The new SAT and you

Joel Tinseth, Staff Writer

Select the answer that best fits the sentence: I never want to see that murderer. He is a(n) ________ to me. (a) anathema, (b) effrontery, (c) hegemony, (d) nobody cares! If you feel that answer d is correct, you might be surprised to find that College Board, the makers of the SAT, agree with you!

College Board has recently decided that the current SAT needs revision, and plans to make major changes that will be implemented in 2016. The new SAT will, according to the College Board website, focus on more relevant words in context (you will likely not be asked what an anathema is), command of evidence, analyzing essays, problem solving, data analysis, problems grounded in real-world contexts, analysis in science and in social studies, founding documents and great global conversation, and best of all, no penalty for wrong answers! The new SAT will also make the essay optional, which is a perk for some people who do not write well under pressure.

College Board is receiving a lot of criticism for this, however. Most people are heckling College Board by claiming that they are only changing the test to compete with the ACT and maintain their complete monopoly over standardized testing. Some, however, are more concerned that the new test will not accurately gauge what students are doing in school.

While dropping the essay is something that will make it very hard to be able to determine a student’s writing ability, the rest of the changes to the SAT are very beneficial and will be welcomed by most who have yet to take the test.

Perhaps the hardest part of the test is the length, which will fortunately slightly decrease. What does this mean for students? Slightly less frustration and slightly less fatigue! This being said, you should still consider drinking copious amounts of caffeine before taking the test or simply going to sleep even earlier the night before in order to prepare for this mental marathon.

The math section will be harder too, but this may be a good thing for some people, because the principles tested carry over from early math levels all the way to calculus and even physics. Others will simply have to study more for the math section in order to do well on the test.

This change can be seen as something beneficial to some students, but harmful to others. Those who excel at math or writing will do better on the new SAT, but those who are not will do worse due to the increased focus on higher level math and other changes. Everybody will likely benefit from the lack of a penalty for incorrect guessing and the removal of the superfluous vocabulary. So, we definitely have something to look forward to when taking the new SAT. The changes will benefit everyone, even if they were only put in place to save the SAT’s reputation and maintain its monopoly over standardized testing.