Big Changes Are Coming to the SAT Test: What You Need t...
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By Kevin Michel/Posted: Aug 8 2015
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Big Changes Are Coming to the SAT Test: What You Need to Know

The SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) is on the verge of changing and it is critical to know what those changes are and how they will effect high school students planning to enroll in college in the U.S. The SAT or ACT tests are an entrance requirement of many colleges, even for foreign students interested in attending universities located in the United States. Most students take the test in their Junior or Senior year of high school, although many sophomores also sign up to take the exam, which covers writing, reading, math, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. These changes to the test, the first since 2005, are a welcome relief to many students.

  • No more essay questions, kind of. Not exactly, but the essay portion of the exam is now optional and won't count against students that choose not to submit an essay. If you rise to the essay challenge, you score will be separate from the other parts of the SAT.

  • The scoring module will revert to 1,600 points. In 2005, the SAT board updated the scoring to 2,400 points, which added hours to the amount of time for students to take the test. It has also been proven that this added much stress to students when prepping and taking the test.

  • The exam will now last three hours, with an extra 50 minutes if the student chooses to do the optional essay. This shaves off 45 minutes from the test taking time as it stands now.

  • Forget about #2 pencils and aching hands. Say hello to technology. For the first time, test takers will have the option of taking the test via a computer or the "old fashioned" way. This is a great option, especially for those that choose the essay option.

  • The Vocabulary portion of the test is doing away with some of the more obscure words. In the critical reading section, where students are asked to pick the "best" word for the sentence, the words will be ones that are more apt to be used in a collegiate setting and are words more commonly used today, versus hundreds of years ago.

  • The new math section is getting a 2016 makeover as well. The math portion of the test will be easier to study for, because there will be fewer topics. The SAT will focus on three areas. Problem solving, including ratios, percentages, and true to life scenarios will be first. The second math area will be algebra. The final area to brush up on is based on multiple-step equations and will be on a concept called "passport to advanced math."

  • The reading section will get an upgrade too. If Literature isn't your thing, the new reading part of the test will be more to your liking. The more balanced readings will include non-fiction, history, social studies, and science topics. The educators hope this will aide a wider range of students.

  • New scoring methods mean students won't be punished for guessing at an answer. This is probably the best change. Points will no longer be deducted for wrong answers. The only points assessed will be for correct answers.

  • Each test will include an excerpt from one of America's founding documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, or texts. Students should study a variety of all documents and texts, and be well acquainted with the freedom, liberty, and founding of the United States government.

With all the changes ahead for college entrance exams and a wide array of options available to help you study, from books, classes, and one on one tutoring. Low-income students can apply for fee waivers in order to take the test. Along with the changes to the test itself, The College Board also announced that low-income students would receive four waivers to apply to college free. For more information about taking the SAT exam, CollegeBoard.com, has all the latest news and tips.

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