Blog‎ > ‎

Q: How is the new SAT different from the old SAT?

posted Jan 20, 2016, 12:02 PM by Nancy Bell
A:  There are a lot of changes, and the new SAT actually looks more like an ACT now.  There are still three core sections (Reading, Math, and Writing/Language), although the Essay is now optional.  The Reading and Writing/Language sections are combined into one score so that students receive two section scores that range from 200 to 800--Reading/Writing/Language and Math  

The new SAT is aligned with high school course material, with an emphasis on reading comprehension, analysis, and critical thinking skills.  The old obscure vocabulary in analogies or fill-in the blanks is gone (hooray!).  Testing will use contextually-based words and phrases within passages (and not just sentences) that often appear in high school courses and beyond.  

The old SAT also included Math topics through Algebra 2, but the new SAT also includes trigonometry.  There is even a section of math on which the student cannot use a calculator (so brush up on your basic math facts and skills!)

The new SAT has a sharper and more consistent focus on the areas of history/social studies and science that is found in all three areas of the SAT.  The student is required to apply knowledge and skills from history and science classes to problems in reading, writing, and math such as identifying a researcher's conclusion or interpreting a graph within a reading passage.  

Lastly, the new SAT Reading Test includes a passage from either a U.S. founding document or a text in the Great Global Conversation and the student is asked questions about the author’s main points, word choice, persuasive techniques, etc.  Everything he/she needs to know to answer the questions can be found in the passage or supplementary material.

Maybe best of all, is that there is no longer a penalty for wrong answers so students should eliminate answers they know are wrong and take a guess.  With only 4 multiple-choice answers rather than 5, each eliminated answer increases your chances even more!