The New SAT

Drew Heilpern, PhD, the general manager of Summit Educational Group’s one-on-one in home and remote, online tutoring division wrote this guest blog post analyzing the new SATs.

The College Board recently unveiled its plans for the upcoming SAT makeover. Among the biggest changes are a sharper focus on critical-thinking, an emphasis on real-world problems, a new scoring system, and an overhaul of the essay section.

To help keep track of these changes and how they compare with the ACT and the current SAT, we have put together a comparison chart between these three tests.  Click here to view and download the chart. 

Below is an overview of major changes to and considerations for the redesigned SAT:

Aptitude over Achievement

Following the College Board’s information release, many critics have expressed assumptions that the test will be made less challenging than its current form. However, all evidence suggests that the redesigned SAT will be at least equal in difficulty as the redesigned SAT shows a greater emphasis on problem-solving and critical thinking.

Blurring the Lines between SAT and ACT?

Like the ACT, the new SAT will not penalize students for incorrect answers. The new SAT Writing & Language section will require students to review the grammar, punctuation, and structure of short passages (much like the ACT English section). The new Reading section will include science passages, accompanied by charts and graphs (much like the ACT Science section).

However, the SAT will remain a test of aptitude, whereas the ACT is more a test of achievement. Neither is more difficult or legitimate, but some students may be better-suited for one or the other.

The College Board will provide concordance information for comparing scores on the redesigned SAT to scores on the current SAT and ACT. However, this information will not be made available until the first administration of the redesigned SAT, in spring of 2016.

Less Vocabulary, More Reasoning

The new Reading section will remove the contentious vocabulary-based questions, replacing them with a new question type that requires students to cite evidence to justify previous answers.


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