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Chris Lele

Are Parents Aware that the SAT is Changing in March 2016?

A recent survey from Kaplan Test Prep shows that the majority or parents are unaware of the upcoming changes to the SAT. Magoosh SAT Expert, Chris Lele, shares some needed insight on the matter.

Statistics are often deceptively misleading. The Kaplan survey is no exception. On an obvious level it tells us that parents are pretty clueless. Less obviously, it tells us that the test is definitively becoming harder because a majority of these same clueless parents, upon being presented with snippets of information, have deemed so.

Now I can’t say for sure whether parents are that clueless. My gut tells me that the sample Kaplan used probably wasn’t representative (if you are a parent think of your seven closest friends who are also parents; are you the only one who knows the SAT is changing next year?). My point, however, isn’t to quibble with this number; it’s to take issue with the overall picture that the survey paints: the new SAT will be harder for every single person across every single section.

Instead of predicating such a conclusion on the answers of seemingly clueless parents presented with information potentially framed in a bias manner, Kaplan—the leader in the industry—should have given its own informed analysis. Had the experts opined, I think we would have gotten a different picture, one that is a little less black and white. Indeed, amongst the expert tutors a much more nuanced picture has emerged: certain students will be predisposed to doing better on the current SAT then on the new SAT; while other students will actually be at an advantage on the new SAT.

Much has to do with the fact that the New SAT will test knowledge that you can prep for. Furthermore, the New SAT will reward students who understand the text but who might struggle to differentiate between subtly worded and intentionally misleading answer choices. Those students who might not be adept at understanding reading passage but have a sense of how to “game” the test will be at a disadvantage on the new test. Math follows the same format. Students who recognize logical patterns and shortcuts might not do as well on the new test. Whereas those students who are willing to put in the prep, reviewing all the second year algebra will be rewarded for their efforts. Many of these same students often struggle, no matter how hard they prepped, with anticipating the little twists and leaps of logic required for the more difficult math questions on the current SAT.

I could go on enumerating all the differences, which would make for quite a long post. The point I want to make here, however, is that whether the new SAT is more difficult than the current SAT depends on many different factors, including the specific individual taking the test—in this case your son or daughter. By coming to a pat conclusion that the SAT is becoming unequivocally more difficult, we unnecessarily make already burned high-school students yet more stressed out. Even a gaggle of clueless parents can tell you that this is not the way to go.


Did you know that Magoosh offers online test prep for the New SAT exam? We also give discounts to students who purchase subscriptions for more than one exam. Learn more at


P.S. Ready to get your highest SAT score? Start here.
About Chris Lele

Chris Lele is the GRE and SAT Curriculum Manager (and vocabulary wizard) at Magoosh Online Test Prep. In his time at Magoosh, he has inspired countless students across the globe, turning what is otherwise a daunting experience into an opportunity for learning, growth, and fun. Some of his students have even gone on to get near perfect scores. Chris is also very popular on the internet. His GRE channel on YouTube has over 10 million views. You can read Chris's awesome blog posts on the Magoosh GRE blog and High School blog! You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

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