Introduced in1926, the SAT is a paper-based standardized examination widely used for college admissions in the United States. Owned and published by the College Board, the SAT (along with its chief competitor, Pearson’s ACT) stands as one of the most popular tests for entry into universities in the U.S.

For the last decade, the College Board has been the leading developer for standardized exams. Due to the ACT’s recent increase in popularity, however, the CollegeBoard has announced a major redesign of the SAT to make it much more reflective of U.S. high school curricula.

Some of these changes include:

Focus: deeper, narrower content, focusing on key skills.

Transparency: the College Board has published detailed specifications as a resource for educators.

DemonstratedAchievement: content linked more closely to “best” classroom learning, less to general intelligence(i.e., linked to common core standards); aligned suite of assessments.

Opportunity: the College Board has pledged to “expand educational opportunities” through the redesigned SAT.

In many ways, the revamped SAT will resemble the current ACT:

Reading and Writing: increased emphasis on evidence and context; somewhat decreased emphasis on high-level vocabulary.

–  Added introduction to graphs and charts

–  Stronger theme of career readiness in Reading and Writing materials

Mathematics:increased emphasis on knowledge of core math concepts and careful calculation; decreased emphasis on cleverness and mathematical reasoning with novel problem types.

–  Increased emphasis on data analysis

English and Math: increased emphasis on incorporating data from the physical and social sciences, and on using real-world information.

*Note: The SAT is not the sole determinant for college admissions. Other factors like the applicant’s GPA, extracurricular activities, college essay, supplementary essay(s), résumé, work experience, demographics, achievements, and awards all weigh in.

Test Specifics:

1.  Exam dates: January (ending 2017), March (U.S.only), May, June, August (starting 2017), October, November, December

2.  Duration: 3 hours, plus an optional 50-minute essay

3.  Fees: USD $52.50~$101.50

4.  Structure:

a.  4 multiple choice sections and an optional essay

i. 141 multiple choice (MC) problems

ii. 13 student produced response (SPR) problems

iii. 1 optional essay

b.  4 answer choices; no “guessing penalty”

c.  400-1600 scale for overall scores

i. Reading:100-400

ii. Writing and Language: 100-400

iii. Math:200-800

d.  Optional Essay – Analysis of a well-written opinion essay

i. required for most top universities in the U.S.

ii. will be graded on comprehension and analysis of source text, and clarity of writing

In addition to their composite and section scores, students will also receive “cross-test scores” and “subscores” that detail their performance in different domains both across sections and within each section.

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