7 Important Things to Know About the New SAT

March 14, 2016


There are several things you should know as students prepare for the new SAT test in 2016. The new SAT will debut on March 5th, 2016, with additional tests on May 7th, June 4th and again later in the fall. The SAT has undergone a few changes that should make it more accessible for students, but this can also affect the way the test is taken. Here are some of the most important things you should know before taking your SAT.


Optional Essay

The essay is now an optional, rather than a compulsory, part of the new SAT. It tests your reading, writing and analysis abilities. Students who opt to write the essay will be given an additional 50 minutes. The exam is three hours without the essay and 3 hours 50 minutes with the essay option.


Familiar Vocabulary

In keeping with the Common Core standards, the SAT will feature more widely-used vocabulary that students are more likely to have encountered in their classrooms and readings.


Focus on Evidence

Every answer you give must be supported by evidence from the text. State your answer and then quote from the reading to show how you reached your opinion.


No Penalty for Wrong Answers

The new SAT will not give a penalty for incorrect answers, so take a guess at every question. Scores range from 400 to 1600 as opposed to the 600-2400 of the old SAT.


Online or Hands-on

You can choose to take the test online or write it on paper. This is helpful for students who type faster and more accurately than they write. Illegible writing can have a negative effect on test scores.


Math Questions

Problem Solving & Data Analysis, the Heart of Algebra and Passport to Advanced Math will be the topics from which math questions are drawn. These sections will be based on Common Core math.



While calculators will still be allowed during certain portions of the test, they will not be allowed during the whole exam. Practice doing as much as you can without your calculator.



The new SAT will focus on data interpretation, algebraic and general problem solving. There will be less of a focus on geometry. Graphs will play a role, so make sure you practice using them.


Preparing for the SAT can be a daunting task. The tutors are Test Prep Tutors are trained with the knowledge to prepare students for this important test. Our tutors are experts in this field and can help to find the missing building blocks in your knowledge and help you with practice tests. Enlist the help of a Test Prep Tutor today to prepare you for excellence on test day and beyond!


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