Q&A on the New SAT For Class of 2017

Current high school sophomores will be the first class to take the newly revised SAT, which will be offered for the first time in March 2016. The October PSAT in 2015 will also be new. Here are some frequently asked questions regarding the new SAT.

Why is College Board Changing the SAT?

There are several reasons. In recent years more high school students have opted for the ACT, which is more aligned with high school curriculum than the SAT. College Board does not want to lose market share to ACT or become less relevant when it comes to the college admission standardized tests. The changes will better align with emerging national learning standards. College Board also believes the changes make it a better test in terms of truly evaluating student potential for college-level work.

The New SAT is coming!

How will the New SAT be different from the current SAT?

Early reports from test preparation professionals who have previewed preliminary questions for the new test are that it will be much more difficult. It will require a deeper understanding of algebra, put less emphasis on geometry and ask questions in a real-world context. Students will need to cite evidence for their answers in the reading, language and writing sections, do more writing analysis and decipher complex vocabulary in context instead of sentence completions. There will be no penalty for wrong answers.

What are the sections of the new SAT?

The new SAT will contain four required sections –Reading, Writing & Language, “Calculator-Optional” Math, and “No Calculator” Math.  The new Essay section will be optional but we advise all students to take it since most colleges require it.

Will the test be longer?

The current test is 3 hours and 45 minutes. The new test will be 3 hours plus 50 minutes for the optional essay section. The new PSAT will also be 30 minutes longer at 2 hours and 45 minutes.

What advice do you have for current sophomores as they make test plans?

We recommend that students take the ACT where possible. The ACT essay prompt will change but it will otherwise be the same. Test professionals are well versed in helping prepare students for the ACT. In the event that students truly believe the current SAT (not the new SAT) is a better fit for who they are as learners, then we highly recommend they take the old SAT before it goes away. The last old SAT will be administered in January 2016. If you are client, we will be providing advice for testing that is individualized to your needs.

Practice questions for the New PSAT are now available.

On April 16th 2014, The College Board will reveal the full structure of the new test along with example practice problems on their website.

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