SAT, PSAT, ACT, PreACT – What You Need to Know
Just when you think you’ve got all of the standardized tests figured out, they go and change them! Here’s a summary of how the tests have changed.
The Revamped SAT
Earlier this year, the College Board unveiled a new SAT.Among the most significant changes were:
- The test is now available in digital and paper formats.
- The essay is no longer required (although some schools may still require you to do the essay). In addition, rather than solely arguing a point based on your own experience or knowledge, the new version requires you to analyze a passage of text.
- Those crazy vocabulary words that no one ever used? Gone! The new test focuses on relevant words.
- The scoring has changed from a 2400 top score to 1600. The optional essay has its own score.
- You’ll now need to read text and data and analyze them, as well as correct any inconsistencies you find between the two.
- Go ahead and guess! There are no longer point deductions for incorrect answers.
- Calculators are now only allowed on certain portions of the math section.
- Be prepared to cite passages to reflect the answer you’ve chosen in the evidence-based reading and writing section.
- You’ll have fewer and more relevant math topics now.
- Be prepared to edit, revise and improve text based on charts, graphs and passages related to history and science.
The Revamped PSAT
In October 2015, the PSAT underwent significant changes in order to make the test more relevant to what’s being taught in schools today. Those changes included:
- There are no more penalties for incorrect answers.
- The test was extended by 35 minutes.
- The previous three sections (math, critical reading and writing skills) were condensed to two sections (math and evidence-based reading and writing).
- The scoring changed from a range of 60–240 to a range of 320–1520.
The biggest difference is in how you’ll be tested on concepts and what you’ll have to do to solve the problems.
The Revamped ACT
In 2015, the ACT was amended as well, though there were fewer changes. The changes included:
- For those taking the electronic version, results are now provided in minutes rather than weeks.
- Questions aimed to assess your readiness for future studies and a career will provide indicator scores to measure your proficiency in things such as science, technology, engineering and math (STEM); English language arts; and your understanding of complex texts.
The New PreACT
Earlier this year, the ACT launched a new PreACT test for 10th-graders. The multiple-choice assessment is designed to help sophomores prepare for and predict their performance on the ACT.The PreACT will be available for students to take in the fall of 2016.
The PreACT is a paper-based test that includes exams in math, reading, science and English. Although you’ll still be scored on a scale of 1–36, the PreACT has fewer questions, will take less time than the ACT and doesn’t have a writing test.
Schools can expect to receive students’ scores within five to 10 days after sending the completed tests to ACT.
To find out more about the SAT or PSAT, visit www.collegeboard.org.
To find out more about the ACT or PreACT, visit www.act.org.