Recent Changes to the SAT


Lauren DeBoyes, Writer

Are you taking the SAT this year?  If yes, you should be aware of the recent changes made to the test.  The College Board has made several context, format, and scoring changes to the SAT this past year.  The SAT has been changed in order to better test students on the type of math and English they will encounter in college and in daily life.  The SAT is now more appealing and predictable than the previous test.  These drastic changes have completely reshaped the SAT and altered the way the test is viewed by colleges.  

Previously, affording SAT prep programs was problematic. Those who could afford test prep classes were better prepared for the SAT. However, a new and free SAT prep program is offered through a new partnership with Khan Academy. Khan Academy is partnered with the College Board which ensures that this new program is better suited to properly prepare students for the SAT.

Now, unlike in the earlier version of the SAT, there is no longer a penalty for wrong answers.  Unsure of whether or not to guess on an answer?  Go for it! It won’t hurt your score, so there is no harm in getting questions wrong.  Points will only be distributed for correct answers and not deducted for wrong answers.  So guess!  You might get it right and add points to your score.

The essay section of the SAT has also been redesigned.  Students are now asked to read a passage and respond to a consistent essay question.  However, it is not possible for students to view the passage prior to the test.  The essay is also optional.  Students will receive an extra fifty minutes to complete the essay and a five-minute break before it begins.  The essay will be scored separately from the rest of the SAT.  If you are taking the essay, you

will be given an additional fifty minutes to complete it.  Check to see if the college you’re looking into requires the essay to know whether to take it or not.  

In addition, the sections of the SAT have been altered.  Instead of several short sections, there are now fewer sections with more questions and more time per section.  There are also five-minute breaks between every hour of testing, which will fall between each section.  

Students are now only required to understand vocabulary based on its context, instead of having to know the word-for-word definitions.  Students are asked to define the word based on the meaning of it in a certain sentence.  In this way, the SAT is testing students on something they can apply to real life.

There is also an increase in graphs and charts throughout the SAT.  Students will find graphics in nearly every section of the test.  There will also be an increased amount of historical works, such as U.S. documents and works by famous historical figures.  

Many colleges are no longer requiring students to have taken the SAT to get into the school.  But before assuming that it isn’t necessary to take the SAT, look into your college of interest to see what they require and what they want to see from their students.  

These changes to the SAT will better test students on their knowledge and allows students to easily prepare.  The SAT has been completely reshaped for the benefit of students.  

Do you think these changes are for better or for worse?  Let us know in the comments!