Changes to the SAT Part 1

Changes to SATSo the SAT is set to change in March of 2016. What does this mean for you? I am here to address all of the questions and concerns surrounding the changes to this mysterious and oft hated exam. As always, any further questions can be directed to – we are happy to help!

This will be the first in a three part series of blogs on this subject – in this first post I will merely explain the “Why?” behind the changes so we understand why the college board needed to change the SAT. I will follow up with the “What?” and explain what exactly is changing, and finally explain the “How?” – How we will attack the new test.

First and foremost, changing the SAT test is not a new concept for the makers of the SAT. 10 years ago I was one of the students who took the final administered exams of the Old SAT before the current exam was put into place. As I started my career as a young tutor I had to adapt to the new methods, so this is nothing new for me. I want to make something very clear – Old SAT, New SAT, ACT, Whatever – Standardized testing should not be something we shiver in fear of. As long as we have a coherent study plan, a consistent schedule of timed practice, proper content instruction, and perseverance, we can conquer any test. I truly mean that – I guide “hopeless” students who “are not good test takers” to resounding successes and 99th percentile scores every day.

Now that I got my motivational speech out of the way I will get to what you came here for. In order to understand how the SAT is changing we need to understand why. College Board (makers of the SAT) CEO David Coleman was brought on in 2012 to bring the SAT back to prominence. Many of you may not know this – but the ACT is currently the most popular college entry standardized test in America. Not coincidentally, 2012 was the first year the ACT took over the top spot from the SAT. But why? Perception. Let me explain:

When I consult with parents privately or give a speech in front of a large audience someone always asks the question “I heard from so and so that the ACT is easier… is that true?” This is the perception (that the ACT is the easier of the two exams), and this is why the SAT has lost ground.  Frankly, this stereotype is grounded in some truth – the ACT may be the more fair exam for a lot of students who have been auto-processed to SAT prep. The SAT must change to align more with what people like about the ACT – less sections, better organization, fewer trick questions, less vocabulary, and more aligned with what students learn in school. I will address each in turn later in the series.

Basically, the test makers are trying to win the perception war. This is why the SAT has to change. Will this be “easier?” absolutely not. Will it drastically change the outcome of any one student’s life? Probably not. Will it still be a standardized test and come with all the bumps and bruises of a standardized test such as tricks, timing issues, confusing wording, etc? YES. This new SAT will still pose the same standardized testing problems as the old test, so we will have to use the same tried and true methods (with a substantial upgrade to battle the new format, etc.) to slay the beast so to speak. These tried and true methods for testing dominance are what I built this company on, and what I teach to all of my tutors and students to achieve consistent excellence. I will follow up shortly with a second installment in this series to explain the exact changes to the SAT, and finally, a third installment to show you how to tackle them.


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