Redesigned SAT deserves a fair chance


Hannah Young

Out with the old and in with the new. In March 2016, the new SAT will be implemented.

Hannah Young, Staff Writer

Maybe I should have known something was going on when half of my friends updated their Facebook statuses from SAT camps this summer. Maybe I should have known there was something strange about Barnes and Nobles running out of SAT books twice in the span of two months. Maybe that’s why everyone gaped at me when I announced, “I’m taking the new SAT.”

According to the College Board, the organization that designs the SAT, “the new test will be more focused on the skills and knowledge at the heart of education.”

College Board’s goal is to reinvent the SAT to become more relevant to the future success of students. In attempts to achieve this goal, the new SAT effective in March 2016 will have no guessing penalty, no vocabulary, and an optional synthesis essay.

I had no reason to take the old SAT. Learning the guessing penalty didn’t sound like a good use of my time. I didn’t really buy the validity of the persuasive essay in determining my writing capabilities. Memorizing the box of flashcards my parents keep in the garage did not sound like a fun rainy day activity to me. All in all, there was nothing about the old test structure that seemed appealing to me.

I was aware that some students had spent time throughout all of high school (and possibly middle school) studying for the old SAT, and that my score might not compare with the scores of these people. Most importantly though, I didn’t see much value in spending hours of my life for an exam that would only be a number on my transcript.

According to the College Board, the new SAT is focused primarily on reinforcing what is taught in the classroom and testing what what students actually know rather than what they can memorize and regurgitate on the exam.

If I’m going to spend hours of my life on anything, I want it to be worthwhile. Memorizing a three inch book for the old SAT will only be worth a four digit number. Taking the new SAT will be worth not only the number, but the knowledge– and knowledge is priceless.

I understand that certain students have incentives to take the old SAT, such as seniors or students who spent the last few years studying intensively. However, I don’t believe that there is more to gain from scrambling to sign up for the old SAT before it disappears forever.

A lot of students don’t want to take a test that nobody knows anything about, but maybe that’s another benefit of the new SAT. Everyone who takes the new SAT will be a guinea pig in 2016. With no grades from prior classes for comparison, they will be setting their own curve and expectations for future test-takers.

Before signing up for the old SAT out of fear of the unknown, give the new SAT a chance. It offers appealing opportunities to prove knowledge on subject matter that students have most likely already been learning and studying in school.