Thursday, May 19, 2022

Let the spin begin. I actually saw a high school tutor advertise how lucky the current high school sophomores were because they had three choices available to them for next year: take the old SAT, take the new SAT or take the ACT. Unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth.

The new SAT will be administered beginning March 2016. The old SAT has seven more tests left to administer during the months of March, May, June, October, November, December 2015 and January 2016—actually 14, if you consider each month has two different tests of tests, one for Saturday, one for Sunday.

The last time the SAT changed was in March 2005, and it was minor. The Verbal section removed the analogies and added an essay. The Math simply added on an Algebra 2 component—namely functions. Otherwise, the tests continued with all the problems and curricula of the old test. It was very teachable, and preparation just added on the function concept—you kept all your previous prep work and built on it.

The new SAT is drastically different from the current one. I will focus on the Math concepts in this and follow-up articles.

The rumors about this new test are flying fast and furious; fact versus fiction is alive and well— and everyone has a different take on it. Heard its easier; harder; less vocabulary to learn; more vocab to learn; no penalty for guessing; calculator only allowed for certain parts of the Math section; easier to prep; Khan Academy will supply all the materials we need…It’s kind of like all the rumors you hear about the current test: This month the test is easier, the curve is better—rumors that have no basis in reality.

Unfortunately for current sophomores, their choices are very limited for next year. Taking the new SAT is not a viable option. It is impossible to prep for.

Here are some of the issues that need to be dealt with, and which will be explored in future articles:

1. You do not go to a Pesach program the first year. You do not buy a new gadget until you have read the reviews. The SAT will claim they have researched and tested and retested the new test and it will be a solid indicator of how one will do in college. That’s not possible.

2. The SAT and ACT are in a war. The SAT is losing ground in great measure to the ACT. The new test will be a political football. Do they make it easy so people will flock back to it and alienate college guidance acceptance procedures?

3. Do they make it hard and realistic and please college guidance, but have even more people abandon it for the tried and true ACT that is undergoing only minor changes?

4. The strength of my current SAT course is that we review the actual College Board problems given on SAT tests over the past few years. The College Board book has tests from six years ago. No problems of that nature will be available for this new test.

5. Prep is quite psychological. Children are motivated in my course to do the necessary work, as they see in their practice from test to test how the problems and concepts repeat. They approach the test feeling confident. What motivation will they have to prepare for the new test and feel confident taking it? No one knows what will be on it. We will all be walking in the dark.

6. Finally, in the few sample problems the College Board has already released, one can see that they expect much more reasoning than knowledge of actual Math concepts.

7. I have met with the guidance departments of Frisch, Torah Academy and Maayanot. I will share some of the challenges we are all facing in this regard and the options that are available.

Howard Goldberg is the owner of Gold’s Math and SAT Tutoring and has helped thousands of children to excel on the SAT. He can be reached at [email protected]

By Howard Goldberg

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