Major changes occuring to improve the SAT

The SAT – a rite of passage that most high school student’s encounter to continue this journey we call life. I’ll never forget waking up at 7 am on a perfectly good Saturday to take a four-hour exam that would decide the next step in my life. It was beyond nerve-wracking; and even after hours upon hours of studying, I was still not prepared. I said it then and I’ll say it now: I don’t think this test design is the best option for colleges to decide who gains entrance. Thankfully, College Board, the creator of the SAT, agrees, and the SAT is undergoing major revisions to meet future student needs. 

The revision of the SAT is a two-fold process that will be administered in 2016. The first step is making the SAT more accessible to students. The College Board is going to offer four free test waivers to every income-eligible student applying for college, and they are partnering with Khan Academy to offer free SAT test-prep materials around the world. The second step is the test redesign. The test will have three sections: evidence-based reading and writing, math and the essay. It will return to a 1,600-point scoring scale, with the essay scored separately and be three hours in length, with an extra 50 minutes for the essay. The test will be administered both in print and computer. Also, the questions and focus of the test are shifting in eight major ways:

  1. Relevant words in context – students will no longer have to memorize 500 words and their definitions. Instead, the test will focus on close reading and relevant words.
  2. Command of evidence – The SAT will now test students on how well they can provide evidence to support their answer. For example, for every passage that students read in the Reading section, they will be asked a question asking them to select a quote from the passage that supports their answer.
  3. Essay analyzing a source – The essay section of the SAT will now ask students to read a passage and explain how the author builds and argument to persuade their audience. Also, the essay section will be optional, although most colleges require it.
  4. Focus on the math that matters most – The math section will focus on three areas of math: problem solving and data analysis, the heart of algebra, and passport to advanced math.
  5. Problems grounded in real-world contexts – New questions will be added to all sections of the test that are directly related to the work performed at college and career field.
  6. Analysis in science and in history/social studies – New questions will ask students to apply their math, reading and writing skills to answer questions in science, history, social studies areas.
  7. Founding document and great global conversation – The new test will have direct passages and questions from founding documents (Bill of Rights, Declaration of Independence, etc.) or text from global conversation.
  8. No penalty for wrong answers – Students will not have points deducted from score for getting an answer wrong. (Yay!)
Although I'm sure the test will still be nerve-wracking for students, at least it will test them on knowledge and skills they learn in the classroom, and better prepare them to enter college. For all your prep test needs, check out Anythink’s collection:

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CollegeBoard. (2014a). Redesign SAT. Retrieved from

CollegeBoard. (2014b). The College Board Announces Bold Plans to Expand Access to Opportunity; Redesign of the SAT. Retrieved from

Gumbrecht, J. (2014). Major changes coming to 2016 SAT test: Here's what, how and why. Retrieved from