Millions of high school students worldwide aspire to kick off their higher education journey with top universities and colleges of the U.S. and the U.K. So, how does one get admission into Harvard, Stanford or Oxford? A straightforward answer to the question would be to crack the Scholastic Assessment Test. However, the competitive exam, commonly known as SAT, has recently undergone several crucial changes, some of which were taken during the COVID-19 pandemic.
In this blog, we’ll be penning the list of significant updates around SAT 2021-22 that candidates planning to get admission into U.S. colleges should take note of. But before we do that, it’s essential to outline of SAT paper.
Diving deep into SAT
SAT is a competitive exam taken by nearly 3 million students every year. The College Board conducts the 95-year old exam at almost 7000 centers across more than 170 countries worldwide.
The pen and paper exam tests abilities — reading comprehension, computational ability, and clarity of expression — important in knowing if the candidate is capable of securing a seat in top universities or not.
SAT scores are accepted by universities in the U.K., Australia, or Canada. Conducted seven times a year, the exam offers several chances to students planning to improve their SAT scores to get admission into the college of their dreams.
Now Coming On To Latest SAT Updates
1. SAT Subject Tests Are Discontinued
In January 2021, the College Board had announced the elimination of SAT Subject Tests. The elimination of SAT Subject Tests from SAT won’t impact the overall markup, as the portion was always optional.
The College Board decided to remove the Subject Tests to encourage more students to take the exam amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, the board wants to increase the popularity of the exam.
2. SAT Optional Essay Discontinued
College Board has also discontinued the optional Essay section from the SAT exam alongside eliminating the SAT Subject Tests in January 2021. The exam conducting organization is conducting all the SAT exams post-June 2021 without SAT Subject Tests and Optional Essay section for international students. For U.S. candidates, the exam conducting body had eliminated the portion from administrations after January 2021.
The College Board states that Subject Tests no longer offer the same value as they once did, as A.P. exams are now more widely available and cover a greater range of subjects.
3. No Negative Marking
College Board has done away with the negative marking scheme from the SAT paper. This means that candidates will get 0 marks for every wrong answer or unattempted question, while marks are awarded for every correct one. Previously, 1/4 marks were deducted from the overall score per incorrect answer.
4. Fewer Number of Options
College Board also reduced the number of answer choices from five to four starting from the 2016 administration. The step to decrease the number of answer choices lowers the confusion in students’ minds attempting the competitive exam.
5. Fully-Digital SAT in the Works?
College Board has also recently suggested that the board is in the process of conducting the SAT exam online. However, not much information regarding SAT moving online is available right now.
6. 2021–22 SAT Dates
College Board has released the dates for the administration of the SAT exam for the 2021–22 session. Here are the upcoming dates for taking the paper:
- October 2, 2021
- November 6, 2021 (the U.S. only)
- December 4, 2021
- March 12, 2022
- May 7, 2022
- June 4, 2022 (the U.S. only)
7. Testing different sets of capabilities
SAT now tests knowledge, skills, and understandings – the three crucial aspects to check college and career readiness according to research, College Board said. Previously, the exam checked students’ college readiness by testing their general reasoning skills and vocabulary.
8. Change in Score Reporting
Candidates are now awarded marks in the range of 400 to 1600. 200 to 800 marks are awarded for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, while 200 to 800 marks are provided against questions in two Mathematics sections. Previously, the scoring scale ranged from 600 to 2400.
9. SAT Fees for 2021-22
The SAT fee for tests conducted in the ongoing season is $55. However, candidates will have to pay a $25 fee for changing the test center. A late fee of $30 is only levied for registering after the regular deadline.
10. SATs to Become More Flexible
The College Board has said that with its consulting with its K-12 and higher education members to formulate a more streamlined SAT, most probably in a digitized format as well. “The pandemic has highlighted the importance of being innovative and adaptive to what lies ahead,” the College Board said, adding that it is committed to making the SAT a more flexible tool. The board is making substantial investments to do so.
If you have completely read the blog, you are now familiar with all the latest updates about the SAT. The College Board, however, is planning to bring a slew of other changes to make the exam more flexible and simpler. So, candidates, especially those in 10th and 11th standards, are advised to check the latest SAT updates to keep up with the upcoming changes. Till then, ciao!
Frequently Asked Questions SAT 2021 (FAQs)
Q1: Can I Take Optional Essay in SAT exam?
Answer: No, College Board has discontinued the Optional Essay from SAT exam, meaning which candidates won’t be able to apply and attempt the additional section.
Q2: Can I Take Subject Tests in SAT exam?
Answer: Just like the Essay section, College Board has also eliminated the Subject Tests sections from the exam to make it more flexible.
Q3: How many times SAT is conducted in a year?
Answer: College Board conducts the SAT exam seven times a year. Candidates can attempt as many as many times as they want. However, international students can attempt five of the seven attempts, as two are limited for U.S. candidates.
Q4: What is the age limit for SATs?
Answer: College Board hasn’t set an age limit for SAT exam. However, most of the candidates attempting the exam are aged between 17 to 19 years.
Q5: How to strategically prepare for SATs?
Answer: Candidates should attempt to practice papers published by the College Board before taking the exam. Here’s a list of other strategies that candidates can follow to score more than 1200 in SAT.
Have more doubts related to SATs? Read All you need to know about the SAT 2021 Exam.