Changes to the SAT and ACT have created consternation. Why? First, simply change. Anytime you alter something, it causes skepticism and unrest. Secondly, the very nature of standardized testing inherently breeds anxiety. But as with anything new and unfamiliar, information is the best way to combat concern. Rick Clark, director of Undergraduate Admission at Georgia Tech, and Mary Tipton Woolley, the senior associate director, suggest students and families keep these points in mind:
Test Prep: One of the best results of the SAT redesign is College Board’s partnership with Khan Academy, which provides free tips, practice questions and strategies for improving scores on all sections. ACT Online Prep is found here.
Wrong Answers: On the redesigned SAT, students will no longer be penalized for wrong answers. This aligns with the ACT’s practice and corresponds with students' preference.
Scoring Framework: Due to the uncoupling of the writing section, SAT scores are back to a 1600 total scale. Both the Evidence-based Reading & Writing and Math sections will be scored on a scale from 200 to 800. The ACT has also changed its writing score scale to range from 2 to 12, and provides separate scores across the four domains.
Relevant Questions: Both tests are now more directly linked to what students were taught in the classroom. The exams also have fewer clandestine reading passages and vocabulary.
Test Optional: Did you know that more than 850 colleges do not use standardized test scores to make admission decisions? View these test-optional schools here.
Remember, testing is only one part of a holistic admission decision. At Georgia Tech, we will identify the date of the test taken to ensure we understand which test we are evaluating, but we will continue to look for a student's highest section score from any test date.
If schools are already de-emphasizing scores this year due to the new scoring systems, what does that mean for you as a student or parent? Scores matter — but grades, rigor of curriculum, and your ability to demonstrate how you will improve a college campus and those around you through your extracurricular impact and essays and short answer writing will be extremely critical.
For more information, or to schedule an interview, please contact: