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Breaking down the new SAT

by CAROLINE GAVURA Section Editor

If you are planning on taking the SAT in the spring of 2016, you are in luck. There are major changes coming to the test, including it being offered online, returning to the 1600 point scale, and the essay being optional.

Unlike the old test,the redesigned SAT will focus more on relevant words used in everyday speech and literature, rather than having to memorize obscure words with flash cards. Students will be asked what each word means by using context clues in a short passage.

Reading and Writing sections are being condensed into one section, and it is also becoming evidence-based. What this means is that for every passage on the test, there will be a question asking for students to select a quote from the text that best supports their answer. The creators of the test hope that this will show their ability to interpret and use evidence found in different sources.

“Although this is more work, the evidence-based questions will do a better job at portraying how well each student will do in college, which is filled with research and evidence-based work,” said junior Cori Haider.

The essay will be very different from the current SAT. While students are now given a prompt and asked to write using historical, literary, or real-life examples to support the question being asked, students will read a passage and explain how the author makes an argument on the new SAT.

The essay was designed to allow for more clear writing and careful analyzing. The essay will be optional, but before all the juniors and seniors this year cringe, most colleges will require it for evaluation purposes.

For the math section, the College Board website states, “The exam will focus in depth on three essential areas of math: problem solving and data analysis, the heart of algebra, and passport to advanced math.”

Percentages, ratios, and linear equations are all going to have to be mastered before taking the test, which studies have shown will improve students’ performance in college.

All of the problems on the test are going to become more applicable to real-life scenarios. This will help students relate to the text or problem, and obtain a higher score.

“I’m glad they are making the test more relatable to real life. I had a hard time understanding some of the problems because they were so out there, so this is good. Also, this way the test will better prepare students for college,” said senior Kelsey Rudowitz.

Science and social studies will also make an appearance on the new SAT, which is new for the test, but similar to the ACT. Students will read challenging passages on these subjects and have to answer evidence-based questions on them.

One of the biggest changes to the SAT is that there will no longer be a penalty for wrong answers. Instead of losing 1/4 a point for each wrong answer, students will only earn points for correct answers. This means students will now be encouraged to guess for the first time.

What do you think of the new SAT test format?

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