If you’re a student who wants to get high Bowdoin College SAT scores as possible, then looking at the new rules implemented on the SAT and ACT exams is crucial. With these major changes come controversies, with people claiming the changes will make college admissions more complicated than it already is.
However, the redesigns are intended to make the tests more closely aligned with coursework, which should give colleges better information about how well students are prepared for college-level work. The ACT and SAT have some differences in terms of what they test, but both are standardized college admissions tests that assess math, reading, writing, and language skills.
Both exams have recently introduced some major changes that students need to be aware of. Here’s a breakdown of what those new rules are:
1. No Penalties for Wrong Answers
Under the old rules of the SAT and ACT, students faced a penalty for answering questions incorrectly. Each correct answer was worth one point while incorrect answers caused them to lose points. Fortunately, the new SAT and ACT have scrapped this policy.
Now, no matter how many questions you answer correctly or incorrectly, your score will always be based on how many multiple-choice questions you got right. This doesn’t mean that you should leave every question blank though. Even if you guess wrong on a question, you still have a chance of getting it right.
For example, if you randomly guessed four questions correctly and got all four of them right, your score would be four points higher than it would if you had left all four questions blank. This is a good approach, especially for students aiming to get high scores such as Bowdoin College SAT Scores.
2. Authorized Use of Calculators
One of the biggest changes to the new SAT is that calculators are now permitted on both portions of the Math section, whereas previously they were only allowed on one portion of the test.
The ACT has always permitted the use of a calculator on all math questions, but for years, it had a policy forbidding the use of “notes or formula sheets.” This year, that policy has been eliminated, so students may now use notes or formula sheets when working on any section of the test.
The College Board’s official calculator policy permits students to use only a four-function with square root or a scientific calculator. The ACT’s official calculator policy is even more restrictive, permitting only four-function calculators with no square root function.
However, both tests permit graphing calculators and other types of sophisticated calculators if they are not programmable and do not have QWERTY keyboards.
There is also an Analysis section in which students must read a passage and then analyze it. This section will require more writing than the current SAT, but it won’t be an essay. Instead, test-takers will have to write sentences based on their analysis of the passage.
According to the PARCC sample questions, this portion will require students to write an essay analyzing a source text. The text may be “distinctive in its perspective, style, or language,” according to the College Board website.
Students will be asked to explain how the author constructs the argument and how the author uses evidence and reasoning to support his or her claims. They’ll also be asked to analyze how stylistic elements of the text contribute to its effectiveness as an argument.
The math section is more straightforward with the new SAT, but it also has more problems that require you to use facts you know in order to solve them.
4. The SAT is Now Scoring on a 400-1600 Scale Based on Two Categories
The new SAT has two main sections, each scored on a 200-800 point scale. The composite score is the sum of these two sections. The total scaled score ranges from a low of 400 to a max score of 1600. The score report will also include sub scores for the essay and multiple-choice writing sections, as well as subject tests.
The old test had three categories scored individually with a max of 800 points in each section, for a maximum composite score of 2400. The lowest achievable score was 600 points per section or 1800 overall.
5. The ACT has a Test Prep Companion App that’s FREE for Everyone
In an effort to make its college readiness assessment test more accessible, the ACT is developing a free mobile app to help students prepare for the exam.
The ACT Prep app, available for both iOS and Android devices, isn’t meant to replace traditional study guides or an official test prep course, but it does provide practice questions, timed tests, and flashcards for review.
The app is meant to help students learn on the fly, whether they’re in line at a coffee shop or waiting for a bus. The app aims to help students prepare for the ACT and SAT as it uses game-based learning and adaptive learning to tailor study time to each student.
6. Essay Portion Will Be Optional
The SAT and ACT first added writing sections in 2005, and they were meant to test how well high school students could express their ideas in writing. They also helped colleges assess whether applicants would be prepared for university-level writing courses. But as more colleges need Bowdoin College SAT scores quality, many high schoolers have opted to prepare well for the standardized tests.
The College Board has announced that the essay portion of the SAT will be optional starting in March 2016, and the ACT made it optional in 2015. It’s not clear how many colleges will require or recommend the essay now that it’s no longer part of the tests.
If you’re applying to schools that recommend or require the essay, you should take it for your best chance at admission. Some colleges still require or highly recommend an essay to fulfill admissions requirements.
However, the most competitive schools prefer good scores. Bowdoin College SAT scores, for example, require students to score impressive results to be admitted.
7. SAT Math is Adding More Advanced Math Topics
The biggest change to the SAT math section is that it will be adding some new content. The College Board announced on April 1, 2015 that they would be adding more advanced math topics such as trigonometry and complex equations.
This is a huge shift from the current SAT which focuses almost entirely on algebra I and II. The new test will also test more of your problem-solving skills rather than simply memorizing formulas.
Previously, the SAT had been criticized for not requiring any algebra and only a bit of geometry. But starting in March 2016, the new SAT will require that students have studied Algebra 2 or its equivalent. The ACT will put more emphasis on geometry because previously, most of the math questions were arithmetic and algebra.
The old SAT had a math section that contained a mix of easy and hard questions, with some moderately difficult questions thrown in. The new test is adding more advanced math topics.
This means that the average student will struggle with more questions than he or she did on the old test. If you’re not comfortable with topics like logarithms and coordinate geometry, you should study before taking the new test.
8. Reasoning and Critical Thinking Skills are Paramount
The new SAT and ACT tests are different than those of the past. Both are now more focused on reasoning and critical thinking skills. The SAT, for example, will no longer test you on vocabulary words you’ve never heard before.
The SAT has long been a test of reasoning and critical thinking skills, but the Common Core, which emphasizes reasoning and analysis over memorization, has pushed the ACT in that direction as well.
The new SAT will be aligned with the Common Core while the ACT is implementing a new writing test to assess students’ analytical and reasoning skills. The days of knowing how to diagram a sentence or calculate the value of X in an equation are drawing to a close. Now, it’s all about thinking logically.
To perform well on standardized tests and achieve Bowdoin College SAT scores quality, students need to practice analyzing arguments and making inferences. There’s also an emphasis on data interpretation in the math portion as well, so students will benefit from learning how to make decisions based on information presented graphically.
9. Fewer Sections on the New Test But With Shorter Time Given
The new tests have fewer sections, but the sections are given a shorter time than the old test. This means students will have to pace themselves better in these sections. They’ll need to work more quickly and efficiently, but still be careful not to make careless mistakes.
The SAT has been shortened to three hours, with an optional 50 minutes for an essay. It is broken down into a reading section, writing section, and math section.
The maximum score a student can achieve is now 1600, not 2400, as was possible on past exams. Two sections – critical reading and writing – have been merged into one evidence-based reading and writing section that awards a maximum of 800 points.
The old SAT was 3 hours and 45 minutes long and consisted of 10 sections: two 25-minute essays, one 20-minute essay, three Math sections that were 25 or 20 minutes each, and three Reading/Writing sections that were 25 or 20 minutes each, and one 30-minute multiple-choice Writing section.
Meanwhile, the new SAT is 3 hours long and has only 4 sections: one 50-minute essay, one 65-minute Math section, one 25-minute Reading section, and one 35-minute writing section. The new SAT has fewer sections than the old SAT and less time allotted for each section.
10. Reading Passages Include Complex Structure and Vocabulary
Reading comprehension passages are now longer and contain more difficult vocabulary words. This is meant to encourage students to keep up with the reading material and expand their vocabulary.
The new reading comprehension passages are 5% longer than in previous years, with an increase of approximately 500 words in each passage. The average reading level has also been raised slightly since the 2014-2015 year, according to the ACT.
As a student, you may be given reading comprehension passages as part of your daily assignments. Reading difficulties can cause students to get lower grades and struggle with their comprehension ability.
Reading comprehension tests are designed to test the general reading abilities of students. This is important because these tests measure how well you can comprehend written material.
11. Multiple-choice Questions Have 4 Possible Answers
Another significant change that is being made is that there will be four answer choices per question on the exam.
The SAT has always been synonymous with five answer choices per question, but starting this spring, students will face a new test with only four answer choices. The idea is to make the exam more predictable and less likely to be influenced by guesswork. But in the process, it may become a little more like the ACT than we think.
The College Board has stated that this change was made to eliminate wrong answer choices that were just too easy to spot as incorrect. In other words, it was not a good use of time for students to have to choose between answer choices that were obviously wrong.
Many are hoping that the new SAT will allow them to finish the exam more quickly by eliminating those blatantly wrong answers.
The Bottom Line
The SAT and ACT scores are now required for all students applying to US colleges through the Common Application. Test makers behind the SAT and ACT exams want to make them a better fit for today’s students and the ever-changing world in which we live in.
To succeed on these exams, you’ll need to familiarize yourself with the test format and content, practice regularly, and build a strong vocabulary and study strategies. If you are taking either of these standardized tests soon, these guidelines will hopefully help you improve your Bowdoin SAT College Scores.