Big Changes Coming to the SAT and PSAT
The College Board announced last week that it plans to redesign the SAT. According to the press release, the changes will make the test “more focused and useful, more clear and open than ever before.” One of the goals of the redesign is to make the test and test preparation resources more widely accessible to all students, including low- and middle-income students.
The first redesigned SAT will be given in spring 2016, so if you’re currently a high school sophomore, you’ll be the first class of students to take the redesigned test. The PSAT also will change, and the new PSAT exam will launch in October 2015.
Here’s a quick summary of the changes you can expect to the SAT:
1. Free test preparation.
To make the exam and college more accessible to all students, the College Board is partnering with Khan Academy to create free test preparation materials for all students. The materials are anticipated to be available in spring 2015.
2. New scoring scale and process.
A top SAT score will return to being 1600 (the essay section will be scored separately). In addition, only right answers will be scored. Points will no longer be deducted for wrong answers.
3. Focus on three sections.
The redesigned exam will have three sections: evidence-based reading and writing, math, and the essay.
4. New math focus.
According to the press release, “the math section will draw from fewer topics that evidence shows most contribute to student readiness for college and career training.” The exam will focus on three key math areas: problem solving and data analysis, algebra and advanced math.
5. More relevant vocabulary words.
Gone are the days of obscure SAT words no one uses in real life. The redesigned SAT will focus on words students will use consistently in college and beyond.
6. Passages drawn from history.
Passages used on the test will now be drawn from historical documents such as the Declaration of Independence and the Federalist Papers.
7. Time changes.
The new exam will take approximately three hours, with an additional 50 minutes for the essay. In addition, the test may be administered in print or by computer, depending on the test-taking site.