The SAT is 88 years old and has not been revised since 2005 when it lost analogies and antonyms and began to require an essay component. Now it is time to revise again, and the new SAT is ready to launch.
One reason the SAT is changing is because the ACT has become competitive with the SAT, and the SAT has lost its edge in the market share. Always popular in the Northeast, now it will open its market to Colorado, Illinois, and Michigan offering 11th graders in those states free testing. It also plans to spread into Connecticut, New Hampshire, and New York City. Another reason for the change is that SAT, as well as ACT, scores have stagnated. In fact, SAT scores hit their lowest average in the last decade.
Here are some of the changes to expect as the SAT unrolls this springs:
• There will no longer be deductions for incorrect answers, eliminating penalties for guessing.
• The essay will be optional. The essay writing time will increase from 25 minutes to 50 minutes, and it will require an analysis of an argument.
• There will not be fancy vocabulary to define. Rather vocabulary questions will be more about evaluating use of words in context in the writing/language section of the test.
• The sections of the test will include writing/language, history/social studies, math, reading, and writing.
• The reading section will be 65 minutes long, with 40% of the passages in science, 40% in history/social studies, and 20% in literature.
• The writing/language section will be 35 minutes long.
• The math section will be longer, 80 minutes; and students will not be able to use their calculators for 25 minutes of that time period. The math section will cover quadratic equations, trigonometry, and geometry.
• Multiple choice questions will now have four possible answers instead of the usual five.
• Finally, the score will return to a possible 1600 points, leaving behind the 2400 point scoring system.
Overall the SAT’s biggest change will be transitioning from an aptitude test to more of an achievement test, similar to the ACT. The new SAT will seek to measure what you have learned in high school class work. Perhaps, if you study hard in high school, you are bound to show your readiness for college without having to practice strategies for test taking.