Students taking the SAT in the spring of 2016 will encounter a beast of a different kind. The College Board has decided to redesign the SAT based on feedback from various quarters. Close observers have linked the change to rising ACT numbers. In any case, the redesigned SAT will see a lot more changed compared to the current SAT.
Changes in the new SAT:
Exam structure – While the current SAT had three sections, the redesigned SAT will see only two sections – Evidence-based Reading & Writing and Math. The exam will return to the 1600-point scale from the current 2400-point scale. There will be no penalties for wrong answers. Moreover, the exam will be available in both paper and digital formats.
Essays – Starting 2016, the essay section will become optional in nature. The optional essay will be 50 minutes long. The exam will last 3 hours without the essay and 4 hours including the essay. The essay score will also be reported separately. The essay will require students to analyze an existing argument through evidence.
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Relevant vocabulary – The new SAT will do away with the need to memorize tons of words and their meanings. The new vocabulary will test more relevant words and in the context of their usage.
Evidence-based answers – Earlier, students had to choose from one of the multiple choice answers to showcase their understanding of the text. Now, in the evidence-based reading & writing section, they will have to include a quote that best supports the answer they have chosen for a particular question.
Math section – The maths section will focus on problem solving and data analysis, heart of algebra and passport to advanced math. The first section includes ratio, proportions and percentages. Heart of algebra deals with linear equations and systems whereas the last one tests understanding of complex equations. In addition, the exam may also include some geometry and trigonometry problems. Calculators will also be banned for some portion of this section.
Reading passages – When students take the new SAT, they will find a passage from one of the founding documents such as Declaration of independence, The Bill of Rights, among others or from global conversations.
Analysis will span a wide range of areas – Across the new SAT, students can expect a wide range of texts and graphics that can span a wide range of areas such as science, history and social studies.