What SAT Test Changes Could Mean for Your Students

Major changes are underway for students preparing to apply to college.

The SAT tests are being revamped.

According to the College Board of Directors, when students open their SAT test books in Spring 2016, they'll encounter an SAT that is more focused and useful than ever before.

Students will no longer use flashcards to memorize obscure words, only to forget them the minute they put their test pencils down.

"A lot of the vocabulary words, you sort of just learn them quickly and put them into your short term memory bank," Sophie Podhaisky, a Richland High School senior who just took the college placement exam. 

The test will now focus more on day-to-day language.

"We're happy to help kids get higher scores but frankly, our help is helping them on a test and when the test is over, did what they learn for the SAT help them beyond taking the SAT? Not a lot," said Randy Way, Executive Director of the Richland Sylvan Learning center.

Penalties for wrong answers have been eliminated, in hopes that students will be encouraged to try their best for the right answer anyway.

The math portion will focus more on problem solving and data analysis, the heart of algebra and passport to advanced math.

Current research shows that these areas most contribute to readiness for college and career training.

Another big change, the essay section, introduced a few years ago, will now be optional.

The exam will once again be scored on a 400 to 1600-point scale. 

Scores for the essay will be reported separately.

Some colleges may still require taking that section, so make sure your student is aware of whether or not they need to take it.

One student taking the test this year said he wished the new changes came sooner.

"Writing was definitely my lowest score is the practice SAT I took at school," said Max Podhaisky, a Richland High School junior. "It kind of stinks because I wish I had the new changes."