1560 is the new 2300: Is the New SAT Much Too Easy?

The College Board has recently released a SAT Score Convertor that converts between old SAT and new SAT scores (as well as the ACT).

The calculator itself is quite clunky. I’ve managed to reverse engineer it into easy-to-read concordance tables:

These tables reveal something pretty startling: An old SAT score of 2300, long considered a good qualifying threshold score for Ivy League and other top-20 schools, is equivalent to a 1560 out of 1600 on the new SAT.

To put this in perspective, you can’t get more than an average of 4 questions wrong on the entire test (154 questions) if your goal is a 1560+.

And a 1500/1600 on the new exam is only a 2170/2400 on the old exam. Ouch. What you think is an amazing score may just be a good one.

This score inflation is due to a few factors:

  • No penalty for guessing on the new SAT
  • Only four answer choices instead of five on the new SAT
  • The test overall is easier in terms of subject matter and question types

Don’t get me wrong—the new SAT is not a walk in the park. You’ll definitely encounter some very tough and tricky questions. The problem is that you’ll need to get those tough questions right to stay competitive. Silly mistakes on the easier questions will cost you more than ever before.

It will be interesting to see how this shakes up the college admissions landscape in the coming year.

By the way, if you took the PSAT, there is clear evidence of inflation there as well. See my PSAT National Merit Cutoff Predictions here.

Has the SAT gotten so easy that the margin of error at the top is now too thin? Or should we welcome the new changes simply because the test is now easier to get through?

 
 
 

One thought on “1560 is the new 2300: Is the New SAT Much Too Easy?

  1. Based on several years of tutoring the math section of the SATs (and achieving an 800 myself), I’m strongly convinced that the current SATs (at least the math portion) are significantly easier. The best way to describe the differences I think is, “After reading a problem, you always know exactly what to do and how to get an answer.” On the old edition, there were usually a few original questions that even experienced students needed to actually figure out how to approach and strategically deduce the solution. I feel that the new test is considerably more “study-able” than the previous one. I believe the old test actually separated the students into exceptional (characterized by those who can solve the logic problems that they were likely never exposed to), strong, good, average, and below average. The new SATs will not allow exceptional to shine and blur the gap between good and average.

    Also, I’m quite convinced that the new SATs, by nature of being more study-able, will close the math gap between boys and girls.

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