College Board Readies New SAT Test

April 13, 2004

In less than a year, the company is rolling out an updated version of its widely used SAT test. The update will reflect differences in education since the company last modified the test in 1994, and will include a newly developed section to measure writing skills.

This writing section will involve a series of multiple-choice questions about grammar and language usage, as well as a short essay that has made many of the colleges profiled at Hobson’s College View ( anxious in anticipation. They expect the essay to offer an important new way to evaluate applicants’ likelihood to succeed in college. Previously, many were relying on an SAT score from the secondary exam “SAT II: Writing” which many students wouldn’t take and which will no longer be offered by The College Board (

Other changes to the test include smaller modifications to the Vocabulary and Mathematics sections. The Vocabulary section is being renamed Critical Reading and is dropping its analogies question in favor of multiple-choice questions about short reading passages. Likewise, the mathematics section is losing its quantitative comparisons and is expanding its coverage to include material from third year college prep mathematics (Algebra II). Students may expect that the score they receive on each of these updated sections will be equivalent to the SAT score they would have received on the previous format. Of course, they can do even better with sufficient preparation.

Companies like Aspen Prep (, who offers online SAT prep, have already begun readying students to maximize their SAT score on the new exam. Using material made available by the College Board and other sources, they have arranged sample SAT test questions as well as systems to help them beat the test. Students who take advantage of SAT prep programs gain skills that help them not only score higher on the test, but also learn important skills applicable to the rest of their studies.

More information on the new SAT 2005 and its implications for college admissions is available at The College Board website.