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Changes to the SAT: What Does It Mean?

Authored By: 
Maren Holmen, Academic Liaison

If you’re reading this blog, you have probably already heard about the College Board’s changes to the SAT.  For those of you who aren’t familiar with the changes, here’s a summary:  Starting in Spring 2016, the SAT will go back to the 1600-point format.  They’re getting rid of vocabulary words that are largely out of use and hard-to-understand math questions, the essay is becoming optional, and the overall focus of the exam will be on decoding the presented information, not in rote memorization.  In addition, students won’t be penalized for guessing and there will be questions tied in more closely to science and social studies.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had stressed-out students (and parents) ask me about “the best way” to prepare for the SAT.  They ask about the difference between the various test prep services and our own SAT tutoring; they ask about our approach and our statistics; and they ask for honest advice about what all this testing means for college admissions.

This is what I tell them: It is virtually impossible to go through high school and college without having to take some type of standardized exam.  Here at The Tutoring School, we teach the basic skills of how to survive such tests, but our tutors do not do what so many services have made their bread and butter on—how to “beat the test.”  We teach the knowledge necessary to answer content-based questions, regardless of the format.

The proposed changes to the SAT are in-line with how we’ve been preparing our students to take standardized exams for years, using critical thinking skills and actual problem-solving.  Our SAT tutors embrace this same philosophy when working with each student one-on-one, and, ultimately, our students are better prepared for it.

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