Upcoming Changes to the SAT

Published Friday, April 1, 2011 by Tarang

As you all know, the SAT has constantly changed itself over the years to stay alive. It went from being a 1600 point test to a 2400 point test in 2005. Instead of having only verbal and math, the SAT now has critical reading, math, and writing. The writing section includes an essay, which was not previously present. Also, the SAT added more focus on Algebra 2 in 2005 as well. Recently, the SAT has been feeling the pressure from rival standardized test ACT. The ACT also has a PSAT counterpart called PLAN, which is taken at the same time as the PSAT. This has made the SAT a little concerned.

To stay current with the ACT, the College Board plans to add a science section to the SAT test in 2012. This science section will not be reflective of actual science knowledge but focus more on reasoning skills. Science facts and experiments will be presented in passage form, and related questions will follow. All the answers to the questions can be reasoned out from the passage and test makers reassure us that prior science knowledge should not help or hurt the students. That being said, the SAT subject tests in Biology, Chemistry, and Physics still remain viable. To design this section, a task force called SATIRE (Science Aptitude Testing In Research and Experiments) has been assembled. The department’s head, Dr. Sue Ture said, “We know this change will fundamentally change the face of the SAT, which earlier only focused on basic skills. However, we believe that these updates to the test will even the playing field for college admissions. It gives students more chances to show off reasoning skills, and the colleges have more scores to base their decisions off of.”

Not everyone is happy about these new changes though. Parents feel like it is more pressure for the students. Plus they do not see the benefits of adding a science section. Concerned parent Mrs. Diane Couric stated, “If the SAT and the ACT start to look the same, what’s the point of having two different tests? We should all take the ACT now.” On the other hand, colleges are happy about the change and say that this gives the SAT the type of relevancy it never had before. “The old SAT often seemed pointless or too much like an IQ test,” defends admissions committee member of Richard Riordan University in South Carolina. “The new changes are more reflective of real school learning.”

While this may not seem like huge news for current juniors or seniors, future high school students should gear up and study longer. The new science section means that the test is now an extra 75 minutes long, and testing centers will provide lunch to students who take the SAT. This may be the only time in your life you get a free lunch, kids.

If you want to learn more about this update, then

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