First Take on The New SAT

As you know, the College Board is attempting a true reinvention of the SAT. For all the news stories printed and broadcast on this topic, many are bombastic, few are comprehensive, and none provide adequate guidance to parents and students. Below, I outline the major changes. And on my next post, I suggest a simple a four-step plan for those who want to learn how to prepare effectively for the revamped PSAT and SAT.

The Big Changes:


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  • The new SAT will impact the class of 2017.
  • It will first be given in Spring 2016.
  • The new PSAT will debut in fall 2015 for both juniors and sophomores.


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  • 1600 points – We’re back to 1600!
  • Optional: students can take the test on computer rather than paper if they wish.  This may lead to different test dates for the different tests.
  • Two Required Sections: A total of 3 hours of testing time.[/list]

Redesigned Combined Reading and Writing section: 800 points:

  • No obscure vocabulary words.
  • No sentence completions.
  • Vocabulary will be related to business and real life and will be tested in context.
  • Reading will ask for analysis of charts, tables and evidence, ranging from the scientific to the historical.
  • Students will be asked to edit short excerpts to improve both grammar and clarity, which will require comprehension of their intended meaning.

Redesigned Math section: 800 points:

  • Greater focus on algebra and functions.
  • More information on new Math questions should be out on April 14.
  • There will be a non-calculator section.

The Essay:

  • The new, 50-minute essay will be optional, and just like on the ACT, selective colleges will probably require it.
  • The essay prompt is to be published in advance, but the source material (to be used for evidence) will be new for each SAT.
  • By supplying students with the evidence they’ll need for the essay, the College Board is making this more like an AP History or AP Literature exam.
  • Students will need to analyze how authors build arguments.
  • Now here’s a simple four-step plan you can use to prepare for the new SAT.



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