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Lucas Fink

College Board Announcement: New SAT Changes

It’s been eight years since the SAT was changed to include the writing section, update the math, and take out analogies. Apparently, that change wasn’t quite enough. Now it’s 2013, and the College Board announced this week that they’re going to give the SAT another makeover.

So far, they’ve been pretty vague about it. There are no concrete details from the horse’s mouth (in this case, the horse is a company that’s said some pretty deceptive things in the past, anyway), but there are a few things we can make pretty good guesses about.


Why are they changing the SAT?

There’s a solid chance it’s in reaction to the ever-more-popular ACT. The SAT has been under fire a couple of times before, and the ACT has benefited a whole lot from that scrutiny (even though it’s not necessarily a better test). This may be the College Board’s way to stay competitive.

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But more importantly, the College Board has a new director, David Coleman, and it’s pretty clear that he’s behind this. Before joining the company, he helped develop and promote the Common Core State Standards (CCSS), which are meant to help compare the quality of education offered by schools in the K-12 range across the country. Basically, this guy had been trying to get his hands into the American school curriculum to tune that up, and now he’s moving on to fix college entry tests.

He’s made it pretty clear that he doesn’t like a few things, so those will probably be what changes.


How will the SAT change?

Coleman doesn’t like the way the essay is now—specifically, he doesn’t like how you can just make stuff up. He wants to see an essay that tests your ability to use information given to you. So you won’t have to come to the test with historical or literary sources in mind, which is great. One less thing to worry about.

With the ACT comparison in mind, it’s also pretty likely that the test will be more focused on those high school curriculum benchmarks that Coleman had been selling via the CCSS. Things like SAT vocab, which is almost completely unrelated to what you study in school, may be eighty-sixed.


When will the new SAT be introduced?

The last time the College Board made a move like this, it took three years for the change to come into effect; announced in 2002, the new test was first given in 2005. That’s a long time, and there’s good reason for that. It takes a whole lot of people and a whole lot of reorganization to make even small changes in a system as large as the one overseeing the SAT.

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If you’re preparing for the SAT now, then don’t worry about it. Everything on Magoosh will still be relevant to the test when you take it, and it’ll all still bring up your score. And even after the change happens, you can be sure that we’ll change with it.

On the other hand, if you’re a parent, and you have a kid who started high school this year, then it’s worth noting. But for now, it’s only that: a side-note.

About Lucas Fink

Lucas is the teacher behind Magoosh TOEFL. He’s been teaching TOEFL preparation and more general English since 2009, and the SAT since 2008. Between his time at Bard College and teaching abroad, he has studied Japanese, Czech, and Korean. None of them come in handy, nowadays.

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