College Board Announces Huge New SAT Changes

After as much anticipation as a Hunger Games movie, the College Board finally announced the major changes they’ll be making to the 2015 PSAT and 2016 SAT. David Coleman, College Board President, said the changes are being made to better align to students’ high school curriculum and really show what students have learned and how that will apply to their prospective college classrooms.

So what’s in store? Shmoop’s here to break it down:

  •  No more penalty for guessing. If students don’t finish in time, they can fill in “C” all the way down without fear of retribution.
  • No more ten-dollar words. The College Board finally has seen the Shmoopy light: just because a word has seven syllables doesn’t mean it should be used to determine how smart you are. Vocabulary is meant to help us communicate, so the SAT will replace words like “depreciatory” with words students actually use, like “empirical.”
  • Optional essay. If students do choose to write an essay, they’ll be asked to analyze a passage and explain how the author made his or her argument.
  • Welcome back to the perfect 1600. Now that the essay’s gone semi-sayonara, scores will once again be out of 1600, with 800 each for reading and math.
  • Sourcing source documents. Students will be asked to use source documents from science, social studies, and American history (hello, Declaration of Independence!) to answer questions.
  • Math Refocus. Questions will be focused on linear equations, complex equations/functions, and ratios, percentages, and proportional reasoning. Also important to know: calculators will only be allowed on part of the math section. Time to break out that abacus!
  • Both digital and paper formats. Welcome to the technological revolution!

Given that there are over half a dozen bullet-points on that list, Shmoop understands that students (and teachers) need a steady hand to hold in these confusing times. Thankfully, this isn’t the first time Shmoop has had to revamp its Test Prep to meet new standards.

Here’s why students and teachers can continue to count on Shmoop:

  • We’ve faced test changes before promptly and with aplomb. Shmoop already updated its AP Biology, AP Chemistry, and AP Spanish Language exams, and Shmoop made sure students had a full school year to use its new study materials.
  • We build our resources to keep up with the times. Just like how Shmoop’s Online Courses and Teaching Guides are auto-tagged with their appropriate Common Core Standards, Shmoop’s SAT Math Shack is built to respond to the new, just-announced Math section.
  • We never stop innovating. Even when the SAT was offering the same-old, same-old, Shmoop was never standing still. Over the past year, Shmoop’s SAT has built out our Math Shack, Math Shack Assignments, and have constantly been tweaking our materials to offer you the best review, best drills, and best practice exams.

That said, stay tuned for Shmoop’s SAT: The Sequel. We promise it’ll be even better than the original.

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