By Terrence Echols
Coming next March, high school students all over the country will have an opportunity to do something no one has done before. March 2016 marks the first time the revised SAT exam will be administered. Almost every college bound high school student will have the experience of taking the SAT exam with hopes that it will help them be accepted into the college of their choice.
Why is there a change? The College Board website says the test will be more closely connected to the K-12 course work, and more useful for college admission officers. Guidance counselor Amy LeStrange thinks the reason for the change is to make the test more aligned with what students are learning in their English and math classes. Mrs. LeStrange heard of the changes almost a year and a half ago. A major change to the new SAT is that the essay is now optional. “I think it's a good in a sense because I don't think it's fair for colleges to judge a student's ability to write an essay based on that,” said guidance counselor Laura Bond. There is also a new scoring system. All wrong answers used to lower your grade by a quarter of a point, while now all wrong test answers will carry no penalty. So unanswered questions and wrong guesses will not affect your overall score.
The SAT is very well known around the Jamesville-DeWitt community. The J-DHS class of 2014 had 88 percent of its students take the SAT, while the class of 2015 had 79 percent of its students take the exam.
To prepare students for the revised SAT, they will take this year’s PSAT. The new PSAT test will be administered at J-DHS on Oct. 14 for only $15. The year's PSAT is changing from its usual Saturday date to Wednesday just for this year, then it will change back to Saturday. “Wednesday will be more difficult than (the normal) Saturdays because it is harder to find rooms (to take the test) while everyone else is in the school,” said Mrs. LeStrange. However, one benefit she notes is it will help with student participation since it is more convenient for students. Instead of waking up earlier than usual on a Saturday and finding a ride to J-DHS, they will just ride the bus to school and take it first and second period, instead of their usual D day classes.
There are many J-DHS juniors who already know about the exams changes. “I heard they are taking out the essay, that's good for me because my writing is not that strong,” said junior Ben Wilson who is happy about the new changes. Junior Elena Haarer heard that there will be less multiple choice sections. “I think the changes are good, even though it will be hard because there is nothing (in terms of past tests) to study from,” said Haarer who will be taking the SAT in January, which is the last time the old SAT will be administered. She’ll take it again in March so she will be able to take both versions of the SAT. Junior Claire Rigney agrees with Haarer because she thinks it will be a disadvantage to be the first group to take it. Rigney is happy with the because she thinks the test will be easier.