Plan For College

Friday, March 7, 2014

A New SAT Test is Coming in 2016: How to Prepare

Whether you're a high school student or a parent of one, you probably know you're way around the SAT: Plenty of analogies, misleading multiple choice questions, and a score out of 2400 that everyone habitually reduces to 1600.

Well... your day has come. Or it will come in the spring of 2016, rather, when the College Board does away with many of the aspects of the test that do not align with what's learned in the classroom. In addition, changes will come to better align success with knowledge, not the ability to pay for test prep. With the College Board set out to address these issues, here are some of the major changes you'll see in 2016:

1. Out with 'SAT' words, in with practical words: Those quirky, 4-syllable words you only see on the SAT are going to be replaced with more tangible words that "students will use consistently in college and beyond," per the College Board's website.

2.  The score will be 1600 again (with the essay being optional): The essay will become optional, returning the test to its original score of 1600 (800 in Math, and 800 in English). The essay score will be recorded separately, if the student opts to take it.

3. The guessing penalty will go away: Students will no longer be docked for wrong answers.

How to prepare your students/children for the new test: Alongside this announcement about changes to the test, the College Board announced a revolutionary new way to prep for the test. The Board has partnered with Khan Academy to provide the best, free test prep tools for the new tests. This partnership will essentially level the playing monetary playing field. 

"For too long, there's been a well-known imbalance between students who could afford test-prep courses and those who couldn't," said Sal Khan, founder and executive director of Khan Academy. "We're thrilled to collaborate closely with the College Board to level the playing field by making truly world-class test-prep materials freely available to all students."

So keep an eye on Khan Academy as they roll out the new tools for students, and use them to prepare for the new test. Secondly, make sure to place more of an emphasis on classroom learning rather than the SAT test. If they hold true to their word, the test will align with what students are learning in the classroom. For the next few years, though, it'll still be vastly important to find a high-quality SAT tutor to help you maximize your potential on the test.

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