By Aamna Arshad ‘18
While many believe that the new SAT brought beneficial changes for students, there are some who think otherwise. The redesigned SAT brought changes including no penalty for wrong answers, less emphasis on vocabulary, and more focus on the knowledge and skills that are important for college readiness and career success.
According to College Board, there are many differences between the redesigned and the old SAT. One change that occurred is the components that make up the exam. For example, in the old exam there were 4 components; Critical Reading, Writing, Mathematics, and the essay. However in the redesigned SAT, there are only 3 components; Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, Math, and the Essay (optional).
Another change includes the time allotted to take the exam. In the old exam students were given 25 minutes for the essay at the beginning of the exam, however, they are given 50 minutes for an optional essay in the newer exam. In total there were 171 questions given to students in 225 minutes, while in the new exam there are 155 question in 230 minutes, (including the essay in both cases).
“The New SAT was easier than the old one for me because there were less sections and the essay was also optional,” said Labeeba Chowdhury ‘17, a senior who recently took the New SAT.
Many students agree with Chowdhury, in that they think that the redesigned SAT is easier. Test takers also like the fact that the essay is optional and even if they want to take it they have double the time to take it.
“Thank God there is no vocabulary section, I would have had a really hard time with vocabulary because I’m not good at memorizing. Another thing I like is how you don’t get any point deductions for answering wrong,” said Rafaella Bruzal ‘18.
The vocabulary section being taken off gives most students a more relaxed feeling and the fact that they aren’t penalized for answering wrong gives them more leverage on the exam. This way students are allowed to guess and don’t have to worry about losing points for answering incorrectly.
However, there are still some things that students and faculty members are concerned about in the redesigned SAT.
“There is not enough time. One of my friends did only 7 questions of a section and the proctor told us we only had 15 minutes left. Some people need more time,” said Chowdhury.
Even though the test was redesigned some students still have a hard time with taking the exam.
“I feel nervous about it, many say its easier, however I think no matter how easy or hard the test is, it’s still going to be nerve wracking,” said Bruzal. Even though the new exam claims to be easier students are still nervous when it comes to taking the SAT.
Jennifer Duong ‘18 also agrees that even though the new exam is said to be easier, she is still worried about the exam.
“It’s still stressful because it’s the SAT, not just any ordinary exam. This test is major deciding point as to what college you will attend,” said Duong.
Teachers, however, have a different perspective about the exam. Many teachers believe that there shouldn’t be an exam that defines what college you are going to attend at all. Some believe that the new exam is better than the old one, while others think that the old exam prepared students more for college.
“I think it’s because I’m old school, but I feel that the old exam was better for students entering college. The exam is beneficial in the sense that the students aren’t as nervous and are less stressed about the exam, but I feel that the old exam was better preparation.” said Ms. Lorrie Director.
The SAT is a major part of your high school career because it helps you find your way to your next step in college. It sets the foundation to your college education. The changes brought to the SAT affects all students and guides them to their future education.