Starting from the spring of 2016, students will take a new version of the SAT. This version will feature an optional essay, a grading scale from 400 to 1600 and a math section with three focuses that College Board has deemed more relevant to students. In addition, there will be no penalty for wrong answers, an evidence-based reading, passages with vocabulary words and an excerpt from a text about either human rights, freedom or justice.
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El Estoque: How will the new format affect test takers?
Senior Sumdeha Balusa: My brother’s a freshman, so I’m happy for him that it’s going to be easier, but for me, it wasn’t easier, and that kind of sucks. SAT’s were really hard.
Sophomore Malini Ramaiyer: I’m actually glad that we don’t have the shorter SAT. Even if you’re decently smart, you might get a 1600, but if you’re really really smart, you’ll get a 1600. They’re practically the same thing.
EE: Is an optional essay fair? Freshman Neha Chawla: People are still motivated to do the essay. It’s just saying that there’s a way to get through for the delinquents.
Freshman Krishna Sunder: I think it is fair because for people who aren’t pursuing a career in writing, it doesn’t make sense to be excellent at writing essays.
Balusa: It’s going to change the way people study. I had to memorize an essay format for it, so I guess they don’t have to memorize that any more.
EE: How will penalty-free guessing affect test takers?
Sunder: Some might consider that unfair because if you guess, there is a chance that you could get a bunch of points for something you don’t know about.
Balusa: That’s also not fair. I could have gotten so many more points. I’m a big guesser on tests, I don’t know half of the stuff when I go into a test. The fact that I couldn’t guess, I left half my scantron blank.
EE: Overall, will the changes help students, hurt them or not make a difference?
Ramaiyer: I like that it will be a much easier test to take, mentally too, but then I don’t like that it’s going to level out all the scores and results that people get.
Freshman Oliver Guan: We don’t have books to study from because this is the first time the test is being taken, so I think on an overall standpoint, it’s still going to be harder.
Freshman Pierre Grubb: It’s more about test taking than it is actual learning. You get your score, but you never know what you got wrong. I don’t think it makes any difference, honestly. [/toggle_content]