SAT is changing, but preparation is still key - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

SAT is changing, but preparation is still key


For many students the SAT is still the biggest test of their high school career, but makers of the test are changing things up.

In recent years, the number of student taking the ACT has increased significantly, leaving the number of students taking the SAT in the dust.

According to an interview CNN did with College Board President and CEO David Coleman, standardized tests have become "too far disconnected from the work of high schools."

These new changes, set to begin in 2016, are designed to close the gap between the test, the classroom and the professional world.

The biggest change will come in the English and Language Arts portion of the test. The now-mandatory essay portion of the SAT will become optional.

Matthew Sullivan, Director at Sylvan Learning, says in the past they have given students a pre-test to evaluate which test, the SAT or the ACT, will be more beneficial.

"We have encouraged students who are better at English and Language Arts to take the SAT for that reason," Sullivan explained, "If they're not strong in (the essay portion), they have the option of not taking it, which has not been the case."

The second change is inspired by an ACT rule about whether the student should guess or keep the question blank.

"Now they're going to change it to if you answer a question incorrectly you will not lose points," Sullivan says.

Students will also be asked to read passages from a broader range of subjects including science, history, social studies and literature.

The math section will no longer require a calculator, but will include questions about data analysis, problem-solving and algebra.

There will also be a slight change in test time.

The redesigned test will take about three hours, with an additional 50 minutes for the essay, and will be administered by print and computer. The current test is available on paper only.

But whatever changes they make, Sullivan says preparation is still the key.

"You're still going to have to be able to perform better than your peers to get into a higher-level university. So even though the testing is changing, the level of performance is still necessary."

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