Changes Announced for the SAT Beginning 2016

In statements this week, College Board President, David Coleman announced changes to the SAT, making this the first modification of the standardized college admission test since 2005. The eight changes are extremely relevant and will undoubtedly have a big influence on how students prepare for the test.

Much of the new SAT is similar to the current and more popular ACT, which does not have penalty for wrong responses, has an optional essay and focuses more on relevant subjects studied in high school.

Some of the changes to the SAT are highlighted here:

The test will have three sections: Reading and writing, math, and the essay, with quantitative problems being stressed. Scoring will return to the 1600-point scale with the essay scored separately.

No more obscure SAT vocabulary words: The SAT will now emphasize words that students in college actually use.

No point deduction for wrong answers: There is no penalty for guessing on the new SAT. Currently students are taught not to randomly guess. There will be new test prep methods to assist students in preparing.

More evidence-based reading and writing: The student’s ability to demonstrate their ability to interpret, synthesize, and use evidence found in a wide range of sources will be important in the reading and writing section. Includes passage from a founding document

The essay will be optional: There are quite a few colleges that currently do not use the essay portion of the exam in their admissions evaluations.

The test will be three hours with 50 additional minutes for the optional essay: Together, the SAT and the optional essay section of the exam will be five minutes longer than the current test.

Certain locations will allow both print and computer usage during the test.

Limits on calculator use: A calculator will be permitted only in certain parts of the math section, as opposed to all of the math section in the current exam

Low-income students will benefit as they can receive four college application fee waivers to all income-eligible students and Khan Academy states they will be providing free test prep.

The changes will not be implemented until 2016. It’s crucial for students and parents to be aware of the changes, the timeline for implementation and remain informed so that they can prepare properly. Next month, the College Board will release samples of the new SAT two years before its official release.