Bad Score? Is new SAT fair for students?

Time to sharpen those no. 2 pencils, but this time, the college entrance exam known as the SAT is going to look a whole lot different. Is the new test fair to students, or putting them at risk of getting a "Bad Score?" 7’s Lynn Martinez has tonight’s special assignment report.

Luiza Metzger Gandra is studying some mind-bending equations. The high school junior will be one of the first students to take the new SAT. It’s the first time the college entry exam has been changed in more than 10 years.

Luiza Metzger Gandra, student: "I feel nervous, and when I do tests, I normally blank."

When Rafael Roca heard about the redesigned SAT, he also felt the stress.

Rafael Roca: "This is how you get into college. This is a big part of it."

Rafael and Luiza are both getting ready for the test with the help of Prepworks, a South Florida-based tutoring company.

Tracy Laflamme Ortega, president and CEO of Prepworks: "There have been changes in everything from content, design, structure, question items. That can often cause some anxiety."

The College Board decided to roll out the new SAT this month, putting teens across the country on edge.

The changes include a much tougher math section, heavy on algebra. But on the bright side, students won’t have to define words they’ve never heard before.

And unlike the old SAT, students will no longer be penalized for guessing.

Luiza Metzger Gandra: "I think not being penalized is a good idea ’cause you get a better chance of getting a higher grade."

So why all of these changes now?

Tracy Laflamme Ortega: "College Board would most likely tell you this redesigned test is more reflective of true college and career readiness for students."

But many families are anxious with so much riding on a test so few people have seen.

Mandee Heller Adler, International College Counselors: "They didn’t let any adults in the room, so none of us, the professionals, can tell you what it looks like."

Rafael decided to take another college admissions test, called the ACT, instead of the new SAT.

Rafael Roca: "Take a practice for both of them, figure out which one works for you and dive into that one."

A lot of experts agree, saying students should look at their options.

Mandee Heller Adler: "I’ve been encouraging students to take the ACT over the SAT."

And while the verdict is still out on the new format, there’s one thing everyone can agree on.

Tracy Laflamme Ortega: "Whether you’re considering the SAT or ACT, it’s about early preparation and gaining knowledge early."

So students can avoid getting a bad score. Lynn Martinez, 7News.

Another big change: The essay is now optional. Below is more information about tutoring services or where to take a practice test online.  

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Prepworks:
Tel: (305) 361-2400
http://www.myprepworks.com
https://myprepworks.com/test-preparation/redesigned-sat/

International College Counselors:
www.internationalcollegecounselors.com

Khan Academy:
https://www.khanacademy.org/test-prep/new-sat