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The new SAT: big changes will affect this year's freshmen

The College Board announced sweeping changes to the SAT which will take effect in the spring of 2016. There is no word on the PSAT scheduled for October, 2015, but it’s probably safe to bet it will be a condensed version of the new test. For current sophomores, the old test will be given through the fall of their senior year, so the changes affect only the class of 2017 and beyond. As soon as more information becomes available, it will be posted here. Stay tuned!

Here’s what’s different:

  • The essay will be optional, with double the current amount of time to complete it (50 minutes rather than 25).
  • The standard test will be 3 hours long instead of 3 hours and 45 minutes.
  • Scoring reverts back to the pre-2005 model, with 1600 as the highest possible score.
  • There will no longer be quarter point deductions for wrong answers.
  • Vocabulary will reflect college-level reading rather than arcane “SAT words.”
  • Use of a calculator on some math sections will not be allowed, and math content will be limited to linear equations; complex equations or functions; and ratios, percentages and proportional reasoning.
  • The Critical Reading and Writing sections will be combined as Reading and Writing, and some questions will involve analysis of “founding documents” such as the Declaration of Independence, or “Great Global Conversations.” Source texts from science, history, and social studies will also appear, and for some questions, students will be asked to select the quote from the text that supports the answer they have chosen.
  • The test will be offered in both paper and digital formats.