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Students react to major changes in redesigned SAT

Monday, April 18, 2016 by Stephanie Zacharias

For generations, the SAT has caused a good deal of stress for juniors and seniors in high school. However, some changes to the test this year have made it a little more manageable for many students.

The SAT essay is now optional, and there is no “guessing penalty” where points are taken off for incorrect answers. The SAT now focuses more on vocabulary that can be used in today’s language. It also has a less intense level of math than other tests such as the ACT, which could help those who struggle in math, and gives better options to English-language learners. These changes and other more minor ones are being made partially to increase the number of students to take the SAT, because the test is competing with a very popular test called the ACT. The ACT has been receiving more attention from colleges lately.

“It is nice to know that writing the essay and scoring high on it may differentiate me from other students who either did not take it, or scored lower,” said Grace Kabanuk. “I am glad they [eliminated the guessing penalty], it is reassuring that an educated guess can help, not hurt me.”

Many students are still stressed out trying to reach a score that will get them into their preffered college. Students are still figuring out what the new test format is bringing with it. Many
are unsure on how to prepare for the test and concerned on what their study strategy should be.

Not all students will choose to take the essay. This gives students new to writing English a chance to show their other skills on the test.

For many others as well, being able to guess is a big anxiety lifter.

“Since math isn’t my strong suit, it relieves me to know that we won’t be tested as intensively on it.” said Max Gaba. This allows a variety of skills to be shown through the test.

​“I like not having as much math in the test, personally I am a lot better in English,” said Christa Caimano.

The bottom line for many students is that the SAT still is a cause for anxiety.

“You never know what they might give you, which to me means more stress,” said Victoria Luce.


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