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The SAT Redesign

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The redesigned SAT, which will be offered beginning in the spring of 2016, incorporates a number of new testing approaches that are intended to better assess the areas of learning that matter most in preparing students for success in college and the real world beyond. Here are the 10 most important changes you need to know about:

The Essay Got Twice as Long, But Now It’s Optional

  • The Essay length went from 25 minutes to 50 minutes
  • It is no longer required as part of the exam, though it is still encouraged
  • Students analyze and respond to a piece of text, instead of making an argument
  • The essay will be the last section of the exam, instead of the first section

No More Obscure Vocabulary

  • The Sentence Completion (or “fill-in-the-blanks”) section is gone
  • Students identify word meaning in context of passages
  • Words tested are more closely related to common usage
  • Flash cards and vocabulary lists will be less effective

No Calculator for One of the Math Sections

  • Calculators cannot be used for one 25-minute math section
  • Algebra makes up 35% of the math: formulas, expressions, equations
  • Data Analysis makes up 28%: ratios, proportions, percentages
  • Advanced Math makes up 27%: quadratic equations, polynomials
  • Additional Topics make up 10%: geometry, basic trigonometry functions
The Score Range has Changed

  • The maximum composite score drops from 2400 to 1600
  • Math scores range from 200-800
  • Reading and Writing scores are combined to range from 200-800
  • Essay scores from two independent graders are combined to range from 2-8
  • Essay results are reported separately and do not factor into the composite score

Fewer Questions in About the Same Time

  • The number of Reading questions drops from 67 to 52
  • The number of Writing questions drops from 49 to 44
  • The number of Math questions increases slightly, from 54 to 57
  • Including the Essay, total test time increases by 5 minutes, to 3 hours 50 minutes

Four Answer Choices Means Better Chances

  • The number of answer choices drops from 5 to 4 for all multiple choice questions
  • Students have a better chance of getting more questions correct when guessing
  • Eliminating incorrect answers becomes more effective for students
The Guessing Penalty is Gone

  • Students earn points for correct answers
  • Points are not deducted for incorrect answers or blanks

There are A Lot More Graphics

  • Charts, graphs, and tables show up in Reading and Writing, as well as Math
  • Students are asked to interpret and analyze graphics in relation to text
  • Reading and Writing require editing textual information to reflect graphics or data

Science and History Play a Bigger Part

  • Reading and Writing content relies more heavily on science and social studies
  • Students will analyze recent discoveries and global events in context
  • Texts emphasize U.S. founding documents and academic responses
  • Pivotal speeches and writings from around the world are included

Real-World Relevance is Key

  • Questions throughout the exam are grounded in college and career contexts
  • Reading and Writing focus more on texts students are likely to encounter in class
  • Math focuses more on problems with applications in the real world

Students who are currently enrolled as high school freshmen will be the first to have the option of taking the redesigned SAT in the spring of their junior year. Revolution Prep will continue to provide industry-leading prep programs, so that students have the opportunity to begin building the knowledge and skills needed to understand everything that will be on this redesigned SAT, along with the strategies needed to achieve lifelong learning success.

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The Revolution Prep Team  

Our team is made up of professional tutors and academic advisors who are passionate about sharing their wealth of academic success knowledge.


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