Changes Coming to the SAT

Patrick O’Connor joins Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson to discuss changes to the SAT.


Detroit Today host Stephen Henderson speaks with Patrick O’Connor; associate dean of college counseling at Cranbrook Kingswood School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, a past president of the National Association for College Admission Counseling, and author of College is Yours 2.0. Henderson and O’Connor discuss changes to the SAT.

The changes,  include an increase in curriculum-based questions and a revamped essay section.   High school students who take the SAT in 2016 will face a very different test than those who came before them.  


No penalty for wrong answers: Students won’t be penalized for wrong answers anymore, which means an end to the days of staring at the bubble sheet and guessing whether it’s worth it to guess.

No more obscure vocabulary: Instead of quizzing students on words they’ll never use again like “abrogate” or “plaudit,” the new SAT asks students to define a word based on how it’s used in context.

Revamped essay: Instead of penning a personal essay for the writing section, students taking the new SAT will be asked to read a passage and then explain how the author is persuading the audience. The essay question will be consistent and will be widely available before the test, but the students won’t see the passage until they take the test.

Evidence-focused reading: Just like the new essay section, the reading section will also be more focused on evidence. Students will be asked a question about the text, and then asked which piece of evidence best supports that answer. That means if you get the first question wrong, it could be difficult to get the second question right.

More graphs and charts: The new test will have an increased emphasis on questions that make students infer information from graphs and charts, especially in the reading section. Students will also be asked to revise sentences in order to make them consistent with information in graphs.