Thursday, March 24, 2016

Notes on the New SAT

As many of you know, a redesigned SAT exam was offered for the first time in March.  Results for this test won’t be released until May so many juniors might be feeling a bit anxious waiting.  It’s going to take awhile, not only to score the new test, but for analysts to determine how the scores calibrate with the previous test.

Here are some notes I took at a recent counselors’ conference about the effects of the new exam:

Format changes:
--No guessing penalty
--There are still calculator and non-calculator sections (unlike the ACT)
--Sections are now longer.
--The essay is now optional and not included in the 1600 point composite score.
--Check the College Board site for a summary of the content changes.  Both the math and verbal sections are designed to align better with Common Core standards of evidence-based reasoning.

Implications for the University of California State Universities:
--The UCs will still require the writing portion of the SAT.
--For now at least, the CSUs will continue to use the score range from the old SAT on its eligibility index.  

Suggestions for preparing and taking the exam:
--First try practice tests for both the SAT and ACT to see which format/content works better. You can take a practice test via the public library or at a test prep center like Kaplan or AJ Tutoring. 
--Sign up to take the optional writing essay as it is still required for many colleges and universities.
--Use the free tutorial offered by Khan Academy to prepare for the test.
--As you research your college list, check whether or not each school: offers score choice, super scores, or requires SAT subject tests.

My overall advice is to prepare well for standardized tests and plan carefully to take the tests as few times as possible (no more than twice).

Good luck!

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