With the new SAT just debuted, many are anxious about the changes. Indeed, many students did not take the first administration of the test. Instead, they’re waiting to see what will happen to the hapless group of students who must serve as guinea pigs for the rest of us.
But there is a lot of good news about the test. In fact, after reading this below you might want to sign up for the next available test, rather than wait and fret.
1. No guessing penalty
One of the most dread inducing things about the old SAT was that there was a guessing penalty. Even though the penalty was relatively minor (1/4 off for each incorrect answer) and really didn’t hurt students if they were able to confidently eliminate at least one answer choice, many found it a psychological barrier that affected their performance on the test.
With the New SAT you can guess all you want without any penalty. Though if you are guessing on every question, you might want to prep a little bit harder.
2. The answer choices in the reading comprehension aren’t as tricky
The old SAT was notorious for its vaguely worded answer choice on the reading comprehension section. Students would often feel disgruntled believing that their answer was right and that the test was rigged against them. On the new test, the questions reward a genuine understanding of the passage.
There might be a few subtle tricks in the answer choices. For instance, the SAT still puts an answer choice that is almost right, except for one word at the end that is incorrect. Or they might take the intended meaning and jumble a few words around, so that if you give the answer choice a cursory glance you are likely to get trapped. Overall, though, if you pay attention and understand the passage, you won’t feel as though the answer choices are unfair.
3. No obscure vocabulary
Even as a person who loves vocabulary, I can’t say that I’m unhappy (or should I say ‘ruing’) that I will never again have to stand in front of a room of terror stricken students and tell them that they have to know the definition to words like lugubrious, pusillanimous, and picayune. These three words are about as germane to a high school education and college education as knowing the names of all four Marx brothers.
On the new test students will have to know the difference between words like synthesize and summarize, words that you actually need to know for college.
4. There are only four answer choices
Since the new SAT isn’t as focused on crafting tempting wrong answer choices, they probably figured why not do away with one of the answer choices. And that’s not a bad thing for students, who won’t need to spend quite as much time reading through the answer choices.
5. It’s now more aligned with the PSAT
In the debate of PSAT vs. SAT, many have remarked how the PSAT is the lightweight cousin of the SAT. Though the question types on the old version of the tests were exactly the same, the timing of the sections was markedly different. Now the PSAT is, section for section, almost as long as the SAT. This will give freshman and sophomores better practice for the actual test. And the PSAT to SAT score predictor will be more accurate, since it will account for the “stamina factor”—without the essay, the PSAT will only be 15 minutes shorter than the SAT.
About Chris Lele
For the last ten years, Chris has been helping students excel on the SAT and the GRE. In this time, he’s coached 5 students to a perfect SAT score. Some of his GRE students have raised their scores by nearly 400 points. He has taken many GMAT students from the doldrums of the 600s to the coveted land of the 700+. Rumor has it he does a secret happy dance when his students get a perfect score. You can read Chris’s awesome blog posts on the Magoosh High School Blog, and prep with his lessons using Magoosh SAT Prep.