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Get a taste of the redesigned SAT

Redesigned SAT for 2016
Redesigned SAT for 2016
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The College Board released a few sample questions in its Test Specifications for the Redesigned SAT on Wednesday, April 16. The test changes will debut in 2016. Meanwhile, the college-bound who will be taking the new version of this college admission test may start preparing by following the changes as they evolve.

Ongoing changes

The redesigned SAT is a work in progress as research continues. “Some features of the new test, such as timing, length, and scores to be reported, may still be adjusted pending the outcome of our studies,” the College Board acknowledges.

Modifications to the SAT are being made to make it a better tool to measure student readiness for college and predict their success in higher education. There will be changes to test reading comprehension in various texts and topics, vocabulary, grammar, and math in problem-solving, and analysis of data including graphs, tables and charts.

Current changes

There are two structural changes to the redesigned SAT. The first is eliminating a fifth choice to questions so there will be only four answers for students to choose from. The second change is eliminating a penalty for guessing wrong. There will only be a “rights-only” scoring method.

Other changes include dropping the requirement of an essay and making the essay portion optional and given at the end of the SAT. Colleges will decide whether or not they require the essay option. The scale for scoring will also change from 600-2400 to 400-1600. Essay results will be reported separately.

Sample questions

Appendix B of the Test Specifications for the Redesigned SAT contains sample test materials. They show that answers to some questions rely on answers to prior questions. These “laddered questions” may increase test anxiety in some students according to CBS Money Watch.

Some reading passages are taken from historical documents and students will be asked to answer questions based on them. “Another sample question asks test takers to calculate what it would cost an American traveling in India to convert dollars to rupees. Another question requires students to use the findings of a political survey to answer questions,” according to NPR.

The College Board partnered with the Khan Academy for free test preparation. Both parents and students may also test their knowledge by answering the sample questions contained in Appendix B and watch for future change announcements of the redesigned SAT.