For most juniors, they are thinking about their plans for college and that includes standardized testing.
There are two choices of standardized tests for high school students, the SAT and the ACT.
The SAT has recently undergone a transformation, and the newly redesigned test will be implemented for the first time in March of 2016.
The last chance to take the old SAT was Saturday, January 23.
Students of the class of 2017 or later should plan on taking the redesigned SAT.
The new SAT will still have reading, writing, and math sections, and the test has been returned to a top score of 1600 instead of 2400.
Another important change is that there are now four choices instead of five in multiple choice sections, and no longer will students be penalized for wrong answers.
In the reading section of the new SAT, there are predetermined topics: one U.S. or world literature passage, two history/social science passages, and two science passages.
In the old SAT, the topics for the passages were not predetermined.
There will also be more emphasis on defining vocabulary in context, using evidence, making arguments, and using scientific reasoning.
It will be important to study and practice defining difficult words based on context.
There will be two main types of reading questions on the new SAT, the first being evidence support questions where you answer a question that you must support with evidence in the subsequent question.
The second type will be data analysis questions where you have to be able to read and interpret charts and graphs and draw conclusions about them.
In the new SAT, the time frame for the essay has been lengthened from 25 minutes to 50 minutes, although do not expect the essay to be easier due to that.
The math section is now weighted heavier so it is vital that you do well on the math section in order to receive a good overall score.
In studying for the math section, try to hone in on your weak points and focus on studying those until you have mastered those skills.
Try to minimize the use of a calculator in order to save time, and when studying for the math portion, practice doing problems without a calculator because there will now be a math section where the use of a calculator is not allowed.
Multi-step problems, data and graphics interpretation, questions on basic trigonometry and algebra are some types of problems that students will see on the math sections of the SAT.
Universities offer varying scholarships for students based on your GPA and SAT/ACT scores, so it is important to do your best.
The upcoming test dates for the redesigned SAT are March 7 and May.
You can register for the SAT at https://sat.collegeboard.org/home.