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The Newly Designed SAT

The SAT, often seen as the end all and be all of standardized college entrance exams, is shaking things up. The College Board (the company behind the SAT) announced a new design to the SAT that will radically change the test starting in the spring of 2016.

Key changes to the SAT include:

Optional essay:

Currently, a perfect scaled score on the SAT is 2400 points including the mandatory essay. In 2016, a perfect SAT scaled score will reflect only the reading/writing and math sections, out of a possible 1600 points. The essay will also include a specific text prompt, and students will be asked to “write an essay in which you explain how the author builds an argument to persuade an audience.” This will allow students to use evidence that graders can compare with the same source material for all test-takers.

Elimination of the sentence completion section:

Vocabulary will still be important in the other parts of the reading/writing section, where students will have to consider word choice. College Board also states that vocabulary will include more words students will use in the workplace and in academic pursuits, such as “synthesis” or “empirical.”

Addition of “supporting evidence” in reading passages:

Students will often be asked to select a quote which justifies their answer choice in the reading passages.

Math content will focus on fewer topics:

Math questions will focus on content the College Board finds is most useful in college level courses, and questions should reflect more realistic situations.

Calculators will not always be permitted:

Certain portions (but not all) of the math section will not allow use of calculators.

Graphs will be included in the reading and writing analysis:

Students will be asked at times to interpret graphs and data to help inform their analyses of readings.

Tests will be available online:

The test will also still be available in traditional paper format.

Passages will include founding documents from American history:

Every test will include at least one historical founding document, or a text that has been inspired by the discussion surrounding these documents(e.g. Declaration of Independence, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address).

Want to know more about the SAT and how to prepare for it? RRLS offers SAT prep classes in Toronto, in group or one-on-one settings. 

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