The New SAT

The new SAT was first administered in March 2016. The New SAT returns to the old SAT scoring between 400 - 1600. There is no wrong-answer penalty, and the number of answer choices has been reduced from 5 to 4. This means that your chances of choosing the right answer have increased from 20% to 25%.

The new SAT has two sections with an optional essay section. The two sections are Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing.

The test takes 3 hours without the essay, and 3 hours and 50 minutes with the essay.

The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section contains the following subsections:

Reading - 52 questions in 65 minutes
Writing and Language - 45 questions in 35 minutes

The Math Section contains the following two subsections:

Math - 20 questions in 25 minutes without calculator
Math - 38 questions in 55 minutes with calculator

Essay (Optional) - 50 minutes

The good news is that the penalty for wrong answers has been eliminated, so (educated) guess away!

Let’s look at the sections in more detail.

Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Section

The Reading Test consists of five passages, including some readings from classic texts, and science. Regarding the latter, two of the five passages will cover scientific topics with charts and figures, emulating the ACT Science section.

Each of the five passages will be somewhat lengthy as the short reading passages have been eliminated.

The reading passages are more complex than they used to be, and a new type of question asks you to find appropriate evidence within the passage to support your answer to previous questions.

SAT reading questions are still in chronological order to the passage, making it easier than in the ACT to find the corresponding text passages.

The Writing and Language Test no longer includes sentence completion, choosing the best word to complete a sentence. Rather, vocabulary questions will be asked in the context of supplied reading passages. In this way, SAT will be replacing its emphasis on sheer breadth of vocabulary to depth of vocabulary in context. Grammar similarly will be assessed in the context of reading.

The Math Section

The Math Section consists of two tests, one without a calculator and one with a calculator. As has always been the case with the SAT, there is still a heavy emphasis on algebra. New data analysis questions have been added, making up approximately one-third of the test, which include ratios, percentages and understanding graphs and charts.
There are only 6 questions on geometry and trigonometry.

The Math section includes 13 grid-in questions, in which the student bubbles in her own answer without the convenience of multiple choice.

The Essay

The essay is optional, but you should sit for it if any of your top-choice colleges either requires it or recommends it (”recommends” is code language for “do it.”)

You have 50 minutes for the essay section in which you are asked to analyze an argumentative essay. You are graded on the essay on three skills — reading, analysis and writing itself.

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