SAT changes

Jeannie Williams, Staff Reporter

The College Board announced on Wednesday, March 5 the changes to come to the SAT beginning spring 2016. Changes will alter the SAT in areas that current students have known for as long as they’ve been preparing for it.
The most basic of these changes is the scoring. Currently, the highest score possible is 2400, but beginning spring 2016, the test will be scored on a 400- to 1600-point scale. The exam has not been graded on this scale since 2005. The change students are happiest about is the removal of the penalty for wrong answers.
“Now taking the test is easier since you can guess without losing points,” freshman Jessica Vasquez said.
The addition of an Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section will prove tricky for many. Students will be given passages to read, at least one being the Declaration of Independence or based on it. The Reading questions will include analysis, interpretation, and editing. Instead of just answering a question, students will need to select a quote from the passage that supports their answer.
For the writing portion, students will be asked to read a passage and will answer questions that explain how the author builds and argument. The essay will now be optional, although schools may still require it for admission like they do with the ACT.
Vocabulary questions will no longer be based on words that have been labeled as “SAT words”
and will instead be based on everyday language. The purpose of the new SAT is to prepare students for college and careers and is based on what is taught in schools, as opposed to testing students on extra classes and SAT literature.
“We’ll actually be able to use the words and understand what they mean and when to use them,” senior Amanda Durski said.
The math section will see some changes as well. The SAT will now focus on a few areas of math that are deemed most appropriate for college and real-world settings. Calculators, previously allowed for the whole test, will now only be allowed for certain questions.
Something else that will make the exam less cryptic is the College Board’s new partnership with popular study tool Khan Academy. The website already offers homework help, specifically in math. Starting in 2015, Khan Academy will offer free online resources to help student prepare for the test that determines their future with practice straight from the source. Review will include practice problems and instructional videos to assist students with studying.
The first class to feel the impact of the changes is the class of 2016, for those who take the SAT their senior year.