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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The "New" SAT

Is it just me or is there a ton of stuff going on lately? And I don't mean busy (although that's true) but as in international news. One of the things that has struck me lately is the changes to the SAT.

I do not test well. I really struggle with standardized tests because they are really stressful. I knew that in order to get into this college I needed this score, or for this other college I needed that score. It's a crazy amount of pressure, and not to mention that those bubbles just drive me crazy.

So, when the College Board announced their "new" SAT, I was definitely interested in what the changes would be. Currently, the SAT is a 3 hour and 50 minute test (assuming it starts on time, which it never ever does) that consists of 10 sections - 1 essay section, 3 math, 3 writing, 3 reading, and one of those 9 objective sections is an experimental section in which the College Board tests new questions and problems. The maximum score is 2400 points, and for every question you get wrong, 1/4 of a point is deducted from your score.

Essentially, the College Board will now cut out the essay and revert the scoring back to the 1600 scale. They will be eliminating the essay as well as the scoring penalty - if you get a question wrong, it won't be counted against you. The College Board has stated in a New York Times article that they will change the material of the test to be more like what most kids actually learn in high school. Right now, the SAT tests your "ability" to learn, and many students (including me!) find its questions to be obscure and unnecessarily difficult. The vocabulary words are so uncommon and the math questions are unlike anything I have ever seen before, and I'm in the most advanced math class that my school offers.

By making all of these changes, the goal is that there will no longer be a socioeconomic advantage for wealthier students. For example, more affluent families can afford private tutors and test prep classes. I took a prep class (hated it), but it was worth it in the end. However, this did give me an advantage to be completely honest. The College Board has stated that they no longer want a family's financial status to affect their SAT scores, which I think is pretty great. Although I took advantage of my opportunity to get extra SAT help, I know that a lot of my classmates were not given that opportunity, and it just isn't fair.

What do you all think of the new SAT changes? I know that this was an info-packed post that probably made your brain as sore as the SAT makes mine, but I hope that this run-down of the changes helps those of you who were confused or unclear about the changes!

xx, Victoria

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xx, Victoria