MALVERNE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — It was early to bed Friday night and a good healthy breakfast for high school students nationwide, who will be taking a retooled SAT.
As CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff reported, the college admissions exam has undergone extensive changes.
No. 2 pencils are still standard-issue, but the old test might not be so recognizable at all. In issuing the revised SAT, the College Board has plunged the placement test into uncharted territory.
“I’m not saying the old one was bad or whatnot, but this one, I feel more confident,” said SAT taker Chidozie Alozie.
“Everything seems a bit easier on the new one,” said SAT taker James Phillips.
Juniors at Malverne High School took prep classes based on the few practice exams the college board released. Content is now closer aligned to what kids are learning in school.
“I think the college board has done a very good job in actually aligning the exam with what their classes are,” said Malverne High School Assistant Principal Kesha Bascomb.
Also gone is the penalty for guessing.
“They’ve eliminated one of the choices, so now, the children have four choices to pick from, so your odds of picking the right answer go up,” said Malverne High School math teacher Christine Gilmore.
There is also less geometry too, and the essay will be optional. Thus, the perfect score reverts back to 1600 from 2500.
And gone are old, arcane vocabulary words, so new generations can skip the flash cards.
“Now vocabulary is in context, so that you’re not just getting random words,” said SAT taker Alexis Murry. “You can kind of figure it out using context clues while you’re reading.”
The College Board explained the reasoning behind altering the test.
“The redesigned SAT is built from the most current research on what students need to be ready for college,” College Board Middle States Regional vice president David Adams said in a statement. “We removed the tricks and mysteries that previously left some students at a disadvantage.”
But educators said they were losing ground to rival ACT, and some private test prep centers recommended that students sit this test out until the new SAT develops a track record.
“What we are advising our students to do is to take the ACT for right now, and on top of it, we don’t even know how the schools are going to look at a score from the SAT,” said Jeremy Cohen of Private Prep.
Educators said the real test will be whether the new SAT levels the playing field and will be a fairer indicator of college success. That assessment could take years.
In all, nearly half a million students are expected to take the new SAT this month.