In its first big overhaul in 30 years, the SAT® is changing and will now
be more closely aligned with the ACT. If you plan to take your SAT® test
in March 2016 or later, you will be dealing with the new, improved and
redesigned SAT format. Be sure to study the appropriate materials and
familiarize yourself with the new test so you get the best possible scores
for your college entrance application.
Why Redesign the Test?
The mandate for the new test was to make it more straightforward and transparent
to give students the best possible opportunity to show what they had learned.
To this end, sample tests have been released before the first redesigned
SAT® to help students to prepare.
You can get copies of the sample tests
A number of changes to the format should leave students with a clearer
idea of what is required of them. Some of the changes are:
- There will be no penalty for wrong answers. This gives students greater
encouragement to give it their best shot without fear of incurring a penalty.
- There will only be 4 answer choices for each question rather than 5.
- The essay will no longer be a personal one, but instead students will be
given a passage and then asked to show how the author is persuading the
audience. Students will be able to see the essay question before the test,
but not the passage.
- In the reading section, students will be asked to supply evidence to back
up their claims. This section will contain a question about the text which
students need to support with evidence from the text. If you get the first
question wrong, your evidence is unlikely to be right. You must get the
first question right in order to find the correct evidence to back it up.
- There won’t be any more difficult vocabulary to define, instead students
will have to define words according the context in which they are used
in a passage. This means that the words are easier, but students will
need to know several definitions for each word.
- Graphics and charts will play a bigger role and students will have to extrapolate
information from these graphics, especially when it comes to the reading
section. Students will also have to change sentences so that they are
more closely aligned with information from the graphics.
- Reading questions will now include some historical US documents like the
Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence and writings by historical
figures like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Students are not
expected to know the texts, but it will mean that they are familiar with
the authors and context as it is more in keeping with what they are learning
in other subjects.
- Total score (400–1600) which means that the average score will be
around 1,000 (as opposed to the 1,500 of the old score). A very good score
on the new test will be 1,200 and a very low score will be 840.