SAT changes to keep up with ACT

The SAT sucks. It’s long, it’s boring, it is determined to trip you up on something with each new question and unfortunately for you, it makes the difference between rockin’ four years at UCSB or melting away at one of those colleges that won’t stop sending you letters in the mail (I’m looking at you Hofstra University).

But wait, in recent years there’s been a plot twist: you can just take the ACT instead.

In addition to adding a science section (which the SAT lacks), the ACT tests concepts straightforwardly, whereas the SAT feels like you’re solving a four hour riddle. According to the New York Times the ACT is growing in popularity amongst students due to its straightforwardness, at the SAT’s expense.

So after that handsomely concise summary of the two, we get to the heart of the issue: the SAT has now changed the make-up of their test to try to  compete with the ACT.

The new test is out of a score of 1600 as opposed to 2400, it will drop it’s obscure vocabulary, and there will be no quarter point deduction for getting a question wrong. Noting that you, the reader, are probably a grandparent of mine or my editor, then you’ll be just thrilled to know that these changes aren’t going into effect until 2016, aka the year after I graduate and it doesn’t matter anymore. Yay!

While the SAT is claiming that the changes were made in order to better align the test with what students are actually learning, it’s incredibly apparent that this is merely their defense to the ACT’s surge in popularity. It seems ridiculous that suddenly the folks in charge the SAT would realize that “subpoena” and “menagerie” aren’t relative.

If the intentions behind the changes were truly to connect more to our education, then we would be tested on traditional factoring and geometry as opposed to the problems where we have to figure out the number of marbles in Jorge’s pocket just by being told the color of his hair. But then again, this really isn’t about connecting to our education as much as it is trying to make SAT sound easier and more appealing than the ACT.

The SAT clearly has put less of an emphasis on the difficulty, and the new main concern is attracting test takers over the ACT. With the SAT’s motives clearly based on business, reward academic integrity and stick to the ACT when the time comes.