Survey Says: Student Reactions to the New SAT

Survey about the new SAT

Flickr user Benjamin Chun

A few months ago, proctors administered the new SAT format for the first time, and there’s plenty of talk about what students thought of the changes.

The College Board hosted an online survey for the first group of students that took their refreshed test. In total, the College Board asked 8,089 students several questions about their experiences with the new SAT format. Thus, here are some interesting statistics the College Board found:

  • 71% of students said the test reflected what they’re learning in school.
  • By a 6 to 1 margin, students also said they preferred the format of the new SAT over the previous version.
  • 75% of students said the Reading Test was the same as or easier than they expected.
  • 80% of students said the vocabulary on the test would be useful to them later in life, compared with 55% in March 2015 (with the old test).
  • 59% of students also said the Math section tests the skills and knowledge needed for success in college and career.

The survey even highlighted a few testimonials, and fun facts like what the students ate before taking the test, or what songs they listened to while studying.

Kaplan did a survey of their own, asking 500 students for their thoughts on the new SAT. The test prep company found some differing results from the College Board. Take a look for yourself.

  • 59% said the questions were straightforward and easy to follow.
  • 58% said they found the length of the sections tiring.
  • 85% of students also opted to complete the now optional essay.
  • When asked if the SAT was more or less difficult than expected:
    • 48% said the test was about what they expected
    • 30% felt the test was more difficult
    • 22% felt the test was less difficult
  • 41% found the Math section more difficult than expected
  • 56% said they felt comfortable doing math without a calculator (which is now restricted on certain sections)
  • When asked if the SAT reflected what they learned in school:
    • 16% responded “Very much so,” when asked if the SAT reflected what they’d learned in school
    • 56% responded “Somewhat.”
    • 23% percent responded “Not too much”
    • 5% responded “Not at all.”

The Princeton Review teamed up with Seventeen Magazine to conduct a survey as well. Here are some of their findings:

  • 70% felt that Math Without a Calculator was the hardest section.
  • 50% of students thought the new exam was easier than the previous one
  • 30% were surprised at how easy the Reading section was
  • 55% of students compared the test to be as difficult as naming all 50 states

It’s important to note that companies asked students who took the very first test (March 5, 2016) for all three of these surveys.

Have you taken the new SAT yet? If you’ve received your ACT/SAT scores, plug them into College Raptor’s match tool to see how they affect your admission chances to the colleges you’re interested in!

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