take the current format of the SAT (which debuted in March, 2005 and is scored on a 2400-point scale) or the new format of the SAT (scheduled to launch in 2016 and scored on a 1600-point scale). It’s a good question.
Our official recommendation for most students is that they should take not just the current version of the SAT and be prepared to take the 2016 SAT, but also the ACT. Granted this is a lot of tests to prep for, and many students will simply not have the time. But for those of us who work with students every day to help them get their college applications in order, we frequently see distinct differences in scores among the various tests available. So, if it’s at all possible, please consider taking two or three of the tests available to you.
However, it is also important to know whether the UCs will even accept the 2005 (2400-point scale) SAT, since you wouldn’t want to prep for it and take it for no reason. To find out, we recently emailed the UC Admissions department to find out. We received a prompt reply basically saying that they had not made an official decision yet, and please check back on their admissions website in the future to find out.
Summary: The SAT will change significantly in the spring of 2016. These changes will affect high school students of the class of 2017. Students should strongly consider taking the ACT in addition to the SAT and see which they perform better on. Some (but not all) important changes include: The types of questions will change. The essay section will be optional (but always check with colleges to see whether they require the essay). The new SAT will have a “no-calculator” section. The scoring will change from a maximum of 2400 to a maximum of 1600 (as it was before the 2005 changes). All students taking the new SAT should be familiar with the U.S. Declaration of Independence and other “founding documents.” See the Official College Board page for the 2016 SAT for more information.
If you’re planning to attend college in the United States in the fall of 2017 (or later), there’s a good chance that you’ve already heard that the SAT will undergo significant, even radical, changes in two years’ time.
TestMagic is keeping updated with all the changes, and we will keep all of you updated. Right now, there are not too many details available, but here’s an overview of what College Board has announced:
The graduating class of 2017 is affected. These students will have to take the 2016 SAT (unless they take the current SAT in the fall of their junior year or earlier).
A computer SAT will be available in certain places. This change is more significant than it may at first seem to be!
The PSAT given in October 2015 will reflect changes to the SAT
There will be three sections on the new SAT:
Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW for short)
Essay (“optional;” see more below)
The verbal sections will require analysis and will include a wider variety of material and types of writing.
The math will reflect real-world situations.
The new SAT will be approximately three hours long; the “optional” essay will be 50 minutes long. (Exact times have not yet been decided–research on optimal times is still being conducted.)
There will be a “no-calculator” math section on the 2016 SAT
No more deductions for incorrect answers! So on the new test, be sure to answer each question.
Essay will be “optional” in theory
Vocabulary will be a bit easier and less esoteric. Two words mentioned that could appear on a future 2016 SAT: empirical and synthesis. Examples of words that we conjecture would not appear on the new SAT: pusillanimous, pulchritude, and fulsome.
Scoring goes back to 400-1600 (200-800 for each EBRW and Math), with a separate score for the essay (No official mention of whether the essay will still be scored on a 0-6 scale)
Each new SAT test will include questions about the “Founding Documents,” such as the American Declaration of Independence or discussions of these documents.
Free SAT test preparation will be offered through a collaboration between College Board and Khan Academy
College Board has announced that it wishes to make the new SAT more realistic and more aligned with what students learn in school and do away with the more “puzzle-like” sections of the test. Overall, the math should reflect real-world problems and situations that people encounter and the verbal sections will cover a wider range of topics and subjects and will now require more analysis than previous SATs did.
So, why the changes? In the world of testing, there has been a long controversy over standardized tests and whether they are fair. Over the decades, many of the best-known admissions tests (such as the GRE, the GMAT, and the TOEFL) have become more realistic in their content. For example, in years past, the TOEFL (a test of English proficiency) included dialogues recorded by actors. Now in their place, the test has recordings of real conversations that people have. The SAT itself discarded the analogies (DOG is to PUPPY as CAT is to ???) in 2005, but retained the “sentence completion” questions (Isaac was quite ——-; rarely did he call attention to himself.).
In the coming weeks, we will address the changes to the SAT thoroughly and will keep all of our students and their parents updated on the changes so that they are ideally prepared to apply to college.
In the meantime, please leave a comment or a question!