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7 Things Students Taking the New SAT Need to Know

The Short of It

The SAT is changing its format Saturday, March 5, for the first time in over a decade. Here's what your student taking the test needs to know.

The Lowdown

Back when I took the standard college entrance exam, we crammed for months our junior year of high school, and we were scored out of a possible 1,600 points. Then in 2005, the College Board changed the max score to 2,400. And now, things are going back to the way they were in the "olden days," according to Business Insider.

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Some experts say the newly formatted SAT will also be the easiest version yet. Score!

Among the changes college-bound kids can expect to see:

1. No more obscure vocabulary.

Like, kids may actually use some words they are being tested on in future college and job situations!

2. Fewer answer choices.

Test takers will have the choice of filling in one of four, not five, answer circles. What does that mean when kids don't know the answer? A better chance of getting it right!

3. More time.

For each section, students are allotted more time to read and review their answers.

4. No penalization for guessing.

Rather than a wrong guess adversely affecting their score, students are now being advised to answer every question rather than leaving any blank for fear of guessing wrong.

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Jared Friedland, CEO of Catalyst Prep, also told these additional tips for students taking the new SAT:

5. Underline key terms like "even," "odd," "consecutive," and "integer."

That way, students have less of a chance of getting tripped up by one of the "hidden terms" in math problems on the exam.

6. Eliminate text that's redundant and repetitive.

When students encounter a seemingly correct phrase, like "brutish, fiercely untamed savages," they need to revise the text to eliminate words that carry the same connotation. So instead of "brutish, fiercely untamed savages" revise to just "savages," since most savages tend to be pretty brutish and fiercely untamed by definition.

7. Don't be fooled by seemingly easy word-in-context questions.

The new SAT's Reading Test features several questions that ask about the meaning of seemingly easy words, like table and novel, but they may be used in a figurative manner. For example, using table as a verb to mean "putting something on hold." So don't ignore context!

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The Upshot

Hopefully, these changes to the test will diminish students' stress over taking it. Good luck, everyone!

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