News has just come out that there are big changes coming to the SAT in Spring 2016. You can read a news article detailing the changes here and see the College Board’s take here.
- The essay portion will become optional and will be separately scored from the rest of the test
- The College Board will work with Khan Academy to provide free test prep materials
- Scoring will return to a 1600 point scale
- The test will be available both in print and digital forms
- Vocabulary will focus on more commonly used words
- The essay portion was the scourge of many test takers who will be glad to see it go. However, it’s a shame to see the test lose the best opportunity to see who can synthesize ideas rather than just memorize rules.
- Free test prep materials are great, but they will never replace individualized instruction that comes from an expert and is tailored to you.
- Hopefully digital tests mean more flexibility in scheduling exams like we currently see with the GMAT and GRE. It’s a shame to see a student have to choose between going to his prom and getting a good night of sleep before the SAT.
- It’s too early to say anything about what the scoring changes will mean. We’ll have to wait for more details there.
- The move to less obscure vocabulary is a laudable goal, but it’s one more easily suggested than achieved. A dumbed down vocab section doesn’t do any anyone any good, but a focus on works likely to be encountered in college-level reading would be a service to all test-takers.
- If you’re studying to take the SAT now, don’t worry. You won’t see the changed test. If it’s something in your future, you may have the option between the old and new tests, and when that time gets closer we’ll talk about the strategy involved in choosing which test is right for you!