The redesigned SAT was issued for the first time on Saturday, March 5. The new test focuses on providing students with real world knowledge that will stay with them throughout their adult lives.
“[I was most surprised by] how easy it was,” junior Dylan Ebin said. “I thought it was going to be a lot harder than the PSAT but, surprisingly, it was not as hard.”
Since it was first given in 1926, the SAT has grown and changed to fit the educational demands of the times.
“The best education is one on one. The idea of standardized testing goes completely counter to that idea,” SAT tutor Geoffrey Cole said. “[But colleges] have to have some kind of meter that says everyone who passes [a certain] line can do [a certain number of] things.”
The new SAT more closely resembles the ACT, with writing optional and the penalty for guessing removed.
“[The authors are] trying to make the test more accessible to current students,” Cole said. “If the goal is to prepare you for college, I don’t know if it’s the best idea to make the test easier.”
The new math section draws upon real life situations, and the writing section features words used in professional settings.
“A lot of times those are words that you’re never going to use again,” junior Reeda Virani said. “It’s good to know vocabulary but I think that the new focus on words that we’re actually going to use is a lot better.”
The biggest challenge for students remains avoiding test anxiety and staying confident.
“The advice I give everybody is take an extra five seconds longer than you think you need to read the question and make sure that you read literally every single word,” Cole said. “Students [misread stuff] on the test very, very easily because they usually get nervous and they’re worried they’re going too fast. Take the extra time, you’ll miss a lot less.”
Ultimately, the authors of the test aim to measure what students learn in high school and what more they need in order to succeed in college.
“When you’re going to take the SAT, don’t worry about it as much because it’s really not as difficult as you think,” Ebin said. “Still study, but don’t beat yourself up over it.”