What does this mean for students?
First, familiarize yourself with the new PSAT and SAT to take ownership of your preparation for these exams:
- New PSAT Information: General Overview - Comparison to Current PSAT - Practice Questions
- New SAT Information: General Overview with some practice questions - Comparison to Current SAT - Video Overview of the New SAT
As you prepare for these exams, be sure you know if your review materials are made for the current or new exams. Note that the SAT was last overhauled in 2005, and there are still used review books in circulation that say they are for the “New SAT.” Check the publication dates of review books to be sure which version of the test they are for.
Juniors should also be aware that the current version of the SAT will be offered for the last time in January 2016, with a registration deadline on or around December 28, 2015. It is highly likely that colleges will accept scores from either the current or new SAT’s. However, it will be worthwhile to inquire directly with colleges about their policies if you have schools in mind this coming fall. Do not feel obligated to take the January 2016 SAT, especially if you will not be prepared for it. (UMass and the Massachusetts State University System has confirmed that they will accept scores from either the current or new SAT.)
Registration details for the October 2015 PSAT will be available in the early fall. SAT registration will continue to be done on www.collegeboard.org.
Again, please review the above links for comprehensive information on the new exams, as well as the summaries below for a quick glimpse into the changes on the new PSAT and SAT. The School Counseling Department will provide more information on how colleges will use the new SAT in their admissions decisions as we learn it. In the mean time, feel free to reach out to your counselor with any questions you have, and we will do our best to answer them with the information available.
Click "Read More" for information on key changes in the exams.
- Relevant Words in Context - “The redesigned SAT will focus on relevant words, the meanings of which depend on how they’re used.”
- Command of Evidence - Students will “be asked to demonstrate their ability to interpret, synthesize, and use evidence found in a wide range of sources.”
- Essay Analyzing a Source - For the essay section, “students will read a passage and explain how the author builds an argument to persuade an audience.” (The is no essay on the PSAT)
- Focus on Math that Matters Most - 1. Problem Solving and Data Analysis (“using ratios, percentages, and proportional reasoning to solve problems in science, social science, and career contexts”), 2. Heart of Algebra (“linear equations and systems”), and 3. Passport to Advanced Math (“familiarity with more complex equations and the manipulation they require”).
- Problems Grounded in Real-World Contexts - “Students will engage with questions grounded in the real world, questions directly related to the work performed in college and career.”
- Analysis in Science and in History/Social Studies - Students “will be asked to apply their reading, writing, language, and math skills to answer questions in science, history, and social studies contexts.”
- Founding Documents and Great Global Conversation - Students “will encounter a passage from one of the founding documents (the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights, and the Federalist Papers) or from a text from the global conversation.”
- No Penalty for Wrong Answers