Prepare for the New SAT

Prepare for the New SAT

by Laura – Subject Matter Coach

As you may or may not be aware, the SAT is changing in several major ways. First, a redesign will change the way the test is structured, administered, timed, and scored. Next, It will include an optional essay, fewer multiple choice questions, and no penalty for wrong answers. Additionally, there will be an increased emphasis on critical thinking, problem solving, and data analysis. In a nutshell, the assessment will be focused more on content and less on test-taking skills.
 
The redesign of the SAT might sound like a blast from the past for many parents. The test will return to a 1600-point scale with math and reading each counting for between 200 and 800 points. However, the changes are more in-depth than that. The optional essay will be scored separately, and the ¼ point penalty for incorrect answers will no longer be in effect. Score reports will include an in- depth analysis, pinpointing areas of strength and weakness. Also, in keeping up with the times, students will now have the option to take the test electronically.
 
The optional essay will test reading, analysis, and writing skills. Students will be required to read an essay and explain how the author built his/her argument. The time limit for the essay will be doubled to 50 minutes, allowing students time to both read the essay and to write a 650-750 word response. Aside from the essay, the multiple choice questions are changing as well. There will be less questions, but with a greater focus on in-depth analysis of content and evidence.
 
Overall, there is an increased emphasis on critical thinking, problem solving, and data analysis. The math section will include real-world problem solving accompanied by informational graphics. The reading section will no longer include sentence completion. Instead, students will be tested on their ability to understand passages from U.S. and World Literature, History/Social Studies, and Sciences. This goes for writing as well, where all questions will be pulled from extended prose relating to Careers, History/Social Studies, Humanities, and Science. Through these passages, students will be tested on their “Expression of Ideas” and “Standard English Conventions.”
 
So who does the new test affect? Anyone graduating in 2017 or later will take the new SAT, which means the upcoming junior class will be the first to experience the new assessment. For these students, the traditional “beat the test” strategies that many test prep centers offer will no longer be a legitimate study method. Students are much more likely to need individual, personalized assistance. That being said, the time to start preparing is now.

 

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