The Evanescence of the SAT Word

Just memorize how to read and you’ll be good. Photo: rafal/Getty Images

No more punctilious, no more obstreperous. The new SAT, beginning in March, will no longer include a section to test teenagers’ ability to hold on to a pile of words that they should generally keep out of their writing anyway.

The SAT’s redesign is an attempt to make the test less of a compilation of tricky questions and put more emphasis on the things students are actually learning in school. The revised exam will have only two sections — math and “evidence-based reading and writing” — plus an optional essay. The perfect score will go back to 1600, as it was before the test’s last major overhaul in 2005. People over 17 will just have to let the word adumbrate eat up a little brain space for the rest of their lives.