The new version of SAT for Pleasanton students will be unveiled on March 5, 2016 but already it has generated so much buzz. While some worry about the changes, many students welcome it.

The College Board, who is the behind the SAT, has finally paid attention to the usual flak that the present SAT has little to do with what students have learned in high school and what they will learn in college. In response to those criticisms (and after extensive analysis and consideration), the College Board has announced the changes in the SAT. They have also promised that the new version will be in tune with what the students actually do in the classroom. The College Board hopes that the re-designed SAT will deliver its intentions.

Here are the following structural changes in the re-designed SAT for Pleasanton students and those around the nation taking the test:

  1. The new SAT will have two required sections: Reading and Writing, and Math.
    (This is in comparison to the current SAT which has three required sections: Critical Reading, Writing and Math)
  2. Writing the essay in the new SAT will now take 50 minutes (as opposed to 25 minutes in the current SAT). However, for the new SAT the essay is optional.
  3. In the new SAT, the essay will be scored separately.
  4. The new SAT exam will generally take three hours. When the optional essay is included, the exam will be extended by about an hour.
  5. Student scores will be different. Previously the SAT scores were from 600-2400. The new SAT will have scores from 400-1600, with additional score for the essay, should the student choose to complete it.
  6. Students may groan at the certainty that one segment in the new SAT’s Math section will not allow them to use calculators. The segment lasts 25 minutes. However, the segment that lasts 55 minutes will allow calculators to be used. This is unlike in the current SAT where calculators are permitted throughout the section.
  7. Future test-takers will be relieved to hear that the new SAT will not penalize students for making the wrong answer choices. The old SAT penalized the students ¼ for guessing an answer.
  8. The current SAT is available on paper only, while the new SAT will be available both on paper and digital formats.

Both test-takers and mentors will also encounter some content changes in the new SAT:

  1. In the current SAT, students are allowed to form their own arguments. In the new SAT, students will attempt to find the right evidence to support their arguments. Questions (based on provided passages) require students to have the ability to indicate specific evidence to support their answer choice.
  2. The new SAT’s verbal section will include passages from “Founding Documents” (like the Declaration of Independence) which students will encounter. This will help students have an idea where these passages originate.
  3. The new SAT’s Math section will focus on algebra, geometry, and math both in its fundamental and advanced concepts, unlike the current test which focuses on varying degrees of high school math.

Remember though, that the SAT isn’t a test to see how smart a student is, but how much he or she has learned in high school. Whether the new SAT in Pleasanton will be a new opportunity or a new set of problems, nevertheless, students are advised to brush up their skills and start practicing for the big day.