Back To The Future

Students fall victim to the pressures of preparing for the SAT. Hopefully, the changes being made to the exam will alleviate some of the stress.

Alexa Geidel

Students fall victim to the pressures of preparing for the SAT. Hopefully, the changes being made to the exam will alleviate some of the stress.

Alexa Geidel, Columnist

It was announced this week that the College Board, the company that administers the SAT test, will be making significant changes to the testing format. Among the compulsory alterations being made is that the test will no longer be out of 2400 points like in years past, but instead, a staggering fraction of that of only 1600 possible points. So, back to the future we go, examining the new feature presentation coming to testing centers near you in spring 2016.

So where are the jettisoned 800 points, that one-third of the test, those shed 45 minutes going? Down the drain, chased down by a nice cool splash of archaic words, pitfall questions, tricks in the answer choices, and the oh-so-ghastly essay. Essay enthusiasts, don’t cry, because you can still participate in the hunt for a perfect score of twelve (albeit a hunt like the one for Bigfoot) because the essay is optional now. Or at least starting in late-spring of 2016.

Yes, it will take them two years, the time in which you could take 4,380 full-length SAT tests, to install this new update. They have two years to complete the following: pick out words that have long been laid to rest in the dictionary cemetery, peek in every fox-den to make sure no one lives there before they seal it up, determine what is not something to contribute to a more accurate demonstration of what has been learned, and hopefully eliminate the overwhelming stress factor. President of the College Board, David Coleman, commented on the overarching purpose of some of the revamps, “It is time for an admissions assessment that makes it clear that the road to success is not last-minute tricks or cramming, but the learning students do over years.”

The SAT is the underdog of college admissions testing, especially when taken next to the ACT. The 88 year-old granny slumps over in her rocking chair next to her comparably-spry 55 year-old neighbor. It just doesn’t stack up; students, parents, and colleges see that. Last year 1.7 million students endured the SAT, with 1.8 sitting through the ACT. The SAT was originally modified from a World War I Army I.Q. test, in economist Anthony Carnevale opinion, “It was a test that was built in the ’30s, to try to find Einstein behind a plow out there. There’s a fundamental problem with the SAT.”

So where does this leave you – the actual people who have to stomach the monster? If you are young enough to take the new test when you are a junior or senior, then do your research, and learn how to tailor your preparation to fit the new requirements. If you are taking or have taken the test before the spring of 2016, keep your head up. It is important to realize that these changes are merely in order to level the playing field. The university of your dreams takes so many other things into account than just that looming four-digit number. Do your best none the less, but realize this test is only one stepping stone to get you across the river, and into a brighter future.