Last chance to take “old style” SAT Katerina Maylock, with Capital Educators, writes on the board as she teaches a college test preparation class at Holton Arms School. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)
Last chance to take “old style” SAT
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The current version of the SAT college entrance exam is ending in January. Hundreds of thousands of students nationwide will sit, squirm or stress through the nearly four-hour reading, writing and math test. A revamped version debuts in March.
 
Sixteen-year-old Alex Cohen, a junior at the Miami Country Day School in Florida, thinks he's solid on math. But he's been studying vocabulary words to get ready for the exam.
 
"I don't want to study for the new one. So hopefully I'll do well on this one," he said.
 
Alex said his college adviser was worried about students being "guinea pigs" for the SAT that rolls out March 5. The adviser told him to focus on the Jan. 23 exam. "There's a lot of vocabulary on this test. So I've been trying to memorize as many words as I can per day," Alex said.  He wants to study business and finance in college.
 
The College Board is the nonprofit organization that owns the SAT. The College Board says more than 351,000 students registered to take the test. That's a nearly 10 percent increase over the number of students registered for last January's exam.
 
Looking ahead to March, the College Board says the revamped exam is more representative of what students study in high school and the skills they need to succeed in college and afterward.
 
"Everything that's in the redesigned SAT is knowledge and skills that kids are learning in classrooms every single day. It's not left field," Cyndie Schmeiser, the board's chief of assessment, said. "No surprises. No mystery."
 
The test last was revised in 2005.
 
The new makeover focuses more on real-world learning and analysis by students. There is also no longer a penalty for guessing on the redesigned exam.  The essay will be optional. Students who decide not to write an essay will see about 50 minutes shaved off the length of the test.
 
Phil Pine, who runs the test preparation company, Capital Educators in the Washington metropolitan area, says he's told his students not to rush to take the test in January. That is because they won't be able to take the same test again if they don't score well.
 
But with so much material available on the current test, it's more familiar, so Pine said some students have told him, "this feels safer to me."
 
His advice for juniors has been to wait for the new SAT or take its competitor, the ACT, unless there's a compelling reason to take the test now - such as students who need early scores for coaches, specific academic programs or for those who feel ready.
 
College counselor Phillip Trout in Minnesota says very few of his students at Minnetonka High School are opting for the Jan. 23 SAT and he's advising them not to take the first administration of the new SAT.
 
"We're telling them to take the ACT," says Trout. "Let somebody else in America be the guinea pig."
 
Students at Minnetonka High School had already leaned heavily in preference toward the ACT anyway. About 90 percent of seniors had taken the ACT last year. Down the road, though, Trout says more of his students may embrace the SAT, with its shift to test subject mastery and its similarity to ACT.
 
Testing tutor Ned Johnson says he's seeing students sidestepping this SAT switchover altogether by just taking the ACT.
 
"The challenge with the change in the test is that it basically just stresses people out," says Johnson, president of PrepMatters in Bethesda, Maryland. "The idea that students might have to prepare for the current SAT and then again for the new redesigned SAT is not particularly appealing."
 
The new SAT will continue to test reading, writing and math, with an emphasis on analysis. Some of the obscure vocabulary words that left kids memorizing flash cards for endless hours will vanish. Instead, more widely known words used in classroom learning will appear on the test and students will have to demonstrate their ability to determine meaning in different contexts.
 
There are some other significant changes to the test such as in math, students will see more algebra and problem solving. The use of calculators will be limited. The essay portion will be optional and the top score will be 1,600 with a separate score for the essay.

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CRITICAL THINKING QUESTION
Why was the SAT changed again?
Write your answers in the comments section below


COMMENTS (19)
  • strausser,kyra-cas
    2/01/2016 - 10:22 a.m.

    1. The SAT is changed again because they wanted to make the SAT about more knowledge of what kids are learning in class today. There is also no penalty on guessing and students also have the option not to take the quiz.
    2. I'm actually happy they are changing the SAT. I think it'll be even easier since we already learned the material. I also like the option of the essay or not.

  • claires-ver
    2/01/2016 - 10:45 a.m.

    The new Sat is both good and bad, it stresses kids out because it is different, but it is a better anlysis of the student's knowledge.

  • white,randy-cas
    2/04/2016 - 09:32 a.m.

    1.The reason why the SAT changed again is because they wanted to make the test more knowledge of what kids learning in class today.
    2. I think the SAT will be easier because of this.

  • barrett,katelyn-cas
    2/04/2016 - 10:22 a.m.

    1.The SAT changed again because the College Board says the revamped exam is more representative of what students study in high school and the skills they need to succeed in college and afterward.

    2. I think is a good plain to make it more like what you learned in high school. So it can prepare you for collage.

  • bittlingmeyer,catherine-cas
    2/04/2016 - 10:24 a.m.

    1.They were made easier due to graduation standards with new information that students have learned
    2.I believe that the new SAT's are better for students because, they are i little bit easier and based on newer information students have learned

  • hinson,marquis-cas
    2/04/2016 - 10:28 a.m.

    1. It was revised to make it so that the test would be more based on things the students already know.
    2.I think changing the SAT this way is a great idea but they should wait until next year.

  • blaum,michael-cas
    2/04/2016 - 10:28 a.m.

    1. They reviewed and changed the SAT so the test was guided to the students knowledge.

    2. It is a smart idea to change it for the students so that they have less stress on themselves.

  • pagan,vionna-cas
    2/05/2016 - 09:09 p.m.

    1) The "Entrance Exam" was changed because the subjects were being changed, some were taken out and others put in. Also, what makes this test so different from the "old" exam is that there is now no penalty for not answering certain questions. Which in my opinion is extremely unfair, not saying that the world was made to be fair but this is just not right making the previous students take a test where they had to answer every single question without a doubt, but now they want to make a new test where they have an option. Like my question would be "why do you want to change it?" and "What are you trying to achieve by changing something like this?"
    2) Even though the idea of not having to answer essay questions or other problems...it sounds great, but lets think really the fact that we answer essay questions at school, means that we do it for a reason and not because we want to but because it will help us in the future. Whatever job or opportunity that comes our way we can be prepared, now this is also not a good at idea...well maybe in your thoughts and feelings it sounds appealing but, use commonsense answering these kind of things is what allow use to be able to apply for jobs or activities non-school related.

  • kendrae-wik
    4/19/2016 - 10:43 a.m.

    This new SAT will be easier for the high school students. It will be relatable to real-world problems and examples.

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