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SAT: In with the New, Out with the Old

Current SAT vs. Redesigned SAT

The current SAT I test that we all know and love has been around since 2005, about 10 years ago. But beginning January 2016, the Collegeboard will be implementing a modified SAT I test, with several drastic differences. This brings up the question of whether the students who will be most affected, the class of 2017, should take the test in their sophomore or junior year. Below, the major differences and changes are outlined. (collegeboard.org)

Major Features

Current SATRedesigned SAT
3 hours and 45 minutes3 hours (plus 50 minutes for the Essay [optional])
1.    Critical Reading2.    Writing3.    Mathematics

4.    Essay

1.    Evidence-Based Reading and WritingReading TestWriting and Language Test

2.    Math

3.    Essay (optional)

a point for a correct answer and a deduction for an incorrect answer; blank responses have no impact on scoresa point for a correct answer but no deduction for an incorrect answer; blank responses have no impact on scores
25 minutes to write the essayTests writing skill; students take a position on a presented issue50 minutes to write the essayTests reading, analysis, and writing skills; students produce a written analysis of a provided source text
Scale ranging from 600 to 2400Scale ranging from 200 to 800 for Critical Reading; 200 to 800 for Mathematics; 200 to 800 for WritingEssay results scaled to multiple-choice WritingScale ranging from 400 to 1600Scale ranging from 200 to 800 for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing; 200 to 800 for Math; 2 to 8 on each of three traits for EssayEssay results reported separately

Since the original SAT I was released in 2005, test prep centers began to spring up everywhere, the most well-known of which included Elite and Harvard Square. Over time, these test prep centers have perfected their classes and lessons to prepare students for the 2400. Usually, classes are taken over the summer leading up to the October SAT, in which the three sections as well as the essay section are covered. With the imminent and rather big change of this test, there seem to be some clear benefits and drawbacks.

Current SAT IModified SAT I
greater resources/study materials (test prep centers, SAT practice books, released tests)-online advice centers (College Confidential, parent groups)-cookie-cutter test-relatively difficult which leads to suboptimal scores-another chance to take the SAT-emphasis on reasoning tailored toward college/career readiness-lack of resources/study materials-potential calibration, proctoring, or question error in “guinea pigs”

In general, it is advised for Class of 2017 members to seize the chance and take the current SAT I, either during the springtime or during the fall of 2015. By January 2016, a completely new test will take over, and the traces of the old SAT I will vanish.

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