SAT changes – what to expect

By Ella Schaffer, Staff Writer

A student studies for the SAT in the school library during enrichment.

On January 25, 2022 the College Board announced changes to the SAT regarding length and accessibility, which will be instituted in 2024. Adjustments to the SAT include a shorter exam, a built in Desmos calculator, “less wordy math questions”, and a completely digital exam. The new SAT will have two sections: a combined reading and writing section and math section. Students will receive a score out of 1600 points, and they can take the test in schools or in verified testing locations. 

The official reasons for the changes to the SAT include making the test easier to access for all students, more current, and cheaper to administer. Priscilla Rodriguez, the vice president of college readiness assessments at College Board, said that “the digital SAT will be easier to take, easier to give and more relevant.” Samuel Lipinski, a junior at Payton, responded to the shift: “I wish that I could take the new SAT. I would much rather take a shorter test.”

Making the test easier to take became a topic of interest during the pandemic. Before the pandemic, in 2019, some 2.2 million students took the SAT. But, mostly due to the pandemic, around 80% of U.S. universities and colleges removed their SAT requirements for their fall 2020 and 2021 applicants. Only 1.5 million students took the SAT in 2021 which is a considerable difference from 2019. Some schools have decided to stay test optional for the foreseeable future while others are still trying to determine whether or not to make it a requirement in the coming years. “It’s admirable that [the College Board] is trying to make [the SAT] more accessible to people,” said Joan Bahnfleth, a junior at Payton. “But it won’t negate the fact that the SAT is becoming irrelevant for college admissions.” 

Many students at Payton worry that the changes being made to the SAT are making the test less competitive, thus hurting high scoring test takers. Other students, specifically younger students, worry that the changes are being made too quickly and they worry about the transition. Although some are excited for changes and others are wary, the full effects of the new SAT won’t be known until 2024.

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