In the spring of 2016, the College Board rolls out its redesigned Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT). If you’re a high school freshman or sophomore athlete who plans to apply to college, you need to understand the changes. Here’s a rundown on the new SAT.
The New SAT
1. Grading scale
The most visible change is a return to the maximum 1600 grading scale (from the current 2400). A new scoring system gives points for right answers without deducting for wrong ones. This means you should answer all questions, even if you’re unsure of some of your answers.
The test will be offered in both computer and print versions.
3. Vocabulary questions
Instead of testing students on the meaning of obscure words, the vocabulary portion of the SAT will focus on interpreting relevant words in the context in which they’re used.
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4. Reading Comprehension
Reading comprehension will incorporate informational graphics. Students must pull from both the text and the visuals to formulate their responses.
Another substantive change involves the essay portion of the SAT. It will be optional (hence the change to the 1600 score basis). Structurally, the essay will be revised to more closely mimic a college writing assignment. Test takers will analyze “such aspects of the passage as the author’s use of evidence, reasoning and stylistic and persuasive elements.” Rather than just test comprehension, the redesigned essay portion will evaluate the writing from the author’s point of view as well as the reader’s.
The streamlined math portion of the revised SAT will focus on fewer topic areas and concepts in favor of more practical applications.
The new SAT will have a more graphics-based template than its predecessor, not only to make it easier to understand and complete in the required time, but also to focus test-takers more on in-depth reasoning and critical thinking.
8. Free Outside Help
The College Board has partnered with Khan Academy to provide free test preparation for students taking the SAT. The materials will be available in the spring of 2015. Until then, you can go to Khan Academy online to access more than 200 problem-solving videos pertaining to the SAT.
If all goes as intended, student-athletes from different socioeconomic and educational backgrounds will have a more level playing field. Still, they will need to prepare in advance and perhaps even take the SAT multiple times to improve their scores.
You would be wise to take the SAT seriously. A good score will help your chances of getting admitted to and winning a scholarship from a top college.
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