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Students prepare for new SAT

MONDAY, MARCH 07, 2016 11:51 AM

According to CollegeBoard, students across the U.S. began taking a new version of the SAT as of March 5, 2016. Students should understand the new test's requirements so they can prepare for and succeed on the exams. Here is some information on the new SAT:

Comparing old and new
There are a few key differences between the old and updated test:

  • The old exam took 3 hours and 45 minutes. The new version is 3 hours unless students take an optional essay, which adds 50 minutes. 
  • Previously, students often spent many hours studying index cards full of difficult vocabulary words. Teens would memorize the meaning of the terms for the SAT. Now, however, the exam doesn't want students to understand the words in only a limited context. Instead, they must know why a particular word is used in a certain context and have a deeper knowledge of each term.
  • The new SAT focuses on evidence-based reading, writing and language. The old exam was more about general reasoning and vocabulary.
  • The essay portion of the latest SAT is optional. Students often choose whether they will partake based on admissions requirements at target postsecondary schools. This newly elective portion of the SAT is 50 minutes long and involves reading and writing analysis.
  • The way proctors score the new exams has also changed. This is particularly important for students who have taken the test previously, as they cannot compare the exams. The past tests' scores were between 600 and 2400. The new SAT scores range from 400 to 1600.