HOUSTON, March 5 (Xinhua) -- Creators of the U.S. college entrance examination SAT, short for Scholastic Assessment Test, announced Wednesday an overhaul of the test, eliminating mandatory essays, ending penalty for guessing wrong and cutting obscure vocabulary words.
The College Board which produces the SAT made the announcement in a press release on its official website Wednesday, a move that could affect millions of high school students across the country and over the world as an increasing number of international students, especially Chinese students, are seeking to study abroad.
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 are only added for correct answers. 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 U.S. colleges require an SAT or ACT exam score for admission. ACT, abbreviation of American College Testing, is another standardized college readiness test. The required portion of the ACT is divided into four multiple choice subject tests: English, mathematics, reading, and science reasoning. Writing is optional.