WASHINGTON (AP) — Calculate the foreign exchange rate a vacationing American would pay in India. Estimate from a random sample the number of 18- to 34-year olds who voted for a candidate. These are sample questions from the newly redesigned SAT, which aims for more real-world applications and analysis from students.
The College Board released the sample test questions on Wednesday, offering clues to how the revised college entrance exam, taken last year by 1.7 million students, will look when it rolls out in 2016.
One of the biggest changes is that relatively obscure vocabulary words such as “punctilious” and “lachrymose” are unlikely to appear on the test. Test takers will see words more likely to be used in classrooms or in the workplace, like “synthesis.”
Instead of a wide range, the math section will concentrate on areas that “matter most for college and career readiness and success,” the College Board said.
The essay section is becoming optional. And it now will require a student to read a passage and explain how the author constructed an argument instead of offering the student’s own point of view on a specific issue.
Other changes to the SAT, first announced by the College Board last month, include making a computer-based version of the test an option, getting rid of the extra penalty for wrong answers, limiting the use of calculators to select sections and returning to a 1,600-point scale.
Another expectation: Each test will include a passage from the U.S. founding documents, such as the Declaration of Independence, or conversations they’ve inspired, the College Board has said.
To highlight that, one sample question released was adapted from a 1974 speech by Rep. Barbara Jordan, D-Texas, during the impeachment hearings of President Richard Nixon. Test takers must answer questions that best describe Jordan’s stance and the main rhetorical effect of a part of the passage.