Q:

My children will be taking the SAT test next year, and I have heard there are going to be some significant changes in the test. Do you have any idea what these changes are going to be? -- Would Like to Know

A:

You are correct. Changes in the SAT test are on the way. This test was first given in 1926, and these are the first upgrades since 2005. However, in 1994 antonym questions were removed and calculators were allowed for the first time. The new exam will be rolled out in 2016. The new SAT will continue to test reading, writing and math skills, with an emphasis on analysis. The scoring will be on a 1,600-point scale, with a separate score for the optional essay. Students will have the option to take this test on a computer. Many feel that the changes will make the SAT more like the ACT.

Changes in the new SAT test:

  • -It will be more representative of what students study in high school.
  • -The penalty for guessing is removed.
  • -Some of the vocabulary words will be ones that are more commonly used in school and on the job rather than more esoteric words.
  • -The essay will measure students' ability to analyze and explain how an author builds an argument, instead of measuring the coherence of the writing but not the quality or accuracy of the reasoning.
  • -Colleges and school districts will make the decision to require the essay or not.
  • -The math test will now focus on a few areas like algebra instead of a wide range of math concepts.
  • -A calculator will be allowed on only certain math sections instead of all math sections.
  • -SAT will partner with Khan Academy to provide free test preparation materials for the new SAT.
  • -To assist low-income students, SAT will give students taking the SAT four fee waivers to apply to colleges.