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One Year Since First Administration in March 2016, Students Say the New SAT Makes It Easier to Show Their Best Work

One Year Since First Administration in March 2016, Students Say the New SAT Makes It Easier to Show Their Best Work

On Saturday, March 11, students across the country will take the new SAT®, which marks its one-year anniversary this month. The new test reflects what students are learning in class, making it easier for them to show their best work.

The new SAT is easier than ever to prepare for with free, personalized, practice on Khan Academy®, and it clears the path to college admission with college application fee waivers and scholarships. Like the previous version, the new SAT is accepted by all U.S. colleges.

Students prefer the new SAT by a 7 to 1 margin, saying it’s “easier,” “more straightforward,” and “way more applicable to what we’ve been learning in school.” Here’s why:

  • A focus on the areas of math that matter most.
  • A move away from obscure vocabulary words to the use of relevant words in context.
  • No science section. Science concepts are tested in the context of the reading passages.
  • Students now have 43% more time per question on the SAT than on the ACT®.
  • No penalty for guessing.
  • A focus on command of evidence.
  • Scoring scale was adjusted from 2400 to 1600, and the essay is now optional.

1.67 million students in the class of 2017 took the new SAT through January 2017.

Positive Student Response to the New SAT

Following all fall 2016 SAT administrations, the College Board surveyed 94,362 students who completed the test. The majority of students had positive reactions to the new SAT.

  • 59% of students who took the old version of SAT said they found the new version easier, while just over half of students who never took the old version of the SAT said they had heard the new version was easier.
  • 70% of students said they were tested on the reading, math, and writing skills they’re learning in school.
  • Almost 80% of students reported feeling confident going into the SAT.
  • Nearly a third of students said they felt extremely or very prepared to take the SAT.
  • Of the 70% of students who said they practiced for the SAT, nearly 30% began preparing within a week of test day, and 9% started at least 6 months in advance.
  • “The subjects provided at school teach the skills needed to answer most of the questions on the SAT.” – Adriana, NC
  • “Everything was based on what I've been learning in my classes for the past two years. Only a few sections were difficult.” – Lisbeth, NV
  • “I felt comfortable answering the questions. The vocabulary was perfectly moderate, which helped since it was my first time! I'm very grateful it wasn't as difficult as expected!” – Valentina, FL
  • “There were no problems for which I had to have obscure mathematical information memorized.” – Ben, IL
  • “Khan Academy helped me understand what types of problems would be on the SAT, and it helped me understand how to solve those problems. I felt very comfortable with the problems presented on the SAT because of Khan Academy.” – Will, SC
  • “Calm down and do your best. You can take it as many times as you want. Try to answer every question even if you have to guess, points aren't deducted for wrong answers. Don't worry about people around you. Focus on yourself. For the essay: quality over quantity.” – Hailey, NJ

Educators and parents have also shown support. Based on recent surveys:

  • Parents are 6 times more likely to prefer that their child take the new SAT over the old SAT.
  • Nearly 6 in 10 teachers support the changes to the SAT.
  • More than 75% of counselors indicated that they plan to encourage students to register for the new SAT.

Free Practice 

The College Board has partnered with Khan Academy to develop free, personalized practice tools for the SAT.

  • Unlike traditional high-priced test prep that focuses on strategies for taking the test and quick cramming, Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy supports and reinforces what students are learning in class by helping them focus on the knowledge and skills essential for college readiness and success.
  • Since June 2016, more than 3 million users have logged on to practice for the SAT on Khan Academy.
  • 70% of students found this personalized study resource to be extremely or very helpful in preparing for the SAT. One student called it “a godsend.”
  • Khan Academy was the most frequently used tool for practice—38% of students used it to prepare, compared to 34% of students who used a book, and 14% who used a paid course or tutor.

Students can access the free tools and practice anytime at satpractice.org.

Who to Contact

If you plan to cover the March 2017 SAT administration, the College Board Communications team can help connect you with College Board officials and with K–12 and higher education experts and educators. Please email communications@collegeboard.org or call 212-713-8052 if you need additional information, are interested in scheduling an interview, or would like photos or B-roll for an upcoming piece.

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About the College Board

The College Board is a mission-driven not-for-profit organization that connects students to college success and opportunity. Founded in 1900, the College Board was created to expand access to higher education. Today, the membership association is made up of over 6,000 of the world’s leading educational institutions and is dedicated to promoting excellence and equity in education. Each year, the College Board helps more than seven million students prepare for a successful transition to college through programs and services in college readiness and college success—including the SAT® and the Advanced Placement Program®. The organization also serves the education community through research and advocacy on behalf of students, educators, and schools. For further information, visit collegeboard.org.