–What’s Changing (and what should you do about it)?–
If you’re familiar with the “out of 2400” version of the SAT that was around from 2005-2015, this is all you’ll need to know in order to get a good grasp on the New SAT:
- The test will revert back to the old 1600-point scale. There will be an 800-point Verbal section (with 400 points contributed from both a “reading” section and a “writing+language” section, which is identical to the English section of the ACT), and an 800-point Math section. No more need to explain what your SAT scores mean to the vast majority of the population.
- The test will be shorter. The new test will take only three hours, as opposed to the 3 hour, 45-minute format formerly in place.
- The essay will be optional. Previously, the essay was required – but the New SAT will give students the option to skip it entirely. Also, the essay will no longer affect your numerical score. The previous essay actually “scaled” your score. If you wrote it poorly, your “out of 800” score on the Writing section would be reduced. Now, the essay score is completely isolated and has nothing to do with the “out of 1600” score that you get on the test itself.
- No more “SAT vocabulary words.” The SAT is getting rid of the crazy vocabulary requirements that currently define the test (such as “ribald,” ameliorative,” and “lugubrious”), replacing them with more practical words like “empirical,” “systemic,” and “ambiguous,” and will have students define them within the context of passages. While vocabulary will still be important, it will be emphasized far less than it was on the old version of the test.
- Most questions will now have only four answer choices instead of five.
- The SAT got rid of its “logical reasoning” math concepts, and now focuses more directly on straightforward algebra, arithmetic, and geometry. The old SAT contained a ton of trick wording, strange problem framing, and bizarre setups. The New SAT is much more straightforward (just like the ACT has always been).
- The new SAT will contain chart analysis, current events, graphs, and other “modern, contextual” information that students will need to analyze within the Verbal portion of the exam.
For a full, official look at the changes, you can visit the College Board’s resource site on the new SAT here:
In the link above, the College Board provides users with a glimpse of the New SAT’s “virtues” (it’s basically just like the ACT now, but with a different grading system and minus the science section).
You can also see a few free New SAT sample exams from the College Board here.
The most important, quickest takeaways:
- Almost all of the material tested by the New SAT is exactly the same as it was on the old SAT with a few small exceptions.
- The format and material of the New SAT are going to be remarkably similar to the current format and material of the ACT.
- The sooner you start to prepare for The New SAT, the more chances you’ll have to improve, the less time you’ll have to spend per day preparing, and the easier the entire process will become.
The first and most important thing that you can do is figure out which test you’re planning on taking! Remember: colleges don’t prefer the SAT or the ACT – they simply want the test with the best comparative score!
You can see my guide to the New SAT vs. the ACT here. Take a look and figure out which test will give you the biggest admissions advantage, then dive in. It only takes a short while to make this decision, and considering how much time you’re going to spend prepping for these tests, you might as well pick the best one for you.
Next, start prepping. There’s ZERO good reason to wait. Once you’re a freshman, it’s time to begin studying. You only need to put in 15-30 minutes a day to see huge score improvements, and the sooner you start, the less this process will disrupt your entire schedule.
You can check out my free guide on when to get started here. Hint: soon.
If you’re looking for an effective way to prep, I also recommend taking a look at my New SAT prep programs. With an average score improvement of over 345 points and complete schedule and location flexibility, they’re a fantastic way to get started, get the scores you need, and put this whole process behind you.
Have any additional questions? Want further clarification on any of the above? Don’t hesitate to reach out to [email protected] and let us know! I’ve personally trained my customer support staff to answer all your questions, and if you ask something they don’t know, it’ll get forwarded to me personally.
If you take a look at the guides above, pick the right test, and get started on your prep, you’ll be doing everything necessary to get the scores you need and move on to greener pastures. I hope you found this quick guide helpful, and I’m looking forward to my next opportunity to help you with your prep!
Founder, Green Test Prep