Old vs. New

SAT Edition

Old vs. New

Photo Courtesy of sat.collegeboard.org

Jackie Ho, Staff Writer

As sophomores and juniors look up their scores for the PSAT, they realize that they must prepare for the dreaded SAT: every high school student’s nightmare. As one of the most important parts of the college application process, the SAT measures the overall knowledge of the test taker. Recently, every aspect of the SAT was drastically changed, ranging from the format to the types of questions.  Even whole sections were removed. When comparing the old version to the newer one, it was definitely a change worth making.

In my honest opinion, I always thought the old SAT was a waste of time and could never accurately measure a student’s knowledge. On the old SAT, those questions asking for the most appropriate word to enter in the sentence always gave me a lot of trouble.  Though having a sophisticated vocabulary is great and all, I don’t believe that testing if the student knows the word-for-word definition of something can accurately test intelligence. Even though those questions weren’t meant as trick questions, they really do seem like it. In addition, the test pointlessly has you memorize hundreds of words you most likely won’t ever use. Someone, tell me when you would ever use the word salubrious, dilettante, or torpid in an everyday conversation.

The absolute worst part of the SAT would be the essay; it barely gives time for any pre-writing or preparation. Who gives only 25 minutes to write a multi-paragraph essay? If someone were to write a four-body paragraph without any pre-writing, they’d have at most six minutes per paragraph, and  that doesn’t even include time used thinking about the prompt. If the SAT’s purpose was really to figure out the student’s intelligence, you would think they’d actually give you the time to put your best effort in .

In the newer version, almost every change made to the test was a positive one. For example, in the evidence-based reading and writing section, there are questions where the first asks for analysis and the second asks for supporting evidence, preventing any lucky guesses. The math section was also improved as well with some questions about data interpretation and graphs. These questions require further thinking and this knowledge can later be used for certain careers in the future; they’re more useful and common than knowing how to find the angle of depression. Also, the new SAT offers the “optional” essay giving an extra fifty minutes to finish it. Making the essay optional allows students not interested in prestigious universities to not have to write at all. The issue is that those who do want to go colleges like any of the Ivy League schools must pay for it each time. The best improvement would be the material covered overall in the test. The questions correlate with topics and skills learned in the classroom. Overall, the newer SAT is a definite change that needed to be made.