Every spring, high school juniors gear up to take the SAT in hopes of securing a coveted spot at their No. 1 college or university. The SAT is a standardized exam designed to assess a student's readiness to pursue a higher education. The 3-hour-and-45-minute test is offered eight times a year, and it gauges students' abilities in three key areas: critical reading, writing and mathematics. The critical reading section requires test-takers to read passages and complete sentences. The writing section includes a short essay and multiple-choice questions to identify errors and improve grammar usage. The mathematics section requires students to perform arithmetic operations, and to use algebra, geometry, statistics and probability.
First developed in 1926, the SAT has been rewritten and updated over the years, and the newest version of the test is set to be released spring 2016 with some notable changes. While great emphasis is often placed on preparing specifically for the SAT, the College Board, which designs the test, maintains that taking challenging courses, studying, and reading and writing outside the classroom are the best strategies for preparing to do well on the test. Test-makers point to statistics suggesting those who score well on the SAT are more likely to do well in college, too.
Check out the visual below to explore both the current version and the redesigned SAT. The infographic explains the differences between the two and also contains a full list of sources.