College Board Removing Essay and Tough Vocabulary Words From SAT

The College Board is making major changes to the SAT. U.S. News reports that the SAT's mandatory essay will now be optional and scored separately. The vocabulary tests will also be revised and some of the more difficult and unusual words will be removed. U.S. News says the College Board wants to test words that "students will use consistently in college and beyond."

The College Board's website has information about the new test here. A comparison of the old SAT and new SAT tests can be found here. The site says the new test also has "no penalty for wrong answers" which means students can guess away on questions they don't know without harming their score. The score on the exam will return to the old maximum of 1600 instead of 2400. Most of the changes appear to make the new SAT easier, however students will only be allowed to use a calculator on certain portions of the math section. Previously, a calculator was allowed on the entire math section. The new test will arrive in Spring 2016.

The lack of a writing test is disconcerting, but a New York Times story on the SAT changes says the "required essay never entirely caught on with college admissions officers." Most colleges rely on their own college application essay which would-be students are required to write. They use this essay in combination with test scores and high school grades to evaluate potential students. CBS This Morning reports that 33 colleges no longer even require SAT exams. Fears this number could grow are one reason the College Board is revising the test. Take a look:

Posted on March 8, 2014

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