How is the SAT Changing for 2016?

CollegeBoard, creators of the SAT, have officially announced that they are redesigning the entrance exam. This is in response to long-term criticisms from teachers, students, parents, and colleges that highlight flaws in the test. The SAT has been known for its use of rare vocabulary words, tricky questions, and the guessing penalty, among other issues including the anxiety it causes students hoping to get into the college of their choice. The overhaul, set to take effect in the spring semester of 2016, is targeting these issues and making the exam more relevant to the classroom experience.

What is changing?

The Score Scale. The SAT is going from a 2400 scale to 1600.

The Essay. The essay will now be optional, and based on a passage. The prompt will be the same every time, but a new passage will be given for the students to analyze. The time for the essay will be extended beyond the current 25 minutes to allow for reading, planning, writing and editing.

The Reading and Writing Questions. These questions will challenge student’s ability to interpret and analyze passages, while answering questions that require them to provide evidence for their answers.

The Math Questions. The math questions will focus more on algebra, problem solving and data analysis. The context for the questions will be more related to real world application.

What is being removed?

Guessing Penalty. There will be no reduction in points for incorrect answers on the new test.

Obscure Vocabulary. The word choices will be more practical and more like words used in college and career environments, rather than words only seen on the SAT.

What is being added?

Founding documents. Pieces such as the Bill of Rights or the Constitution will appear on the SAT, as well as important texts touching on subjects such as justice and freedom.

A first look at sample questions from the redesigned SAT will be available on the CollegeBoard website in mid-April, 2014.