New SAT could help strong readers get more scholarships - WTVM.com-Columbus, GA News Weather & Sports

New SAT could help strong readers get more scholarships

New SAT could help strong readers get more scholarships  (Source: WTVM) New SAT could help strong readers get more scholarships (Source: WTVM)
COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) -

From dishing out money for application fees, to spending hours studying, the journey from senior year to college can be challenging for students and their families.

However, now changes to one admissions exam, the SAT, might make it easier - that is if your a good reader.

The new version of the Scholastic Aptitude Test rolling out this month is getting rid of challenging vocabulary and bulking up math questions with reading aspects.

"We have gotten rid of obscure vocabulary, the so called SAT words that students are unlikely to use again," said Stacy Caldwell, Vice President of College Readiness Assessments for the College Board.

The big changes for students come as test creators work to make the exam more practical.

"We've gotten rid of the guessing penalty with the idea being here that students should be able to show their best work on the SAT rather than worrying about tricks or strategies," said Caldwell.

It's an effort that's giving students more freedom to guess without consequences after the test historically punished students for wrong answers.

Tutors in the Valley are already gearing up for these changes. At the Sylvan Learning Center in Columbus tutors have the latest prep books to handle the changes and advocate starting early.

"We have some freshmen in high school that we've already spoken to, and we see some strengths that we can strengthen," said Kimberly Voltz, Center Director for Sylvan Learning in Columbus.

A YouTube video from SAT pros shows that the overall test will be more reading based. An old SAT math question contained less than 20 words, now the same problem will look more like a paragraph, forcing test takers to fish for information.

Tutors say prepping for these changes could even lead to more scholarships for college.

"Some kids are at the score they need, they just want more points to have scholarship money for certain schools, the higher the test score the more academic money they'll give you to come to their school," said Voltz.

Some other changes include returning to the 1600 point scale, having four rather than five multiple choice answers, and having the writing section optional.

The changes could lead to more students opting to take the SAT over the ACT. Officials from the Russell County School District say their students mostly take the ACT. In Muscogee County, that number is split.

"Students in MCSD take the PSAT in the Fall of their tenth grade year. Some students may be more inclined to take the SAT due to the fact they feel better prepared after having taken the PSAT. There are also many students that choose the ACT. We teach students the key differences between SAT and ACT so they may decide if one test may be better suited for them," said Guidance Director Christopher Porch at Northside High School.

You can learn more about tutoring options at the Columbus Sylvan Learning center by clicking here.

If you want to learn more about the changes to the SAT you can visit their page here.

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