Why the New SAT Test is Better for Students
My name is Andrea Schlageter and I'm a Student Success Advisor here at Testive.
It's been about eight years since I had to take any standardized test, but now that I'm talking to students as a student success advisor at Testive, I'm envious of their choice to prepare for the NEW SAT vs. the old one I struggled through in high school.
New SAT Has Only Two Sections
The old SAT really threw me off by shifting topics section to section. It would often take me a couple of minutes to shift gears each time this happened. And on standardized tests you don’t get those minutes back. The new structure of the test keeps the topics together, which would have saved my mental energy and been a lot less stressful.
No More Vocabulary Section
When I was studying for the SAT, our teacher suggested we put vocabulary words on flash cards and study them that way. I hate flash cards. But back then, that was the best way to study vocabulary or carry around a 10 pound dictionary. Neither of those things was too appealing. So what did I do? I just didn’t study vocabulary words. Bad idea.
I thought being a "voracious" reader (there’s an old SAT word I DID know) would be enough to get me by. I was wrong.
Now the vocabulary has become a little less obscure and they ask you to define words as they are used in context in the reading passages. This allows you to use context clues, and since I fashion myself quite the detective, defining unknown words would be a lot easier to figure out.
Less Emphasis on Obscure Grammar Rules
The reason I like this change is the same reason I like the vocabulary changes. The English language is crazy. Most people can’t even tell you how to use a semicolon (including me). So the change from less rote memorization to using inference to get the answer is a good thing.
No Penalty for Wrong Answers
This one is pretty self explanatory. I don’t think anyone would even care to play devil’s advocate to go back to the old ways.
I Really Like History
I majored in political science in college because I had a passion for history. So the new inclusion of historical speeches and documents on the NEW SAT would have been a breeze for history buffs like me. Knowing there were going to be questions on the test based on historical information would have allowed me to free up time to prep for the parts of the test I wasn't so great at.
Less Geometry on the New Test
Although I didn't find geometry to be too difficult, it wasn't my favorite subject. Essentially, on the old SAT you just had to pick the right equation or rule to use, plug in your values, and solve. But if you don’t pick the right equations or rule you will do a lot of work to arrive at the wrong answer AND get penalized for your choice.
The NEW SAT has a bigger emphasis on algebra that will benefit all students. There are always multiple ways to solve algebra problems, which makes it a lot easier to prepare for the test ahead of time.
NEW Essay Format
The NEW SAT essay is now analytical, which is exactly what AP essays are. I took every AP History and English class I could in high school so I had plenty of practice writing those types of essays before I even started thinking about SAT or ACT prep.
So for all of you students who are worried about this "new" test, don't panic! It's probably not going to be as bad as you think. And...if in doubt...you can always take the ACT.