Over the last few years or so, the SAT has lost students across the country to a growing cohort of ACT test-takers. To mitigate these losses and better reflect concept-based learning, the SAT will give itself a major makeover that goes into effect in 2016.

Here are 6 of the Big Changes to the New SAT:

1)  The end of the guessing penalty. The New SAT will NOT deduct points for wrong answers.

2)  Say goodbye to the obligatory Essay component. The Essay is now optional due to the fact that admissions officers have been uniformly ambivalent about its ability to indicate college readiness. The current Essay Section requires students to respond to a contentious statement by using historical, literary or personal examples to substantiate their positions. For the new optional Essay, students will read a passage and then analyze the ways in which its author employs evidence, reasoning and tone.

3)  Time to boost your science game! Like the current ACT, the New SAT will include charts, tables and graphs that will better assess students’ problem-solving abilities.

4)  New Math Focus: the Math Section will concentrate on three key areas: 1) linear equations, 2) complex equations or functions, and 3) ratios, percentages and proportional reasoning. Students will be allowed to use a calculator on only part of the math section.

5)  No more word games, No more “SAT Words.” The New SAT will no longer test students on obscure vocabulary like “recondite” and “esoteric” and will no longer include sentence completion questions. Its new Verbal Section will present words that students will need for college and career life – words like “synthesis”, “empirical” and “streamline.”

6)  Reading Passages that source prominent documents. The current SAT uses a wide array of unknown and common passages to test students on reading comprehension: science journal passages, student book reports, operational manuals, etc. – anything under the sun. The New SAT will source passages from  “Founding Documents” – what the College Board refers to as seminal pieces of writing that participate in a “Great Global Conversation.” The College Board has offered the Declaration of Independence and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have A Dream” speech as examples.

In addition to these over-arching changes, the New SAT will revert to a 1600-point scale based on a perfect score of 800 in math and reading (the optional Essay will have a separate score). Students will have the option to take a print or digital version of the test (The SAT is currently paper only).

The College Board will disclose the entire format of the New SAT as well as example problems on April 16th.

Check back with us to remain abreast of developments pertaining to the 2016 SAT and to learn how MathSP will equip its students to ACE the new test.