Major Overhaul To The SAT

SAT Changes, College Board Changes, Changes to College Board SAT

The major overhaul to the SAT as announced yesterday was a strategic business decision on the part of the College Board.

Bev Taylor, Founder of Ivy Coach, was featured today in an article of “The Daily Pennsylvanian” entitled “Major changes come to the SAT.” As you may know, the College Board unveiled a major overhaul to the SAT yesterday. This overhaul included making the essay section optional, restricting calculator use to certain math sections (not all), testing vocabulary that is more relevant to college coursework (less obscure words), and a “founding document” (as in from American history) will be featured on every exam.

As quoted in the newspaper of the University of Pennsylvania, “Bev Taylor, the founder of Manhattan-based consulting firm Ivy Coach, sees the changes as mainly a business decision because ‘the College Board felt like they lost bragging rights in 2013 when over 2,000 more students took the ACT,’ she said. ‘That’s enough to do something drastic.’ Taylor believes the changes will not affect the decision process for college admissions. She pointed out that most top colleges have been considering the essay portion of the exam as an SAT Subject Test, not as a part of the real SAT. ‘Ever since College Board changed it to 2400, nobody in admissions really understood that score,’ she said. However, Taylor finds it likely that top colleges will make the optional essay section required, just as they do for the essay part of the ACT.

Do you agree that the most highly selective colleges in the country will require that students do the essay section? And do you think the College Board’s decision to overhaul the exam was — at least in part — a strategic business decision? We sure do! Let us know your thoughts on the subject by posting a Comment below. We look forward to hearing from you about the major overhaul to the SAT.


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  • Maheshwari Sivapatham says:

    I was discussing this with my sons yesterday, both of whom will be taking their SAT in 2016, when the new tests debut. Of course, they cheered when they heard that the essay had been made optional; and were crestfallen when I said that they should take it anyway.

    All other things being equal (hypothetically), the students who stand out will be the ones who opt to take the essay portion of the test. Really, it’s not even ‘optional’ if the student is serious about applying to selective universities.

    As to what prompted this decision, I’m not sure. If as the college board says, the aim is to give a level playing field to students from lower-income families who couldn’t afford prep courses, that’s very laudable. Perhaps it was just time they stepped up to the competition – adapt or die.

  • Saloni says:

    This doesn’t mean that if I’m going to be applying to colleges in 2015 (next year) and have already given my sat and do not plan on giving it again but most other students in my year have given this new new SAT, I have to give it again? And if it’s not an obligation, won’t it be very inconvenient for the admissions officers? Only to add maybe put me at a disadvantage?

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