While there has been so much discussion about the New SAT test coming soon, we want to take a moment to remind you of these very important changes.
In March 2016, the newly designed SAT test will officially launch and students will be required to take the redesigned test as part of their college admissions process. The new test will place a stronger focus on problem solving, using context across a variety of disciplines, and building upon reading and writing skills that students will encounter in college and in their future careers. The scoring for the test will shift from the current scale of 2400 back to 1600, with a separate score for the essay-writing portion. In addition, test takers will no longer be penalized for choosing incorrect answer choices.
The College Board has formed a new partnership with Khan Academy and together, they will offer free, online resources for test takers, which will make the SATs more transparent and available to all constituents. An extensive amount of additional resources and content also will be made available through Khan Academy’s website. Equally important, the practice questions and test release materials will be aligned to the actual test as much as practice materials developed by the College Board.
Additional details to note include:
- The math section will now focus on Pre-Algebra through basic Trigonometry skills. There will be a stronger emphasis on Algebra, data analysis, real world-problem solving, and more advanced mathematical concepts that will better prepare students for college.
- Calculators will no longer be allowed on every portion of the math section.
Reading and Writing Sections
- The reading and writing sections will include reading passages from a wider range of disciplines in addition to literature, including history, social studies, and science.
- Both the reading and the writing sections will also include questions that require test takers to identify textual evidence for their answer choices.
- Both sections will require test takers to read passages and critically analyze how the author presents an argument, how textual evidence is used, and how the author’s stylistic decisions are used to present ideas.
- There will no longer be obscure words that students need to memorize. Instead, test takers must consider the context in which words are being used. Contextualized words, such as “empirical” and “synthesis,” and other words students will likely encounter again in their educational careers, will be a focus on the reading section.
- While science has never been a part of the current SAT test, in the redesigned test, knowledge of science and history will be included in all sections of the SAT test. For example, in the reading section, one of the reading passages will be from a U.S. founding document.
- Although the writing section is optional, keep in mind that colleges may still require the applicants to complete this section of the test. As seen with the ACT, their essay section is also optional, however, many colleges are asking students to complete and submit their essay scores.
Preparation and Practice Tests
- For the new SATs, the College Board has increased the number of practice tests that will be released to the public.
- The first four practice SATs will be distributed through two outlets: a hard-copy form of the new Official SAT Study Guide and online through Khan Academy’s website.
The chart below will help inform you of the changes to the redesigned SAT test. Download a PDF version of the chart.
Consider taking the current SAT test before the new SAT test is initiated because there is quite a bit of anxiety as students and consultants are not sure how the test will really unfold. The current rumor is that students who are taking the New SAT test in March may not receive their scores until May. Therefore, if your child does indeed feel prepared, it would be our recommendation to take the test now.
New SAT test preparation books are now slowly being published from test based publishers if you are curious to see sample tests. Of course, preparation books and online resources do not replace the importance of having an instructor guide your student through the course content. However, the books do provide great practice and would act as a valuable supplement to a preparation course.
At Mill Creek Academy, we will continue to stay committed to all upcoming changes to the SAT test to ensure that our classes and curriculum are relevant for your child’s SAT preparation.
The College Board’s 200 page document on the redesigned SAT test will provide you with further insight as to how the test will be relevant to your child. Sample questions are also published. You can find further details about the redesigned SAT on the College Board website.