New SAT affects current freshmen

April 2, 2014 — by Deepti Kannan and Michelle Leung

A revised version of the SAT will be implemented in spring of 2016 in time for current freshmen to take it. The new test is intended to fix problems with the current version of the current test and to keep pace with the ACT, which has been outstripping the SAT in recent years in popularity.

A revised version of the SAT will be implemented in spring of 2016 in time for current freshmen to take it. The new test is intended to fix problems with the current version of the current test and to keep pace with the ACT, which has been outstripping the SAT in recent years in popularity.
The new 3-hour SAT will go back to the old 1,600-point system and include an optional essay that will be scored separately. There will be no penalty for wrong answers.
The reading and writing sections will be based on more relevant articles, from traditional literature to science articles. 
For example, the new SAT will include analysis of excerpts from historical documents such as the Constitution.
“Whenever a question really matters in college or career, it is not enough just to give an answer,” CollegeBoard president David Coleman told the New York Times. “No longer will it be good enough to focus on tricks and trying to eliminate answer choices. We are not interested in students just picking an answer, but justifying their answers.”
The optional essay question will ask students to analyze a passage instead of writing a response to an arbitrary question. 
The math section will focus on three areas — problem solving and data analysis, algebra and the application of complex equations in science and social science. Calculators will only be allowed on part of the test.
"The changes in the SAT should eventually be good overall, if done as stated," said Rakhi Israni, president of a local test preparation service called Excel Test Prep. "The skills that the SAT proposes to test should be much more in line with the skills necessary to actually succeed in college."   
SAT prep classes and books have been a reliable way to get adequate scores in the past. Standardized test prep companies will be adapting to these changes.
"Starting Summer 2015, [Excel Test Prep] will offer prep for both the current and the new formats," Israni said. "The new format prep will cater to students taking the new format PSAT in October 2015."
According to Israni, the new SAT will be more difficult initially, but should be easier than the current SAT in the long term.
"Initially, the new SAT will be harder than the current version," Israni said. "It should eventually be a better assessment."
Junior Jackie An, who took the SATs in October of her sophomore year, believes that the test will be a more accurate measure of intelligence and effort in school.
"In that sense the changes are founded, but it also seems like it'll be harder to get good scores, so that may be a negative for students," An said "The old one definitely sounds like a more guaranteed good score if you studied hard, whereas the new one you could go either way depending on how you did on the the test."
An feels that making the essay optional was a mistake on the part of CollegeBoard.
"I think it would kind of be hard to judge the scores if some people wrote an essay and some people didn't," An said. "I don't see how that would be helpful, so I think they should have kept the essay."
Freshmen are optimistic that the new test will not require the extensive test preparation previous students have had to take.
"I like the revised version of the writing section of the SAT because it will test us on what we learn in school," freshman Trevor Leung said. "Hopefully we won’t have to do additional test prep. This will revolutionize standardized testing.”