The College Board has made significant changes to the SAT exam, which will be released this March. The changes were made because of its difficulty and how colleges perceived the scores.
One of the changes made is that the essay, which some students stress about, will be optional. This is because many colleges would not accept the essay portion of the exam. They claim that an essay that is written in 25 minutes is not an accurate representation of that person’s ability to write. With this change, the amount of time to write the optional essay will increase to 50 minutes.
According to http://www.collegeboard.org, “No longer will students use flashcards to memorize obscure words, only to forget them the minute they put their test pencils down.” They have removed the difficult vocabulary portion and increased the areas on reading comprehension and grammar.
The test is now only divided into two sections: the Writing and Language Test and the Math Test. Each section is worth 800 points. There will also be four answer choices instead of five.
The website http://www.prepscholar.com says that the scoring will be out of 1600 points instead of 2400. The average score will be 1000 points, when it was previously 1500. The test has been geared to make the average this round number.
Another change is the way it will be scored. In the old exam, a point was added for correct answers, omitted questions did not hurt or help one’s score, and 1/4 of a point was subtracted for wrong answers. Now, everything is the same, except wrong answers will no longer count against a person’s score.
Many students believe that those who already took the SAT are being cheated out of an easier test. Theresa Deputy (’17) said, “I think it’s unfair for the others in the past who have already taken it because the essay and vocabulary could have prevented them from scoring as high as they could on the new one.” The content of the old exam may have impacted a person’s grade negatively and caused them to miss out on the college of their choice.
The changes to the SAT can either help you or hurt you, depending on where your strengths lie. The key things have not changed, though: pay attention in class, study, and try your best!