Starting this spring, on March 5, the SAT known and not-so-loved by students around the world will be replaced with an improved version. The new SAT is intended to provide a more accurate and fair indication of a student’s success in high school.
Many students do not feel ready to begin the standardized testing process. “I just feel like nobody has told us anything about [the new SATs]; all we really know is that they are really important and affect our future,“ Gwen Bergstrom ‘17 said.
The changes should make the test more student-friendly. Sandra Bent, guidance counselor at HB, said that she hopes “that more students will be comfortable with the redesigned SAT.” Here’s why.
As far as content, a lot will have changed.
“The reasoning piece is not the biggest focus anymore,” said Bent about the redesigned test. On the contrary, in the old test she said “the way the questions are worded, because they were reasoning skills, were confusing.”
As far as preparation goes, Bent still recommends that students study. She pointed out that Khan Academy has partnered up with College Board to create an official, free prep course for the new SAT. This will hopefully level the playing grounds for students with all kinds of backgrounds.
Bent also recommended that students use their PSAT scores from the fall to help study. The PSAT will be adapted to the new test starting this fall, so that students are able to use their results as a way to study. College Board helps students to go over their mistakes and offers explanations for each answer.
“The habits that help you to be successful will prepare you to take the new SAT,” Bent says, referring to working hard, asking questions, and being an active participant in class. Everything that helps you to do well in high school will help your SAT scores.
If you are a junior this year, should you take the last opportunity to test with both versions? Bent recommends it, but only if your course load supports it. The SAT covers material up to a certain level, and if you are in that level this year, or haven’t yet taken it, taking the test this fall or winter would mean that your score would not reflect your ability. Talk to your guidance counselor about your courses to see what is the best choice for you.
The SATs weren’t created to torture high school students; they were created to help colleges see a student’s ability outside of the classroom. They are a major step on your path to a suitable college and successful career. Take advantage of them.