The New SAT
IN MARCH 2016, THE COLLEGE BOARD will launch its new, redesigned SAT exam. Here are some of the general changes.
FORMAT, TIMING AND EQUIPMENT. The exam will have three sections, including math, evidence-based reading and writing, and the optional essay (though some colleges will require the essay). Exams also will now be available in print and by computer. (Right now they are only on paper.) The exam will take about three hours, plus an additional 50 minutes for the essay. Calculators will now be allowed only on certain portions of the math section.
SCORING. The top score will now be 1600 instead of 2400. The essay will have its own separate score. Under the new guidelines, there will be no point deductions for incorrect answers, encouraging students to give the best answer they have for each question. To provide additional information about student readiness and achievement, the redesigned SAT also will report section scores, test scores, cross-test scores and subscores.
RELEVANT VOCABULARY WORDS. In the past, many have argued that the SAT tested a student’s knowledge of obscure and rarely used words. The new test will focus on “real-life” words in context.
COMMAND OF EVIDENCE. Students will be expected to interpret, synthesize and use evidence from a wide range of sources, including passages of text, tables, charts and graphs to answer questions.
ESSENTIAL MATH. The exam will focus on the math areas shown to contribute most to college readiness and career training: problem solving and data analysis, algebra and more complex equations.
FAMOUS PASSAGES AND SOURCE ANALYSIS. The redesigned SAT will require students to read a passage and then explain how the author built a persuasive argument. Exams will include a passage from one of the U.S. founding documents (e.g., the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence or the Federalist Papers) or the “Great Global Conversation” (e.g., speeches or writings by Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Edmund Burke, Mary Wollstonecraft and others regarding freedom, justice and human dignity).
SCIENCE, HISTORY AND SOCIAL STUDIES ANALYSIS. Students will be expected to apply reading, writing, language and math skills to answer questions in science, history and social studies contexts. In addition, students will have to revise the texts to ensure they’re consistent with the graphics’ data and solve problems based in science and social science contexts.
As part of the more “student-friendly” SAT program, every income-eligible student who takes the SAT will receive four college application fee waivers.
To find out more about the revised SAT, test day tips and policies or to obtain free SAT practice tests and sample questions, visit https://sat.collegeboard.org.