Navigating the New SAT

Navigating the New SAT

The SAT is changing in March 2016, and there are numerous questions surrounding the change – most notably what to expect, and how will these changes affect my child? At StudyPoint, our expert curriculum team has been hard at work updating the programs we offer your family, along with making sure our personalized curriculum is in line with the test changes. We have 16 years of experience working with over 24,000 students across the country, and have been through test changes before. Our goal is to be a resource for you and your family on your child’s path to college, and to that end, we’ve put together some basic information and recommendations for navigating the test changes below. In addition, we realize that each student’s situation is unique, and encourage you to call us and discuss your child’s individual needs.

What’s New?

  • Key Changes: Focus of test will move from reasoning-based to content-based, and have two main sections (Math & Evidence-Based Reading and Writing). Major changes to content include an increased focus on higher level math, inclusion of a no-calculator math section, focus on evidence-based reading, all passage-based writing questions, and an optional essay section.

  • Scoring: The two sections will be scored on a scale from 200-800, with a composite score calculated by adding the sections together. There will be additional subscores and insight scores available, and the optional essay will not count towards the overall score.

    The College Board is continuously updating their website with information on the new SAT. We encourage you to visit their website for additional updates. In the meantime, review some frequently asked questions.

    Our Recommendations

    Class of 2017

    You are the first class that the changes will impact, and you have the option to take the ACT, the old SAT, or the New SAT. Though your college counselor’s recommendations and your academic strengths, schedule, and state testing requirements should be taken into consideration, during this transition period we recommend that students consider taking and preparing for the ACT. It is a known test that is aligned with the content and skills you learn through your school work, so you’ll know exactly what to expect on test day. You won’t have to take the ACT on an accelerated schedule (like with the old SAT), and you’ll receive your ACT test scores in a timely fashion (release of scores for the New SAT March and May 2016 test dates is likely to be delayed).

    If you decide to take the ACT: Start preparing in fall or winter of your junior year. Take the test 1-2 times in the winter or spring of your junior year, and then again in fall of your senior year, if necessary.

    If you decide to take the New SAT: Start preparing in late fall or winter of your junior year. Take the test 1-2 times in the spring of your junior year, and then again in fall of your senior year, if necessary. To see how the ACT and New SAT compare, view our infographic detailing the differences.

    If you decide to take the old SAT: Start preparing the summer before your junior year. Take the test in October and November, and then again in December or January, if necessary. Note: Because this schedule requires taking the SAT earlier than usual, this option is not recommended for most students. If you are academically advanced and scored well on your 10th grade PSAT, then this option may be suitable for you. To see how the ACT and old SAT compare visit our ACT v SAT Comparison page for specific details.

    Class of 2018

    You will have the option to take the ACT or the New SAT. The New SAT will still be relatively new, but by the time you are testing, more will be known about the test, how scores on it compare to ACT and old SAT scores, and what colleges are looking for when it comes to scores on the New SAT. You may also have your PSAT scores to help guide your decision regarding which test to take.

    The summer between your sophomore and junior year, take an ACT and a New SAT practice test. Get a feel for the test format, content, pacing, and scoring. Use the available concordance tables to compare your scores on each test, determine which test is the better fit for you, and begin planning your prep schedule.

    Related Topics

    • Looking for national test dates? Visit our SAT Test Dates page for specific details.
    • Want to learn more about the ACT? Visit our ACT Test page.

    StudyPoint is a national leader in one-to-one, in-home test prep and academic tutoring. The test-taking techniques and strategies taught in our SAT tutoring and ACT tutoring programs enable students to earn higher test scores and gain admissions to competitive colleges and universities. Our expert subject tutors and personalized lesson plans help students earn better grades and become happier, more confident students. Whether you’re looking for a math tutor or any other type of academic tutoring, StudyPoint can help. To learn about tutoring programs in your area, feel free to contact us for more information.


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    SAT® is a registered trademark of the College Board, which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse this product. ACT® is the registered trademark of ACT, Inc. StudyPoint has no affiliation with ACT, Inc., which was not involved in the production of, and does not endorse this product. PSAT/NMSQT® is a trademark jointly owned by the College Board and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, which were not involved in the production of, and does not endorse this product. All test names and other trademarks are the property of the respective trademark holders. None of the trademark holders are affiliated with StudyPoint or this website.


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