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College Admissions: Will The New SAT Be Easier? Not Likely…

Monday, April 21, 2014

 

Wednesday, the Collegeboard released more details and sample questions for the new SAT that is currently in development. Scheduled to be released in 2016, the test creators have promised to make the test more relevant, eliminating rarely used vocabulary words and focusing more on questions that relate to the real world. Will they succeed? That remains to be seen, but from the sample questions released

this week, the test certainly doesn’t seem to be getting any easier. Here is what we can glean from the sample questions:

• Thematic changes focus on asking students to analyze things more, whether it is reading passages to ascertain the meaning of a vocabulary, interpreting historical speeches or understanding a scattergram.

• The Math section will focus heavily on Algebra, linear functions, data analysis, reading charts and problem solving. What time the “train left the station and when it will arrive” has been replaced by translating rupees into dollars and analyzing the percentage of fees incurred for pre-paid charge cards. Note that parts of the Math section will not permit the use of calculators.

• The Critical Reading section will become the Evidence Based Reading and Writing (optional) section and will focus on the analyses of texts not just from literature, but also from scientific, historical and social science sources.

• Assuming that most competitive colleges will require the Writing section (based on precedent from the ACT), students will go from writing for 25 minutes and taking a personal stance on an issue, to writing for 50 minutes and analyzing text.

What’s the Good News?

• Students won’t lose points for wrong answers

• A computerized version of the test will be offered

• The Collegeboard is partnering with Khan Academy to provide free online prep courses

• Fee waivers for college applications will be more accessible for low income students

How to Prepare

• Put away the vocabulary flash cards and read, read, read. Exposure to a variety of texts, the ability to interpret passages, and the recognition of words in a variety of contexts will be key.

• Study U.S. History and Government diligently before 11th grade. It is clear that documents from the founding fathers to recent congressional hearings will play a big role in the new SAT.

• Become an Algebra Aficionado (without your calculator). The new SAT will focus more on Algebra 1 and Algebra 2, and reduce Geometry questions to a mere 10%. Linear equations, scattergrams, statistics and data interpretation will also play an increased role in the new math section.

Remember, if you are presently a sophomore or junior these changes won’t affect you. The new test will roll out in 2016 and will affect the class of 2017 forward. To keep current on new announcements and to try practice questions for the new test, go to: https://www.collegeboard.org/delivering-opportunity/sat/redesign.
 

 

Related Slideshow: College Board Reports - New England States by the Data

 

Reports released by the College Board, "Trends in College Pricing 2013," and "Trends in Student Aid", included a number of national data points regarding college affordability.  Here, see how the New Engand states stacked up agains each other.

 
 

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