The Redesigned SAT

For the first time in more than a decade, the SAT® is undergoing major changes to both its format and content, and we’re ready! Since March 2014, when College Board first announced its plans for the structural overhaul of the test, we’ve been studying the standards and developing our curriculum and strategies to specifically meet the demands of the new SAT.


What You Need To Know:

The Redesigned SAT format involves a number of significant changes across all sections, including timing breakdown, an optional essay section, and an updated 1600-point scoring system, with no penalty for wrong answers. The Redesigned SAT will also feature fewer multiple-choice questions and emphasize everyday vocabulary, critical thinking and data analysis.


Old SAT vs. New SAT – Major Changes:

For an easy-to-read chart comparing the old test and the new SAT, including all of the important details, click here!


Structure & Timing

The old SAT format had 4 components (Math, Critical Reading, Writing, and Essay) and a total of 10 sections. The Redesigned SAT  is much simpler, and has only 3 major components (Math, Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, and Optional Essay), and a total of 4 required sections.

The new SAT has the following sections:

–  2 Math Sections (80 minutes total)

–  1 Reading Section (65 minutes total)

–  1 Writing Section (35 minutes total)

–  Optional Essay (50 minutes total)

The Redesigned SAT takes 3 hours to complete, plus an additional 50-minutes for the optional essay, as compared to the old SAT, which lasted 3 hours and 45 minutes, which included the required essay section.



The Redesigned SAT scoring breakdown is one of the most noticeable changes to the College Board’s test.

The Old SAT penalized students ¼ point for an incorrect answer and was scored on a 2400-point system. Starting March 5, 2016, students will no longer be penalized for wrong answers and the composite score (a.k.a. overall score for the test) will use a 1600-point system, pulling from 2 section scores that range from 200-800 points.

The new SAT Score Breakdown:

   –  Math: 200 min./800 max.

   –  Evidence-Based Reading and Writing: 200 min./800 max.

   –  COMPOSITE SCORE = 400 min./1600 max.


The Redesigned SAT – Section Breakdown:

For an easy to read chart comparing the old test and the new SAT, including all the important details, click here!


Math Section

Redesigned SAT Math has 2 sections — 1 Calculator section , and 1 No-Calculator section. Redesigned SAT Math tests your knowledge in the following areas:

–  Algebra I

–  Problem Solving & Data Analysis

–  Geometry

–  Trigonometry

–  Algebra II

The new SAT also focuses more on real-world scenarios and application (think: Science, History and Social Science). In other words, students will be asked questions that may be applied to situations, which they may actually encounter in the “real world!”


Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Sections

Evidence-Based Reading only features Long Passage Questions. Gone are the days of  Sentence Completion and Short Passages! Long passages will cover the following topic areas:

–  U.S. and World Literature

–  Science

–  History and Social Science

–  Founding document or written work of great global conversation

According to College Board, the Redesigned SAT also includes vocabulary questions that students are likely to encounter in college and throughout their careers. Unlike the old SAT, which included obscure words, the new test asks students to determine definitions within contexts and defend their answers.

New SAT Writing is similar to the Reading, as this section prompts students to analyze evidence, cite information, and analyze data. This section includes 4 Paragraph Revision passages:

–  1-2 Argument passages

–  1-2 Informative or Explanatory Texts

–  1 Nonfiction Narrative


The New SAT Essay:

Th Redesigned SAT gives students the option of completing an essay. This essay is scored separately from the Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing sections, using a scale of 2-8 points. The essay prompts students to analyze evidence and explain how the author builds a persuasive argument. As compared to the old SAT, the new test gives students twice the amount of time (50 minutes) to complete the Essay.


The New SAT vs. The ACT: Which Test Should You Take?

When considering college applications, many students wonder which test is a better fit for their academic abilities. For more information on the key differences between the two standardized tests, click here. 


Questions? Let’s Talk!

The Redesigned SAT can be confusing. For expert advice, contact a Prepworks Program Advisors here or call 855-365-PREP to learn more about the new SAT and get started with our award-winning programs to earn your best score!



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