Our awesome research team has been closely monitoring the changes to make sure counselors, parents, and students get the inside scoop. The content on the New SAT will be very similar to that which is on the ACT.  The major difference is in how the concepts are tested and the steps students will have to take to solve problems correctly. A student’s ability to process information quickly will be key.

1. “SAT Words” are gone. Back in my day (really old), there were Analogies: (man: woman as fish: ______).  Currently the SAT has Sentence Completions (Dogs are _________ because they can learn tricks).  There will be no more sentence completions. You may be more familiar with some of the vocabulary tested, but you will need to know multiple definitions of those words. Plus the New SAT vocabulary is only tested in the context of a long reading passage.

2. Reading, Writing, Arithmetic…and Endurance! While the overall time per question is about the same, certain sections of the test will require a speedier pace. There will be fewer sections on the new test, but they will be longer in time than the current test.

  • Section 1: 65 minutes of Reading
  • Section 2: 35 minutes of Writing & Language
  • Section 3: 25 minutes of No-Calculator Math
  • Section 4: 55 minutes of Yes-Calculator Math
  • Section 5: 50 minutes of (optional) Essay

3. Penalties & Answer Choices – Changes you’ll love. The good news is there will be no penalty for wrong answers, so you won’t have to worry about losing points for guessing incorrectly (just like on the ACT). In addition, there will be only 4 answer choices instead of 5 (just like on the ACT). The bad news is that some questions will require multiple steps to get an answer.

4. Yes, the Essay is Optional (and harder). The current SAT essay is 25 minutes focused on student-opinion on a short prompt/quote, such as “The greatest griefs are those we cause ourselves.” The New SAT essay is 50 minutes. Students are presented with a real, historical speech, such as President Kennedy’s 1962 speech about the space program, and asked to write about how Kennedy builds his argument. The passage provided will be more substantial (600-700 words) and students will need to understand the techniques authors use to write persuasively.

5. Scoring is very different. The Overall Composite SAT Score is going back to a 400-1600 scale (currently 600 – 2400).  There will be two Area Scores: 200-800 Math and 200-800 Verbal however…

  • Three individual test scores: 10-40 (Reading, Writing, Math)
  • Two Cross-Test scores: 10-40 (Science, History/Social Studies)
  • Seven Subscores: 1-15 (Expressions of Ideas, Standard English Corrections, Words in Context, Command of Evidence, Heart of Algebra, Passport to Advanced Math, Problem Solving & Data Analysis)
  • For help deciding which test, the SAT or ACT, is right for you to start with, you can take a SAT or ACT free practice test either in person at a location near you or online. RegisterHERE.

6. Scores Back? You will have a long wait for March.  March test-takers will NOT get their scores back until AFTER the May test date.  March and May test results will be delivered at the same time, about 3-4 weeks after the May SAT.