Revised SAT: Changes To SAT Vocabulary Section

High School Students Taking Test In Classroom

The SAT has been around a long time. Because of this, it has gone through an innumerable amount of changes over the years. The differences between when the test began, and what it is now are opposite sides of two very, very different coins.

This is a good thing though, because it means that the test is evolving to meet the needs of the youth who are taking it. As the times change, so too should the test that grants entrance to colleges.

The SAT focuses on reading, writing, and math. Each of these have moved forward by leaps and bounds, and the current field of education in both basic and advanced levels, has grown to reflect that.

While the SAT has changed numerous times, it is about to change again, in the year 2016. This change, it seems, is for the better. For one, the SAT vocabulary is seeing a drastic overhaul, in line with the rest of the exam.

Of course, to understand the new approach, one must see where the test has come from, in order to understand where it is going. There is a complex method behind the test, and seeing this pattern of change throughout history will make the ultimate changes in 2016 that much more impactful. So, without further ado, let’s exam the evolution of the SAT.

From Past to Present: How the SAT Has Evolved

It’s hard to believe, but the SAT began in 1901. It all started with the ideas of Carl Brigham. Carl was a psychologist who worked on the Army Alpha and Beta tests. The SAT was created to eliminate test bias between people from different socioeconomic backgrounds. It was used mainly by colleges and universities in the northeastern United States.

1. The 1901 Exams

The first College Board exam was administered on June 17, 1901. The exams of the College Board were taken by 973 students across 67 areas of the United States, and two in Europe. The test was taken by peoples from various backgrounds, but the broad spectrum was New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Most of the students taking the exam were from private schools or prestigious ones.

The test contained essay response questions around English, French, German, Latin, Greek, history, mathematics, chemistry, and physics. The answers were evaluated on a scale that ranged from “excellent” to “very poor.”

2. The 1926 Exams

The first SAT test occurred on June 23, 1926. Back then, it was known as the “Scholastic Aptitude Test.” The exam was prepared by Princeton psychologist Carl Campbell Brigham and his committee. It has sections of definitions, arithmetic, classification, artificial language, antonyms, number series, logical inference, and paragraph reading. Three hundred test centers and over 8,000 students took the exam.

3. The 1994 Exams 

Jumping forward, past score changes and other small adjustments, the 1994 exams saw the first major change in vocabulary. Antonyms were removed from the verbal section of the exam, to discourage and memorization of vocabulary terms and focus more on passage-based reading, which went from a 30% ratio, to a 50% ratio. This change is important, because it was made in response to a 1990 report in which the College Board stated: “The test should approximate more closely the skills used in college and high school work.”

The Upcoming SAT Vocabulary Changes 

The changes to the 1994 version of the SAT were a harbinger for the evolution that is to come. As the College Board said, the SAT needs to judge how prepared the student is for college. To that end, the upcoming changes in 2016 will reflect this. Words like “membranous, “mendacious”, “redolent”, and “treachery” will no longer appear on the exam. Why? Because they don’t matter.

David Coleman, president of the College Board is seeking to rid the SAT of these words that define it, and fill it with words that will be useful in college and life in general. After becoming the president last October, Coleman said he wanted to restructure the test. He said the test should focus on “things that matter more so that the endless hours students put into practicing for the SAT will be work that’s worth doing.”

The redesigned SAT is more about using vernacular that speaks to the students’ knowledge, and allows them to prove what they have learned through answers that give them the ability to show evidence of their work.


The SAT Preparation Group: Ready Now, and in The Future

If you’re concerned about the SAT changing, you don’t need to worry. The SAT Preparation Group has been helping students succeed since 2001, and even after the last major changes in 2005, the group has never wavered in their excellence of quality, individualized training for the test. With elite premium coaches, and a system that works both in-home and online, students will always have a perfect option for their test preparation.

With the changes to the vocabulary incoming, the SAT Preparation Group will tailor their curriculum to meet these changes, and maintain their reputation for significant test score increases year after year. Whether a student is set to take the SAT next summer, or the summer of 2017 and beyond, their preparation is in good hands that understand the test through and through.

SAT Preparation Group advises in test prep, college planning, and success strategies for teens. Call Us Today at 877-672-8773 or click here for a free consultation.

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