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Go Ask Mom

SAT changes mean decisions for 2016, 2017 classes

Posted March 16, 2015

A new test means scores are likely to be low. The Department of Public Instruction is trying to manage expectations when scores are released Nov. 7, 2013.

Big changes are ahead for the SAT - that college admission exam stalwart that generations have taken for entry into college.

The exam is getting a major redesign, including an optional essay and updated scoring scale. The new version will be unveiled to test takers in March 2016. And the redesign, says Sheba Lowe Brown of A+ Test Prep and Academic Services, will change the way the classes of 2016 and 2017 will approach college admissions exams.

Brown, a mom and former long-time teacher whose passion is helping kids with test prep, tells me that today's sophomores and juniors have some options.

Kids can:

  • Take the current SAT and get the score they want by January 2016. The SAT is given four times in the spring and three times in the fall. Prepare now, achieve the score you want and avoid the stress of the new test.
  • Take the new test in spring 2016. Take the new PSAT in October 2015 and use the results to develop a study plan for the new SAT that starts in spring 2016. There are still some unknowns about the new test, however, and spring test dates often coincide with AP tests, exams and prom.
  • Take the ACT. The ACT is accepted as widely as the SAT. Many students report that the ACT "feels" more like classwork from school. Students can begin prepping for the ACT as early as 8th grade by taking the EXPLORE test.

Brown has one last tip: Regardless of your college admissions exam plan, all juniors should take the re-designed PSAT. That's the only way to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program.

Brown will hold a free seminar called "Classes of 2016 and 2017: The SAT is Changing - know your options!" at 10 a.m., April 4, at Ideas! Coffee House, 1230 Avondale Dr., Durham. To sign up for the free course, go to A+ Test Prep's website.

7 Comments

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  • Clovis Sangrail Mar 17, 2015
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    Sorry but your assessment that the 2005 change was "minor" is incorrect
    If you think adding a essay that the majority of colleges ignore is major, then this current change is Cataclysmic.

    "Identifying the symbolisms in an 18th century love story doesn't help, with the exception of a few Liberal Arts majors"First off there are more than a "few" LACs out there.
    Secondly, they arent testing specific knowledge- they are testing abstract reasoning ability. Kind of an important thing.

    The whole purpose of Coleman's rewrite, like his AP rewrites and Common Core, is to show feel-good score increases in the absence of any actual increase in student achievement. Nothing like removing the top of the curve to reduce the scores gap. You think that is compatible with STEM excellence?

    The best foreign students in the world already take the *existing* SAT and the come to US universities. And there is nothing deficient about their scores on the verbal section.

  • Mike Berthold Mar 17, 2015
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    Sorry but your assessment that the 2005 change was "minor" is incorrect. The reinstatement of analogies and the essay made all of those who were prepping up until that point as unready to test as those who are going to have to deal with the new changes, which were announced back in March of last year by the way. David Coleman was instrumental in the English portion of Common core which now focuses curriculum on nonfiction and informational based texts, which is an advantage for those in STEM programs, rather than fictional creativity. Identifying the symbolisms in an 18th century love story doesn't help, with the exception of a few Liberal Arts majors, in real world instances. The biggest complaint on the English side of common core is that they no longer emphasis the classics and focus on informational texts. Great. Maybe we can get our STEM programs in line with the rest of the world finally.

  • Roy Hinkley Mar 17, 2015
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    Or they can take the ACT.

  • Clovis Sangrail Mar 17, 2015
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    They've changed them several times with major changes having come in 1994 and 2005. Nothing new here.
    You are way off base. The 2005 change was minor- deleting analogies and adding an essay and writing section that isnt part of the Core 1600.

    In this chane hey've changed them several times with major changes having come in 1994 and 2005. Nothing new here.

    In this change David Coleman, the Common Core guy and the guy who screwed up the APUSH, rewrote the exam to align with his high school curriculum.

    Now students will have no actual exams to study from, no tested prep books and their teachers wont know how to how to advise the students.

    Essentially current Sophomores will have to get their final scores by the December exam or they will have to start all over in the spring studying for a new exam, but with limited materials.

  • Mike Berthold Mar 17, 2015
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    Not the first time they've revamped the SAT's. They've changed them several times with major changes having come in 1994 and 2005. Nothing new here. Scores didn't change much in 1994 or 2005. They had essentially the same averages after both of these significant changes.

  • Roy Hinkley Mar 17, 2015
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    It doesn't seem unfair to me.
    Students will simply need to make a choice and all students have the same options.

  • Clovis Sangrail Mar 16, 2015
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    Very unfair to Sophomores and Juniors.

    There were released exams, prep books, example questions for the perfectly fine existing SAT.
    Now the current students will have to be guinea pigs with nothing to go by.
    Study all summer and take the exam in the Fall and pray you get a good enough score because in the Spring you will be back to the drawing board. Yeesh.