How the new SAT is different and what it means for you

SAT changes
Though some say the changes to the SAT will make the test more egalitarian, others are skeptical. / Colourbox

Adumbrate, legerdemain, obstreperous: Students can breathe a sigh of relief as ornate SAT words are tossed aside as one of many changes announced by the College Board. Two years from now, students will begin taking the redesigned test, and experts say it’s a step in the right direction.

The revisions make sense overall, according to Dr. Karen Pennington, vice president of campus development and student life at Montclair University. “I like those passages using works such as The Declaration of Independence or the Federalist papers students should know and be reminded of.”

Overseeing admissions at Montclair, she mentions the College Board is also addressing aspects that simply didn’t work. “The change to the total score is one that never worked, it never quite caught on.”

Neither did the essay, which was added to the test in 2005 to raise potential scores to 2400; now it’s becoming optional as scores revert back to 1600. “Those changes led to a decline in the last nine years when the ACT overcame,” points out Bob Schaeffer, public education director of FairTest, a testing watchdog organization.

The College Board is also hoping to level the uneven financial playing field regarding test preparation accessibility. The announcement referenced a partnership in conjunction with Khan Academy for free online test preparation materials launching next spring.

Schaeffer points out free reference materials also already exist in high school guidance offices. “It’s like physical fitness,” he says. Though anyone can run outside, “If people have the means, they go to Gold’s Gym.” And if they have a lot of money, he adds, “They hire personal training, because they know one-on-one customized training is far superior than using a machine.”

Seppy Basili, vice president of Kaplan Test Prep, echoes the sentiment of thinking like an athlete. “What do they do to get better? They practice, they practice, they practice.”

Ironically, though Kaplan already offers test prep for free and says it’s “terrific,” the College Board is making free test preparation accessible to students. “For 40 years they spent time telling folks that test prep doesn’t work and now apparently it works so well they’re going to offer it for free,” Basili says.

While he thinks test updates will lead to more fairness since it’s more in alignment with what students actually learn in school, high schoolers shouldn’t worry. “Now is not a moment to panic. It’s a little early,” Basili says. Instead of freaking out about the overhaul, think about “understanding the content, having a strategy and being confident.”

And Dr. Pennington reminds students to look at the big picture, since this is still one test taken on one particular day that will be part of a more nuanced picture. “It’s the entirety of a student’s record that’s really important. Study, buckle down and prepare for more than just one test.”

Ch-ch-Changes 

• Maximum scores will change from 2400 back to 1600.
• The essay will become optional.
• Impressive SAT words will be replaced by commonly used words.
• Each exam will include passages from the Founding Documents of America or the Great Global Conversation.
• Students must support answers with evidence.
• Scoring will not deduct points for incorrect answers.
• The math section will cover fewer topics.
• The new exam will be offered online in addition to paper.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

NYPD looking for man they say assaulted elderly…

      The New York City Police Department is asking for the public's assistance in locating a Hispanic male 20's wanted in connection with…

Local

Three arrested after allegedly assaulting off-duty officer in…

Three men were arrested early Saturday morning after allegedly assaulting an off-duty officer at a Bronx bodega, and the NYPD is asking for the public's…

Local

Healthcare union creates vibrant West Indian Day Parade…

Volunteers worked almost around the clock through the weekend, putting the flashy finishing touches on hundreds of costume pieces 1199SEIU members will wear while marching…

National

Top 10 most hipster college campuses

Hipsters are everywhere these days. You can't walk down the anywhere anymore without seeing a pair of skinny jeans on a handlebar mustachioed 20-something, a…

Arts

Theater: Discouraging 'Poor Behavior'

Theresa Rebeck's latest off-Broadway play, about two couples sparring on a weekend getaway, repeats a few mistakes of her past.

Gossip

Chef Todd English arrested for DWI in the…

Celebrity chef Todd English is facing DWI charges after a traffic stop on Sunday.

Movies

Box office: 'Guardians of the Galaxy' is 2014's…

This weekend "The Guardians of the Galaxy" passed the fourth "Transformers" movie to become the highest grossing film of 2014.

Gossip

Spears back with controversial ex?

Is Briteny Spears back with Adnan Ghalib?

Sports

Novak Djokovic feeds off US Open crowd to…

Novak Djokovic isn't a native New Yorker, but he sure knows how to use the U.S. Open crowd to his advantage.

NFL

Odell Beckham still 'weeks away,' Tom Coughlin angry…

Giants head coach Tom Coughlin has fought a losing battle against the media all preseason over the status of wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr.

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

Education

These college students think breakfast is the most…

  It should be no surprise that the city that never sleeps is also home to the most students who like to order food in…

Sex

When it comes to dating, height matters

Does a man’s height really matter when it comes to dating? Unfortunately - according to a new study - the answer looks like it’s yes.…

Travel

10 free apps to make traveling easier

Finding the nearest bathroom, calculating currency exchanges and locating your departure gate must have been difficult for travelers of previous generations. But we wouldn't know,…

Travel

How to get a seat upgrade to business…

It used to be much easier to upgrade your coach seat to business or even first class, but rigid rules and tighter schedules have made…