Kaplan Survey: Most SAT Takers Want Test Sections on Different Days
With college counselors petitioning for students to be given the option of taking the three sections of the three-hour, 45-minute long SAT separately, Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions asked 525 of its SAT students for their opinion on the proposal. Nearly two-thirds of the students — 65 percent — said that given the option, they would have preferred to take the different sections of the test on different days.
While the survey suggests majority opinion favors spreading the SAT over multiple days, that majority is divided about the best remedy — taking the exam in two days or three days. However, given the multi-day option to take the test, 67 percent of SAT takers surveyed agreed that regardless of the number of days, they would want the break time between all test sittings to be less than a week. Just 5 percent said they’d want the break to be a month or more.
“Students care about the SAT and invest a great deal of effort into preparing for and taking it,” says Jon Zeitlin, general manager for SAT and ACT programs for Kaplan Test Prep and Admissions. “They want to be able to give the same level of focus and concentration at the end of the test as they were able to give at the beginning.”
When presented with the option of a longer break with the one-day test sitting, 5 percent of students switched their preference from taking the test over multiple days to taking the entire test on the same day.
“Having the three sections in one big bulk is mentally and physically demanding,” said one November test-taker, while another noted, “Later on, while taking [the SAT], I felt I was not focusing as much as I was in the beginning.”
Despite the SAT’s lengthened time, students generally feel the new content has been a step in the right direction. A fall survey of nearly 900 SAT takers showed that most students — 65 percent — are in favor of the added writing section, with the majority in agreement that the addition makes the SAT a better measure of college readiness. Additionally, most students surveyed said the test correlated at least in part to their high school curriculum. Nearly half — 46 percent — said that most or all of the SAT questions focused on skills and knowledge that they’d learned in high school, while an additional 41 percent agreed that some of the SAT questions did.
Kaplan SAT students were interviewed for both surveys above. In December of 2005, 525 students were interviewed regarding the proposal to split up the SAT. (Margin of error +/-4 percentage points.) In fall of 2005, 876 students were interviewed regarding SAT content. (Margin of error +/-3 percentage points.)
Reports on both surveys are available upon request. Students can also call 1-800-KAPTEST for a schedule of free practice test events held in their area, or download a free practice SAT at www.kaptest.com/newsat.
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