In less than two weeks nearly a million high school students will be faced with the redesigned SAT. Yes, it is scary for many, but there are plenty of reasons why one shouldn’t fear it.
The College Board (the company that makes the SAT exam) has regularly made format changes in an effort to improve the exam, and surely the SAT will be redesigned again in the future. There tends to be a major change every 10 years or so. Furthermore, while this revision seems to be more significant than most, the redesigned SAT is actually going to be more connected to high school curriculum than past SAT exams. This will make the new SAT better for most students.
Moreover, the College Board has released official practice material for the redesigned SAT this past June. Think about how much time that gives students to prepare: the redesigned book of SAT material came out in June and the first redesigned exam is in March. That’s nearly 9 months! This makes it pretty baseless to complain, “we won’t know what to expect.” On the contrary, we know exactly what to expect.
As I have been preparing my students for several weeks for this first redesigned SAT on March 5th, the specific differences of the new exam are becoming more and more apparent:
1) The Reading test: This section drops the very vocabulary intensive sentence completions from the previous version of the SAT. The passage-based reading questions are actually very similar to the reading on the old SAT. The answer choices are still very well designed to take advantage of the various incorrect ways a student may interpret certain parts of a passage. The nature of the choices is a little different, but the level of deception is pretty similar.
2) The Writing and Language test: This section mostly tests the same grammar rules as the previous SAT tested, with a few additions. However, the new section tests rhetorical strategies much more so than the old exam.
3) The Math tests: First of all, one of the new math sections does not allow a calculator. This in itself is new, but don’t worry – the questions don’t require students to need to do extensive arithmetic by hand. In general, the big difference on the new SAT math is that there are many more math concepts tested. Many of the new math concepts connect to what students are learning in school.
I could elaborate in more detail as to all of the differences, but that would make this much too long to be a blog post. To learn everything you need for success on the redesigned SAT exam, simply register for an upcoming class.