The College Board just released a sample of its revised PSAT, or the Preliminary SAT/ National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which is taken by some 3.5 million high school students each year. The PSAT does not count for college admissions, but is important for students hoping to win a National Merit Scholarship. And because the PSAT and the SAT use the same style of questions, this gives us a chance to see what the new SAT —which is being unveiled in 2016 —will look like. This post does just that. It was written by James S. Murphy, who has been prepping students for the SAT for almost two decades. He lives in Boston and is a tutoring manager for The Princeton Review. The views represented here are his own.
大学委员会最近发布了一个关于修改后的国家优秀学生奖学金资格考试标准，该考试又叫PSAT，每年都会有350万高中生参加。PSAT不能作为大学录取的依据，但对于想拿到国家级奖学金的学生而言非常重要。由于PSAT和SAT考试的题型相同，所以该标准的提出可以让我们预测2016年施行的新SAT考试会是什么样子。James S. Murphy写了一篇帖子，他对SAT考试的教学研究经验已经有20年了。以下是他的观点：
By James S. Murphy
Like a hip new restaurant using a soft opening, the College Board has quietly released a sample PSAT on its website to no fanfare or press at all. In most years, this would be a non-event. The PSAT score, after all, plays no role in college admissions. It only matters for the less than 0.5% of test takers who qualify for the National Merit and a few other scholarships.
This year, however, is different. It was a little over a year ago that College Board announced it was redesigning the SAT, and in a little less than a year the new SAT will be administered for the first time. This sample PSAT is important because it gives us a chance to see what the new SAT might look like, given that the two tests are related in content.
There’s even better news on the reading front. The reading section just got easier, as long as you don’t pass out. On the new PSAT, the “Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Score” will be based on a one-hour long reading comprehension section and a 35-minute grammar section. With the elimination of sentence completions, there is no vocabulary of note on this PSAT. I repeat: none. The College Board is being true to its word, testing Tier 2 words rather than Tier 3 words, so goodbye “treacly,” hello “post.”
As many commentators have noted, the changes to the SAT are likely motivated in part by the ACT
moving past the SAT in the number of students who take it each year. We now know that many of those changes aim to turn the SAT into something resembling a copy of the ACT. The new PSAT mimics the format of the ACT’s English test to a startling degree, and many of the new math concepts it tests historically appeared only on the ACT. Like the ACT, the new PSAT does not penalize wrong answers. Like the ACT, the new test has four answer choices. There is one big difference between the two tests, however. The new PSAT has no science section, and it is the science section that many students struggle with on the ACT. The College Board has incorporated graphs into the PSAT, but they are split between the math and the reading and make many fewer demands on time and concentration than do the ACT’s graphs.
The new SAT might be a good thing. Yes, I did shudder writing that. Up to now, I’ve been telling people to think about taking the old SAT or the ACT, since we don’t know that much about the new SAT. I stand by that position, for now. Based on the sample PSAT —for which the College Board did not release a scoring grid – the new SAT could turn out to be easier than both the ACT and the current SAT. The math might have a few more advanced concepts on the new test, but with fewer concepts tested overall than the current SAT or the ACT and an increased number of opportunities to use the single most powerful standardized testing technique—plugging in—the math might be ultimately be easier for many test takers.