Things are about to get weird.
Spring is here, time can travel, and the SAT is undergoing its biggest change in 10 years!
At this point, it may be easier to explain what isn’t different. Arguably the most beneficial change is students will no longer be penalized for guessing. This change alone is a common reason why many students opt to take the ACT over the SAT, so this could very well increase the amount of students who sign up for the exam. However, the biggest change according to testing professional and educators is that this will be a more “text-based” test. Even though the vocabulary section is getting left in 2015, the math and reading sections are expected to be much more dense with text and the essay is now optional. Furthermore, questions now only have four answer options compared to five, and calculators can even be used during some parts of the math section. And for the kicker, the test will now be scored on the old 1600 point scale instead of 2400.
Pros and Cons
The change that is anticipated to have the most significant impact on scores is that guessing is no longer penalized. Now, when students are reminded that they have 1 minute left to finish their section, instead of scratching their head trying to remember the Pythagorean Theorem, they can hastily bubble in the remaining unanswered questions without having to worry how much it’ll hurt their score. This runs into the issue of students getting “lucky” with guessing, and they could end up with a higher score than they would have if guessing was still penalized. There is also the very important change of losing the dreaded vocabulary section. Students will no longer have to stress for months memorizing the meaning flashcard definitions that no one knows the meaning of except the people who write the SAT, so they can now focus their studies on more relevant sections.
If we’re speaking strictly numbers, students have a much better chance of getting higher scores. Now that they have less answer choices and aren’t getting penalized for an incorrect answer, it seems like these kids are set to get into Princeton! Except, for not. The SAT is changing because the college admissions process is changing. Admissions officers aren’t just solely looking at SAT scores anymore when they choose to admit a student into their university. The SAT is adapting to the changing field of education, and universities are doing the same. On the bright side, you’ll get to avoid more questions like this: When I was 2 years old, my brother was half my age. Now I am 100 years old, how old is my brother?
By Kara Schell