Admin | Feb 25, 2016

7 Things you should Know about the New SAT

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Spring means SAT time and as students prepare for the tests on March 5th, May 7th or June 4th, they need to know exactly how to study. The SAT has undergone a few changes that should make it more accessible for students, but this can also affect the way the test is taken. Here are some of the most important things you should know before taking your SAT.

Optional Essay

The essay is now an optional, rather than a compulsory part of the new SAT. It tests your reading, writing and analysis abilities. Students who opt to write the essay will be given an additional 50 minutes. The exam is three hours without the essay, and 3 hours 50 minutes with the essay option.

Easier Vocabulary

In keeping with the Common Core standards, the SAT will feature more widely-used vocabulary that students are more likely to have encountered in their classrooms and readings.

Focus on Evidence

Every answer you give must be supported by evidence from the text. State your answer and then quote from the reading to show how you reached your opinion.

No Penalty for Wrong Answers

The new SAT will not feature a penalty for incorrect answers, so take a guess at every question. Scores range from 400 to 1600 as opposed to the 600-2400 of the old SAT.

Online or Hands-on

You can choose to take the test online or write it on paper. This is helpful for students who type faster and more accurately than they write. Illegible writing can have a negative effect on test scores.

Math Questions

Problem Solving & Data Analysis, the Heart of Algebra and Passport to Advanced Math will be the topics from which math questions are drawn. These sections will be based on Common Core math.


While calculators will still be allowed during certain portions of the test, they will not be allowed during the whole exam. Practice doing as much as you can without your calculator.


The new SAT will focus on data interpretation, algebraic and general problem solving. There will be less of a focus on geometry. Graphs will play a role, so make sure you practice using them.

Preparing for the SATs can be a daunting task. Luckily Tutor Doctor has tutors who are experts in this field and can help to find the missing building blocks in your knowledge and help you with practice tests. With an in-home tutor, you get the one-on-one help you need to get into the college of your dreams.