If you graduated from high school in 2005 or earlier, then you probably associate the number “1600” with the college acceptance jackpot.
But the College Board, the company that owns and publishes the SAT, changed the test format and content 10 years ago. With the change, the SAT was scored out of 2400.
Next year, the College Board is reverting back to the old scoring out of 1600. And better yet for high school students, the changes will also impact the content of the test and make it the easiest version of the SAT ever, according to Shaan Patel, founder of SAT-prep company 2400 Expert. Here’s why:
1. No Obscure Vocabulary
The new version of the SAT will be easier because there will no longer be obscure vocabulary to trip up test takers, Patel told Business Insider. High school students will no longer have to study massive vocabulary lists with obscure words.
Instead, the College Board made the measured decision to focus on vocabulary words that students will encounter on a regular basis in college and in future jobs. On the College Board’s website they reference their decision saying, “No longer will students use flashcards to memorise obscure words, only to forget them the minute they put their test pencils down.”
2. Fewer Answer Choices
The new format will have four answer choices, rather than five, as the exam does today. This update will benefit test takers in two highly important ways, according to Patel.
First, test takers will save time, as they will have one less answer choice to read through on each question. Second, test takers have better probability of getting the question right as they have a 25%, rather than 20%, chance of choosing the right answer.
3. More Time
Patel says one of the biggest complaints students have with the current version of the SAT is that there is not enough time to take the exam. That will change with the new version of the test.
There will be more time per section on the new version, and students will even have double the amount of time to write their essay. Additionally, the new 1600 version of the test will have 16 fewer questions that the old version.
4. No Penalty for Guessing
On the previous version of the SAT, students were penalised for guessing the wrong answer. For that reason, Patel’s test prep company used to provide students with strategies to know when they should guess and answer or leave a question blank. But the new system doesn’t penalise students for choosing the wrong answer. If you’re taking the new SAT, Patel advises you to make sure to answer every single question.
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.