Here’s what you need to know:
– The test will go back to 1600 total possible points with only two sections: Math and Verbal (now called “Evidence-Based Reading and Writing”)
– The test will no longer deduct a quarter point for every wrong answer
– The essay portion will now be optional
– Many of the obscure SAT vocab words will no longer be included on the test, instead, the test will lean toward words that are widely used in college and in a career.
– The new test will begin to be administered in 2 years time, for current high school freshmen
– CollegeBoard is teaming with the Khan Academy to offer free online SAT prep for all students everywhere
– There will be a move to eliminate tricks and make the test more straightforward and more content-based
– Calculators will only be allowed in some sections
– The CollegeBoard will grant 4 college application fee waivers to eligible students
As the CollegeBoard reacts to its loss in popularity versus the ACT, students will clearly appreciate these user-friendly changes. It is commendable that the CollegeBoard seeks to make test prep free to all students across the country; a move like this really could do much to level the playing field since many families cannot afford the expensive test prep courses that the most affluent students enroll in long before they register for either test. Many low income and first generation college students do not even know that such prep exists, so the CollegeBoard will need to do much in the way of marketing and education as they promote the terrific free test prep offer.
These changes are positive but the fact remains that the test is still a nearly four hour teenage rite of passage, and while Test Optional schools at www.fairtest.org are now numbering over 800, there is no sign that either the ACT or the SAT will be going anywhere anytime soon, so current high school freshmen would be wise to take advantage of the free test prep and check out the new SAT. All colleges accept both the ACT and the SAT, so take both and see which is best for you, and remember, you can get fee waivers from your school counselor–just ask!