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!