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What’s Going to Change
• Essay portion will be optional & scored separately
*By obscure, we’re referencing words you’re likely to never hear in college (think: crepuscular, antediluvian). However, words that some might still view as tricky will still appear on the exam, so expanding your vocabulary is still a good idea, just maybe not to the same extremes as was once necessary. Any words you will be seeing in college (think: paradigm, ubiquitous, constituent) will still be fair game!
**This will likely be a passage from a historical document, like The Declaration of Independence, an excerpt of a famous historical speech, such as Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech or other passages with historical relevance.
The College Board added the SAT’s mandatory essay in 2005. Many test takers often have the option, depending on the school they’re applying to, of taking the SAT or ACT. The ACT has an optional essay, which may have played a role in the fact that last year, for the first time, the ACT beat out the SAT in the number of test takers.
In 2013, a record 1.8 million high school students took the ACT, which was an 8 percent increased from 2012. Comparatively, a total of 1.66 million high school students took the SAT.
Initially, the SAT was mainly taken by students within the East and West coast while the ACT was taken by students within the Midwest and Mountain regions – a divide that’s neither relevant nor observed by most colleges.
• Right answers-only scoring; points no longer deducted for incorrect answers
• Obscure* wording will be eliminated – no more studying intense “SAT-vocabulary”
• Scoring will return to a total score of 1600 points
• Expansion of free SAT study & test prep materials
• Application fee waivers for all income-eligible students to four colleges
• Exam available in print & computer format
• Addition of “Founding Documents and Great Global Conversation” reading passage
(a document** which students have likely seen within school, rather than an arbitrary filler essay)
• Math section will focus on 3 Key Areas:
1. Problem Solving & Data Analysis
2. Heart of Algebra
3. Passport of Advanced Math
Expansion of Free Test Prep ResourcesIn addition to the upcoming of the actual exam changes, the College Board has also taken into account the test-prep industry’s costly courses alienate lower income students who are not able to afford such resources. “It is time for the College Board to say in a clear voice that the culture and practice of costly test preparation…drives the perception of inequality and injustice in our country,” said Coleman. “It may not be our fault but it is our problem.” As a result, the College Board has partnered with Khan Academy, a nonprofit, to help expand their free SAT test preparation study materials for students to eliminate the necessity of the costly route all together. The materials are said to include free interactive software and YouTube study guide videos with exclusive access to practice questions from actual SAT exams. According to the College Board, the new materials will be available to students in the spring of 2015.
Remember, for students now and in the future, Fastweb also has test prep resources and they're alwaysfree of charge!Additionally, lower-income students meeting necessary qualifications will be able to take the exam free of charge and will be able to apply to up to four colleges for free (without even having to ask for any fee waivers from the schools, streamlining the process). “What this country needs is not more tests, but more opportunities. It is time for the College Board to move from measuring to acting,” Coleman stated. Full exam specifics and samples of the changes will become available on April 16. To learn more about the upcoming SAT changes, visit the College Board’s Delivering Opportunities page which explains what all of the changes mean for you, allows users to sign up for email updates, answers relevant questions and even offers a detailed SAT Blueprint outlining all of the upcoming changes.
What do you think about the SAT overhaul? Does it impact whether you'll be taking the SAT or the ACT?