On March 5th, 2014, David Coleman, President of the College Board, announced plans to substantially revise the SAT. The new specifications were released in April of 2014, and with the redesigned test debuting in March 2016, the format, scoring, and test items have all undergone change.
Some of the revisions include:
- Math items that better align with mathematics high school students study
- Reading passages that draw more from social studies texts high school students read
- Elimination of guessing penalties, allowing students to feel more comfortable to attempt to problem-solve even the most challenging items
- Content aligned more specifically to Common Core State Standards
Our Expertise with the SAT
We have spent the last decade helping students master the 2005 SAT. We are eager to help students enjoy the same success in 2016 and beyond. See our students’ results on the 2005 SAT below:
- Starting score of 1000 to 1490: Average score increase is 300 to 500 points. Through diligent effort, some of our students have gained over 600 points
- Starting score of 1500 to 1940: Average score increase is 110 to 500 points with some of our hardest workers growing up to 600 points
- Starting score of 1950 to 2200: Average score increase is 110 to 400 points
In the U.S., the redesigned SAT was first administered in March of 2016. In a standard school year, the SAT is administered on seven national test dates in October, November, December, January, March, May, and June.
Please visit the SAT registration page for test dates, registration information and deadlines, and more.
Test Format and Structure – Redesigned SAT
|Section||Time||Number of Questions||Content Covered|
|Evidence-Based Reading and Writing||100 minutes|
-Reading: 65 minutes
-Writing and Language: 35 minutes
Reading: 52 questions (4 single passages and 1 paired set, 500-750 words per passage or pair)
Writing and Language: 44 questions (4 passages, 400-450 words per passage)
|-Command of textual evidence
-Understanding of relevant words in context
-Application of skills across the curriculum
-Calculator Portion: 55 minutes
-No-Calculator: 25 minutes
-Calculator Portion: 30 multiple-choice questions, 8 student-produced response questions
-No-Calculator: 15 multiple-choice questions, 5 student-produced response problems
|-Heart of Algebra
-Problem solving and data analysis
-Passport to advanced math
-Additional topics such as geometry and trigonometry
|Essay (optional)||50 minutes||1 prompt||Varies|
The two sections – Evidence-based Reading and Writing and Math – are each graded on a scale from 200–800, making a perfect score 1600.
The essay on the SAT exam is optional, but many college may require it. The essay is graded by two College Board graders. Each gives the writing sample a score from 1 to 4 in each of three dimensions (reading, analysis, and writing). These two scores are added together to create three final essay scores in the three dimensions, each from 2 to 8. The essay score is reported separately from Evidence-based Reading and Writing score.
Because there is no penalty for incorrect answers, students should guess even if it means filling in random answer choices.
- Qualified students may be approved to test with a variety of accommodations, including 50%, 100%, or 150% additional time to complete the exam
- Students may receive extended time on some but not all test sections
- Students who test with extended time must sit for the entire allotted time and must finish one test section before moving on to the next
- All students who are approved to test with extended time will also be approved for extra breaks
While the experience of difficulty varies from student to student, the new SAT features novel evidence-based reasoning and data analysis question types at a high level of complexity. At Academic Approach, we welcome this change as we’ve taught rigorous logic and reasoning skills since 2001 and believe in the importance of these vital college-readiness skills.
The primary goal of the redesigned SAT is for the test to better align with schools’ instructional practices. With that in mind, the best preparation for this assessment is undertaking rigorous classroom coursework and striving to excel in core curriculum at school. In addition, Academic Approach can provide additional instruction and resources to help smooth the transition and support the highest student achievement on the new SAT.
The College Board’s redesign is becoming more like the ACT. The parallels in the sections, test conventions, and skills assessed are now closer than ever. Those students who wish to prepare for both exams can experience a more seamless process of preparation as the skills required for success will become more transparent and related.