Essay added to SAT, but don't worry just yet, say admissions officers
Starting next spring, students will have to do more than shade in the dots on the SAT. The college-entrance exam is undergoing several changes. The biggest, and most likely to...
Seattle Times staff reporter
Starting next spring, students will have to do more than shade in the dots on the SAT. The college-entrance exam is undergoing several changes. The biggest, and most likely to make most students' fret: the addition of a timed essay .
Students will get 25 minutes to develop a point of view on an essay prompt and write a rough-draft essay that will count for one-third of their writing score. The essay is meant to reinforce the importance of writing skills and help colleges make better admission and placement decisions.
At Seattle University, Michael McKeon, dean of admissions, said his staff needs time to figure out how the essays fit into their selection process. "We'll look at the results and study it for a few years to see how it correlates with Seattle University," he said. "We just want to understand it first."
Other major changes include:
The addition of third-year college-preparatory math , or Algebra II, which includes exponential growth, absolute value and functional notation. Quantitative comparison questions were eliminated.
Elimination of verbal analogies where you compare words like heat and sweat and ice and cold. Instead, the verbal section, which has been renamed Critical Reading, will include shorter reading passages along with the standard long reading passages.
The changes add an extra 45 minutes to the exam, for a total of three hours, 45 minutes.
The new test will be administered in March 2005. (Note: The new PSAT, distributed this month, does not include the timed essay.)
So how can students prepare? According to "Up Your Score: The Underground Guide to the SAT" (Workman Publishing, 2004, $10.95), your best bet is to get hold of some practice tests. Sample essay prompts are available at www.collegeboard.com as well as Kaplan's Web site, www.kaptest.com, where you can download a free new practice SAT. In addition, the College Board will send high schools sample essay prompts as part of the new PSAT registration process.
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