By: Autumn at University Language On: March 25, 2014 In: Applying to College, Testing Comments: 0

If you plan to take the SAT in the next few years, you should be aware of some major changes that will come into effect in spring 2016.

The College Board recently announced that everything from the format of the test to the maximum score would be changing. The SAT redesign is part of an effort to help students in all parts of the world.

Changes to the Scoring and Content

One of the most prominent changes on the SAT is the return to a maximum score of 1600. This was how the test was structured until 2005, when the top score became 2400. However, the essay section of the SAT will become optional, which means the test will primarily consist of a verbal section and a math section.

Another change to the SAT is that the penalty for guessing wrong on a question will be removed. Currently, test takers lose points for wrong answers, and neither gain nor lose points for skipping questions.

Verbal Changes

First things first — it won’t be known as the “verbal” section anymore.  Its new name is Evidence-Based Reading and Writing.

The name is telling: students will be asked more evidence-based questions, and be required to do things such as choose a quote from a passage to support their arguments.

Vocabulary words that are rarely used in college classes will be eliminated from the verbal section, which means this part of the test will focus more on commonly used – yet still challenging – terms.

Math Changes

Another change you should pay attention to is that you will no longer be able to use a calculator on certain parts of the math section of the SAT.

In addition, this portion of the test will focus on functions, linear equations and proportional reasoning, though it may sample from other areas of math.

Essay Changes

On top of being optional, the essay will more closely resemble college assignments. Instead of asking philosophical, open-ended  questions, students will be asked to analyze a source and explain how the author builds an argument.

Changes to the Format of the SAT

The new format of the SAT will allow students to take the test with paper and a pencil or, in select locations, on a computer.

This is in response to the fact that students can take the ACT online, which has made that test increasingly popular compared to the SAT.

Free Test Preparation

Of all the changes, perhaps the most anticipated one is the addition of free SAT test preparation for students anywhere in the world. The College Board has partnered with Khan Academy to offer this benefit to all students.

The goal of free test preparation is to try to level the playing field for all students, regardless of economic background.
The Khan Academy is so excited to put this change into place that it is already offering free test preparation materials to students taking the SAT starting this year. So whether you are an international student or a US citizen who previously could not afford to get help preparing for the SAT, you should now be able to get it when you visit the Khan Academy’s site.

Do you think the SAT changes will be helpful? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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