FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Students from this fall’s sophomore class and subsequent years will face a revamped SAT in two years. Barbara Levine of Chyten Tutoring and Test Preparation in Darien and New Canaan wants them to be prepared.
“Students will still have to know math and algebra,’’ Levine said. “That won’t change. What will change is that the reading section will not be vocabulary based. The SAT is doing away with the use of esoteric words and that will be a positive for most students. The test itself will be quite different. The scoring will be different.”
The changes will not affect students already in their junior or senior year of high school. Sophomores who take the SATs in 2016 will be affected though, as will freshman and subsequent classes. Current sophomores can take the current version of the SAT test next Fall and the new test version in 2016. They will be the only students to have the option of applying to colleges with either test result.
The attached PDF lists Chyten’s one-minute guide to all of the changes for the revamped SAT. Some changes are:
• Fewer, but more challenging questions.
• Grading has returned to a 400 to 1600 scale, composed of a Math score and a Writing and Language score, each ranging from 200 to 800.
• While the SAT still tests students on reading, writing and math, it does so in a completely different manner, with many questions crossing lines between subjects. For example, the reading section contains at least one passage that requires students to interpret data from graphs or charts. The math section contains at least one extended reasoning question. The Writing and Language sections contain passages covering science and social studies.
• The Essay is now optional and is 50 minutes long. Except for the essay section and 12 grid-in math questions, all questions are multiple choice and contain four answer choices.
Levine said the changes were made by the College Board, which administers the test, because current SAT testing does not relate to what students are doing in school and did not evaluate college readiness. The new test will also fall more in line with the recently imposed Common Core teaching standards.
In addition, Levine said the nation’s other primary standardized test, the ACT, has gained a lot more prominence. “The ACT is a much different test,’’ Levine said. "It’s written in a much more straightforward way. The landscape has shifted. More students now take the ACT. The College Board saw that it needed to make some changes.”
Levine said the SAT test is more complicated than the ACT. “It’s not straightforward,’’ she said. “You’ll have two answers that are very close. The College Board is seeing how well you can analyze. The language on the ACT is not nearly as complicated. Students find it easier to get through. However, the ACT crams in many more questions in a limited amount of time and is much faster than the SAT. Students can run out of time trying to answer all the questions. The SAT students don’t run out of time, but they have a hard time getting the right answer.”
Levine said Chyten can help determine which exam might be best for each child.
“We do a lot of diagnostic work up front,’’ she said. “It enables us to find out which test is the better fit. You don’t have to take both. This way you can focus on one test. We’ll be able understand what the student’s strengths are and find the test that is right for them.”