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The New SAT Exam: Six Major Changes

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By John Dodge

CHICAGO (CBS) — The administrators of the SAT on Wednesday announced a major makeover to the college entrance exam, tossing out things like esoteric vocabulary words and firing a broadside against the lucrative private test preparation industry.

In addition to the big changes on the actual test, the College Board said it will be partnering with the Khan Academy to create free test-preparation courses.

Millions of high school students over the years have been taking expensive private courses to prepare for the exam.

“For too long, there’s been a well-known imbalance between students who could afford test-prep courses and those who couldn’t,” said Sal Khan, founder and executive director of Khan Academy.

The Board will also provide targeted college application support to college-ready, low-income students.

Here are six major changes to the exam:

1) The scoring scale will return to 1,600 and the test will have three sections, reading/writing, math and the essay.

2) On the vocabulary section, the SAT will focus on words that students will use in college and beyond, not words that they may have never heard or use again.

3) Students will be asked to support answers with evidence, including questions that require them to cite a specific part of a passage to support their answer choice.

4) The essay portion of the writing section will no longer be required.

5) The math section will focus on fewer topics and focus on problem solving, data analysis and algebra.

6) There will no longer be a penalty for wrong answers. Students will be given points for correct answers and be told to select the best answer to every question.

The new exam will first be administered in the spring of 2016.

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