After the Jan. 23 administration of the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), students will take a redesigned test. Here are the basic changes:
- Sections: The old SAT has three sections: Critical Reading, Mathematics and Writing (including an essay). The new SAT has two mandatory sections: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and Mathematics; there is also an optional Essay with a separate score.
- Scoring: The minimum score on the old test was 200 points with a maximum of 800 points for each test, for a total of 2400 possible on the three sections. Because the new SAT has just two sections, with scores between 200 and 800 each, the total possible score will be 1600. There will be subscores and cross-test scores available, as well as a score for the optional Essay portion. On the old SAT there was a 1/4 point penalty for guessing (wrong answers); there is no penalty for wrong answers on the new test.
- Time: The old SAT was 3 hours, 45 minutes. The new test will be 3 hours with an additional 50 minutes for students who choose to take the now-optional writing test. Yes, you SHOULD take the Writing portion, too.
The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing portion will have a 65-minute Reading section and a 35-minute Writing and Language section–a total of 96 questions during the 100 minutes. Reading portions will be drawn from literature, informational, historical and scientific texts, to include graphics.
The Math portion will have a 25-minute no-calculator section and a 55-minute calculator section–a total of 58 questions during the total 70 minutes.
The optional Essay is different on the new SAT. For the old SAT the student built an argument on an issue. For the new SAT essay the test-taker will analyze how a writer builds an argument in a reading selection.
If you have prepped for the old SAT and will be taking the new test starting in March 2016, you will want to take a study course, purchase an SAT prep book through collegeboard.org and/or do the practice tests prepared by Kahn Academy–accessed through the collegeboard.org website.
The new test is still challenging–so you’ll want to be prepared.