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College Board announces SAT overhaul

Washington, March 6 (IANS) Creators of the US college entrance examination SAT have announced an overhaul of the test, eliminating mandatory essays, ending penalty for guessing wrong and cutting obscure vocabulary words.

The College Board which produces SAT, the Scholastic Assessment Test, made the announcement in a press release on its official web site Wednesday, reported Xinhua.

The redesigned SAT, scheduled to go into effect in 2016, would include three sections — reading and writing, math and an essay — and would shift from its current score scale of 2400 back to 1600, with a separate score for the essay. Colleges can choose whether to consider it.

The updated test will take about three hours, with an additional 50 minutes for the essay, and will be administered by print and computer.

Test scoring will also be changed, no longer deducting for an incorrect answer. Points will be added for correct answers only. Instead of arcane SAT words, the vocabulary words on the new exam will be ones commonly used in college courses.

While the scope of the exam has been narrowed in areas such as math and vocabulary, what remains requires more demanding problem-solving. In analyzing reading passages in the exam, students must cite specific passages from extracts of well-known writings to support answers, which is not necessary in the current version.

Most US colleges require an SAT or ACT exam score for admission.

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