Created in the 1920s, the Scholastic Aptitude Test, better known by its acronym, SAT, is a test administered to students preparing for college admissions. While the test still uses the name SAT, the letters no longer stand for anything. Over the years, the SAT has acquired a reputation as a stressful test that doesn’t really identify college-ready students. In 2014, the College Board, which oversees the exam, announced major changes to the SAT that go into effect in spring 2016. Even though "SAT" no longer stands for Scholastic Aptitude Test, the College Board says the new SAT will test "what matters most for college readiness and success."
The last major change to the SAT came in 2005, when the test added an essay component and increased the score scale from 1600 to 2400. The new SAT will bring the score scale back to 1600, with an extra score for the optional essay. The 2016 SAT will focus on evidence-based reading and writing, in which students are asked to provide proof to support their answer. Reading portions will include both fiction and nonfiction, as well as charts and graphs students might encounter in fields of science or the humanities. The math component will focus on problem solving and data analysis as well as some advanced equations. The redesigned SAT removes the penalty for wrong answers.
What the Changes Mean
The changes in the 2016 SAT are meant to encourage students to use skills they will need for college and their careers. The College Board wants the test to be more closely aligned with what students are taught in high school and hope the redesigned test will change its negative reputation and turn it into a focused and clear exam.