SAT, the standardised test for college admissions in the U.S., is being redesigned. Lisa Jain, Country representative – India, The College Board (developer of SAT), throws light on the redesigned SAT and its impact on Indian students.
Why has the SAT been revised?
The redesigned SAT aims to be more relevant in the changing times. While continuing to be valid and predictive, it will become more focused, useful, clear and open than ever before. The SAT has been redesigned to focus on fewer things evidence shows matter most for college and career readiness.
What are the changes in the new SAT Exam?
The key features of the redesigned SAT are:
1. The exam will be scored on a total of 1,600. The evidence-based reading/writing and math sections will each be scored on a 200-to-800 point scale. Scores for the essay section will be reported separately.
2. The essay will be optional and not mandatory like it currently is.
3. No points will be deducted for incorrect answers.
4. The duration of the exam will be about three hours, with an additional 50 minutes for the essay. Precise timing will be finalised after further research.
5. Calculators will be permitted only on certain portions of the math section, and not throughout. The math section will draw from fewer topics.
6. Vocabulary will focus on words that are widely used in college and beyond, instead of focusing on obscure words.
7. The reading and writing sections will be evidence-based. For instance, they will include questions that require students to cite a specific part of a passage to support their answer choice. Also, students will be asked to analyse both text and data in real-world contexts.
8. Students will encounter source texts from science, history and social studies and be expected to analyse them the way they usually would in those classes at high school.
How do the changes benefit students?
Our objective with the redesign is to make the exam more useful by ensuring that everything students encounter when they take it is widely applicable to their work in college and later in their careers. The new SAT will be much clearer and more open than ever before. The College Board will release additional information, including sample items for each section, on our website on April 16. We will ensure students know what to expect and how to prepare for the exam.
How can students prepare themselves better for the revised SAT?
The College Board is partnering with Khan Academy to provide the world with free test preparation materials for the redesigned SAT. The College Board and Khan Academy will build this material together for launch in spring 2015. This means that for the first time ever, students who want to take the SAT will be able to prepare for the exam, practise, and diagnose gaps in their learning, for free. In the meantime, students who will take the current SAT can now go to Khan Academy to work through hundreds of previously unreleased practice problems from actual SAT exams, accompanied by more than 200 videos that show how to solve the problems step-by-step.
When will the new SAT be launched?
The first administration of the redesigned exam will take place in spring 2016. The College Board will release the full specifications of the exam along with extensive sample items for each section by mid-April.