SAT to drop complex vocab, essay requirement


By Tara Higgins

The SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test, renamed SAT Reasoning Test in 2004) has long been used to predict how well a student will perform in college.

According to a recent report by The Washington Post published on March 5, “The SAT college admission test will no longer require a timed essay, will dwell less on fancy vocabulary and will return to the familiar 1600-point scoring scale in a major overhaul intended to open doors to higher education for students who are now shut out.”

SAT will also be removing the quarter point deduction for incorrect responses. These new changes will go into effect in 2016, as current freshmen take the test as juniors.

The test was first created in 1926, and has slowly evolved throughout the years it has been administered to high school students across the country. SAT has previously been split into a verbal test and a quantitative analysis test, while the testing time limits have been extended.

Senior Roni Lubofsky has taken the SAT II in addition to the required ACT.

“I chose to take the SAT Subject Tests in Literature and Math II to augment my applications for colleges,” Lubofsky said.

“The SAT II was fairly similar to the ACT with passages to analyze in the Literature test and math problems in the Math II test. However, there were penalties for wrong answers, which discouraged guessing.”

Lubofsky believes that removing any penalties for incorrect guesses will encourage more students to take SAT, because it “causes less stress over making simple mistakes.”

As long as students sufficiently prepare for the vocabulary part of the test, the words are not too daunting.

“I used a study book to prepare for the SAT II Literature test, and it included a glossary of vocabulary words,” she said.

“Luckily, many of the words paralleled ones we learned in AP Literature, so it was not terribly difficult to learn them.”

In addition to testing SAT, Lubofsky also took ACT twice.

“With regards to the SAT II Subject Tests, I believe all students should take them in the subjects they are strongest in. It adds to college applications and shows a dedication in taking the time to prepare for and take additional tests to the required ones,” Lubofsky said.

“For many colleges, if a student takes the SAT, two Subject Tests are required. The alternative is the ACT Plus Writing, which I took as well.”

Senior Kyle Kercheval has taken the SAT and the essay portion when it was required. The most important deciding factor in whether you take the now optional essay portion, is in knowing your strengths and weaknesses.

“I hate to say it, but the essay on the SAT actually helped me out a lot. Since I tend to have more writing than mathematical success, my writing performance on the SAT was key,” Kercheval said.

He believes that students who are better at writing will be the ones to take the essay portion when it is not required anyway.

Lubofsky agrees.

“I encourage all students to look into the policies of every college they are considering applying to in order to ensure they are fulfilling all of the requirements,” she said.

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