Yes, the rumors are true. In 2016, high school students will be taking a completely redesigned version of the SAT. If you are a student planning to take the test you’ll need to be prepared to face seven major changes. The main changes will include a revamped essay section and more curriculum-based questions. However, don’t let this intimidate you. According to collegeboard.org, “When students open their SAT test books in spring 2016, they’ll encounter an SAT that is more focused and useful than ever before.” The redesigned sections of the standardized test are based off of key items that are said to be the most critical for college readiness and success.
1. No penalty for wrong answers
This deserves a big sigh of relief. Guessing on the bubble sheet will no longer be your worst enemy. Much like the taking ACT, you will not be penalized for wrong answers. You will only be rewarded for correct ones.
2. More charts and graphs
Charts and graphs will be used to test your knowledge on inferencing, especially in the reading section of the SAT. In some instances, you’ll be asked to revise sentences in order to make them more consistent with information supplied in graphs.
3. Evidence-focused reading
This change could potentially pose a level of difficulty for test takers. You will first be asked a question about a specific text and then you will be asked which piece of evidence will best support the answer. This means that if you get the first question wrong, it is less likely you will get the second question correct.
4. No more personal essays
For the writing section of the SAT, you will read a passage and create an essay answering how the author builds an argument to persuade its audience. You will no longer be writing an essay based on your subjective opinion but you’ll be asked to evaluate passages objectively.
5. Free test prep
The College Board and Khan Academy has built a partnership to provide free online testing resources. Anyone can visit khanacademy.org to gain access to test preps for the current and new versions of the SAT.
6. More practical vocabulary
The current SAT is known for testing knowledge on very obscure vocabulary words. However, the 2016 SAT will instead test your knowledge on more practical words. Sample questions for the redesigned test use words such as “intense” which can range in meanings from “emotional” to “determined” depending on which context the word is used in.
7. More historical texts
The new SAT reading section will include excerpts from U.S. founding documents of the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. There will also be texts from individuals such as Henry David Thoreau, Gandhi, and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. The good news is that you won’t have to have previously read the texts to be able to answer the questions. All of the information needed to answer the questions will be provided in the passages themselves.
You can find more in depth explanations of the revised 2016 SAT at the collegeboard.org.