By Artur Radetskiy
The SAT college admissions exam will be revised by the College Board for the first time since 2005. During the last revision the the essay portion was added, test time was increased, and the maximum score was raised from 1600 to 2400.
The College Board is changing the exam in response to the growing popularity of their rival exam, the ACT, which in 2011, surpassed the SAT as the college admissions exam most frequently taken by American students.[ii]
The popularity of the ACT is attributed to its straightforward nature and its consistency with the high school curriculum. In order to study for the SAT, a student must take practice tests designed differently from the tests they take in school. The ACT, however, is similar to what a student is learning in class, so the student can study for the ACT by studying for their classes.[i]
“The SAT is for people who are good at test taking,” said Neena Garcia, a guidance counselor, “The ACT is good for people who are good in class.”
David Coleman, the president of the College Board, has yet to release specific details on the changes, but the new SAT will aim to make the exam more compatible with classroom teachings. It also intends to strengthen “the alignment of the SAT to college and career readiness.”[ii] The new SAT will essentially be designed to be more like the ACT.
“An improved SAT will strongly focus on the core knowledge and skills that evidence shows are most important to prepare students for the rigors of college and career,” said Coleman in an email to announce the plans to redesign the SAT.
Students have had mixed reactions to the expected changes.
“I don’t think that there should be any changes,” said Daniela Shamilova ’13, “it’s an aptitude test in every way and no matter how much you prepare, you won’t get smarter.”
Others encourage the SAT to become more like the ACT. “I think it’s fairer,” said Sharin Chowdhurry ’14, “that SAT will focus more on what we learn in class.”
[i] Mallory, Alex. “SAT vs. ACT: Choose Wisely”. Huffington Post. March 1, 2011.
[ii] Strauss, Valeria. “SAT exam to be redesigned”. The Washington Post. February 26, 2013.