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SAT Harder or Easier Today Than In Your Day?

ThereseRThereseR Registered User Posts: 419 Member
edited December 2012 in Parents Forum
In your opinion, do you think that the SAT is easier or harder than it was when you were in high school?
Post edited by ThereseR on

Replies to: SAT Harder or Easier Today Than In Your Day?

  • Erin's DadErin's Dad Super Moderator Posts: 34,402 Super Moderator
    It's easier. You can see that in the recentered scores. SAT I Individual Score Equivalents | Research and Development
  • bovertinebovertine Registered User Posts: 3,303 Senior Member
    I can't really remember the difficulty of the problems when I took it. I've tutored it a bit and it seems easier than I remember but that could be because I've earned a couple degrees in the interim.

    What I do know is that we couldn't use a calculator, or at least I didn't, so for me that likely meant more stupid mistakes. We also used to have antonyms or analogies or something like that, which I always find tricky. They don't have those now.

    So I suppose it depends on what you find difficult.

    Plus, like all parents, I had to take the test while walking uphill in the snow. :)
  • NJresNJres Registered User Posts: 5,900 Senior Member
    We didn't study, so it must have been easier back then. We only took it once, so that was easier too. It didn't determine the rest of our life - at least we didn't realize it - so it wasn't nearly as stressful.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 63,546 Senior Member
    The recentering in the 1990s means that the same performance results in a higher score now than it did before.

    What was then called the Verbal (now Critical Reading) section was mostly a vocabulary test, with a few "read the passage" questions.

    There was no Writing section, so that total scores were given out of 1600. There was a Test of Standard Written English attached to the SAT. It was a short multiple choice test on English grammar. It was similar to the Achievement Test (what SAT Subject Tests were called then) in English language (this test no longer exists, having been replaced by what is now the SAT Reasoning Writing test).

    Then, as now, the Math section covered just algebra and geometry.
  • WindCloudUltraWindCloudUltra Registered User Posts: 1,761 Senior Member
    @ucbalumnus: A believe the updated SAT post-2005 includes trig and higher-level algebra? Someone correct me if I'm wrong here...
  • CollCounsCollCouns Registered User Posts: 40 Junior Member
    There are no analogy sections on SAT exams any more, and those were some of the most difficult for students without strong verbal skills, or who didn't have practice or experience on tests. Removing analogies was one way of making the tests easier. It's curious that they still appear on SSATs.

    I think the test must be longer, with the addition of the writing section, but am not sure that wasn't adjusted.
  • xiggixiggi Registered User Posts: 25,432 Senior Member
    Some parts are easier; some parts are harder. For some students, the analogies were very easy. For others, they were mightmares. The same for QC in the math section. It is very hard to judge how easier or more difficult the critical reading has become. It all goes to the balance of the scores and the "curves" used.

    The test is still designed to yield an average of 500.
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 63,546 Senior Member
    Re: #6

    More advanced high school math is (and was) covered by the SAT Subject (formerly Achievement) Math Level 2 test.
  • MaineLonghornMaineLonghorn Super Moderator Posts: 31,754 Super Moderator
    I loved the analogies!
  • ucbalumnusucbalumnus Registered User Posts: 63,546 Senior Member
    Because the old SAT Verbal was mainly a vocabulary test*, there were prep books that consisted exclusively of lists of words found on the SAT. High school English teachers also had weekly vocabulary words for students to learn and be tested on.

    *All of the analogies and the like were pretty easy if you knew what enough of the words meant, but hard if you did not.
  • WindCloudUltraWindCloudUltra Registered User Posts: 1,761 Senior Member
    @ucbalumnus: No, I'm aware of that, but I'm wondering if there was an increase in content area coverage in the math section of the regular SATs at some point in the past few years. I'm not talking about the SATIIs.
  • xiggixiggi Registered User Posts: 25,432 Senior Member

    In 2005, changes to the SAT included adding a few Algebra II questions. There is no trig on the SAT, although students who have mastered it could solve a few questions with trig shortcuts.
  • bovertinebovertine Registered User Posts: 3,303 Senior Member
    The current CR is also a. Vocabulary test with reading comprehension. Mabe differs in the number of each or difficulty but I'd need to see an old test to know if it was easier or more difficult.. IMO fill in the blanks is the easiest vocabulary testing method. Most of the kids I tutored found it.easier than analogies. YMMV of course
  • lvvcsflvvcsf Registered User Posts: 1,895 Senior Member
    I find it interesting that the top math scores would have actually been higher before recentering. D scored a 1480 with a 790 V/R and a 690 Math before recentering it would have been a 1420, 720V/700M. Interesting.
  • MarianMarian Registered User Posts: 12,548 Senior Member
    I think it's much harder because it's so much longer than the version we took. It's a challenge to the kids' mental stamina.
This discussion has been closed.