Awkwardly Being Here

By Kirsten Hernandez

For many years as a junior at SHS you would take the ACT, which students have been taking since 2001, but this year things are different. The SHS juniors will be taking the SAT for the first time. To help prepare the juniors for the SAT this year, they took the PSAT. The PSAT is a good opportunity for students to get an idea of what the SAT will be like.

It’s hard to know what will come of this test as it is the first year the test will be taken. This new change will not only be hard for the students, but for the teachers as well.

The SAT includes sections for math, evidence-based reading and writing, math, science and social studies. The object of the SAT was to create a full length test to judge the overall intelligence of a student. Starting at the beginning of 2016, the writing section on the SAT will be optional. If chosen to take the written part of the exam, it will be scored separately, the reading section will no longer get “obscure” vocabulary words and the math section will put more emphasis on solving problems with real-world relevance.The College Board explains that the redesigned SAT will more closely reflect the real work of college and career.IMG_2390

The SAT is used as an entrance exam by most colleges to make admission decisions. The idea of the test is to provide colleges with one common criterion to compare all applicants. The total time to take the test is three hours and 50 minutes. The perfect score is 1600 so each section of the test is between 200 to 800 points.An average score on the SAT is 1000. The top 25 percent of   students that take the SAT score about 1200.

The ACT traditionally measures achievement while the SAT measures thinking skills. The SAT is a paper-based test. The only technology allowed to be used during the test is an approved calculator.

Sophomores will start taking the PSAT instead of the PARCC test. The PSAT tests differ from PARCC test and will take less time. For example, sophomores spent more than 11 hours on PARCC tests last spring, while the PSAT takes just under three hours. PARCC tests include only language arts and math. The PSAT and SAT tests cover reading, writing, math, science and social studies.

One factor that may have swayed Colorado is that the SAT has a reputation for being more reason-based and focused on critical thinking, while the ACT has a reputation for being more of a fact-recall test.

College Board has partnered with Khan Academy to provide free test preparation for any student with computer access. The SAT is a globally-recognized test accepted by nearly every college in the nation, including every Colorado college and university.