All about the New SAT

March 5, 2016, will bring about much change for students who are about to embark on the journey to higher education.  This date will mark the first time that the new SAT is administered.  Since the implementation of the concept of “college and career readiness” has swept education, testing companies have begun to adapt to this new way of learning.  In order to align the assessment with what is being taught in schools, the SATs <> have been redesigned to include this philosophy. 

There is one very important component that learners need to keep in mind when taking the new version of the test. The test is designed to assess what students learned in school as well as their aptitude for the type of metacognitive thinking that will be necessary to achieve success in college.  It’s no longer a test of what was learned; it is an indictor of how well students will meet the challenge of complex analytical thinking necessary in higher education.

Optional Essay

One of the biggest changes that students can expect to see is the optional essay portion of the test.  This component is scored separately from the rest of the exam, and only some colleges require it for admissions.

The writing assignment is a text based essay, which means that students will be required to read and analyze a text, and then they will have to respond to the text all within the 50 minute timed testing window. 

Text Dependent Analysis

The reading and writing section of the test is unique to the new exam.  The passages that students will read will be documents from the founding of the U.S. and the literature these documents and historical events inspired.  Test takers will be required to use these documents as a basis for analyzing writing, and they will be required to use text-based evidence to support conclusions that they draw about the passages they read.

Real World Application of Math

The math will no longer focus on a wide range of topics.  Rather, it will concentrate on data analysis and problem solving.  The testing industry is dubbing these math skills “The Heart of Algebra” and “Passport to Advanced Math”.

“Heart of Algebra” will measure students’ ability to not only solve equations, but to analyze different systems using various methods.  “Passport to Advanced Math” focuses on topics students need to have mastered before they can become successful in the various types of advanced math courses available in higher education.

Penalty Free Guesses

Perhaps one of the biggest changes on the new SAT is the scoring. The new exam will be scored out of 1600 instead of 2400 with no penalty for guessing.  While the math and evidence-based reading sections will still be worth 800 points each, the writing section will no longer be mandatory.  On the old test, this section was also worth 800 points.  Now, it is scored separately for those who choose to take it.

Additionally, the new test will have sub-scores. These are a breakdown of the overall scores so that students can see in which areas they scored well and in which areas they need improvement.  This information can prove to be very beneficial to those who may have to retake the exam.

Students who are motivated to learn, who work hard in school, and who have exercised their brain’s analytical ability will do well on this new test.  While it is different, it is still an assessment of what students have been doing in school for years. Students are also strongly encouraged to take a preparation course <>  or the SAT or any standardized test.