As the new SAT in Orinda launches in March 2016, many teachers, parents, and especially the students will need to understand it in order to adjust to the new SAT better. Its developer, the College Board, hopes that the redesigned SAT will be more focused than ever before.

The following is information about the remodeled SAT in Orinda. We hope that students will be able to figure out the differences between the old and the new SAT’s, as well as the new SAT’s other changes.

The College Board’s president and CEO David Coleman admit that today’s standardized tests have become “far too disconnected from the work of our high schools.” Together with the new SAT announcement, Coleman also has announced that they will lay out programs that will grant students from the low-income bracket access to higher education. These poor, but deserving students will be granted a free waiver which will allow them to apply to four colleges, with no charge. The College Board teams with the Khan Academy to provide free test preparation materials such as online practice problems, which have been just launched in early 2015.

The radically new SAT may be something that students and parents are dreading. However, you will need to understand the following information to see why the SAT isn’t something to worry about. Here are some things that you need to know and understand about the redesigned SAT:

  • In the current SAT’s Reading and Writing section, students make their answer choices but are never required to cite evidence to support their answers. In the redesigned SAT, students must support their answers with evidence, including questions that require them to cite a certain passage to prove why that answer is correct.
  • While various types of text might pop up on any SAT, students otherwise never encounter historical or scientific sources. For those taking the new SAT, students will now read source texts from a wider range of academic disciplines such as history, science, and social studies as part of the test. They will then be required to analyze the text the way they would in those classes.
  • Sometimes, the vocabulary in the old SAT concentrated on obscure words that are not widely used in college and career. The vocabulary in the current SAT focuses on words that students may not have heard of before and are likely not to hear them again — much less use them while in college or in future careers. In the new SAT, the vocabulary will focus on words that are widely used in college and career. For instance, the new SAT will focus on words such as arbitrary whose specific meaning will depend on the context.
  • In the old SAT, the essay tests the student’s ability to build an argument based on their own experiences. Therefore, since students are not provided with a source material, the test could not verify if their arguments were valid.

    But in the new SAT, the optional essay gauges the student’s ability to analyze evidence and offer explanations on how to construct an argument to persuade their readers. Apart from the coherence of the writing, the essay will also be evaluated based on the strength of their argument and analysis.

  • In the old SAT’s Math section, the content focused on a wide-range of high school-level math. Students faced a great deal of math topics and were required to be prepared for all topics. While in the new SAT, the Math section focuses on fewer topics that, the College Boards hopes, will be essential for a student’s college and career training.
  • Calculators were permitted in all portions of the Math section in the old SAT. While in the new SAT, calculators will only be permitted during certain Math portions. Students will have to show their work which will measure their understanding, fluency, and technique on the subject.
  • Before taking the old SAT exam, students had no idea where the sources of the reading passages were from. In the new SAT, each exam will include passages from “Founding Documents and the Great Global Conversation.” Students will encounter passages from the founding documents (like the Declaration of Independence) or from conversations that range from Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address to Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech to current news.
  • Those taking the current SAT were penalized for marking incorrect answers; however the new SAT does not deduct points for incorrect answers.
  • The essay was required in the current SAT but it is optional in the new SAT.
  • The new SAT will go back to the 1600 score scale where the current SAT used a 2400 score scale. Since the essay is now optional, its scores will be evaluated and handled separately.
  • The current SAT is available on paper only and takes 3 hours 45 minutes to complete. The redesigned SAT, however, will be available both on paper and online. Students taking the new SAT should plan on the test taking them 3 hours to complete, and an additional 50 minutes if they choose to complete the essay.

Keep in mind though, that SAT is not a test to see how intelligent a student is. SAT assesses what a student has learned in high school. And apart from that, the new SAT in Orinda gives more emphasis to the students’ future outside high school by readying them for college life and future careers.