Changes coming to the SAT

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This week Live at 9 is helping you make the grade, with important information about your child's education.

Changes are coming soon that will affect millions of students, no matter where they go to school.

For the first time in 11 years, the SAT is getting a makeover. Brian Smith is director of College Counseling at MUS.


  1. No penalty for wrong answers. Since it’s inception, the SAT has deducted points for all wrong answers. The new SAT design will award points based on questions answered correctly in an effort to encourage students to give the best answer they have to every problem.
  2. Renamed sections and subscores. The former Critical Reading section will now be called Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. This new section along with the Math section will also have subscores for every test to aid in providing insight for students and admission officers.
  3. New questions focus on synthesis of information. College Board highlights that their new design for questions in all sections will require students to take pieces of information from multiple locations/mediums and analyze it to arrive at the correct answer.
  4. Essay. The essay section will now be optional and take place after the SAT has been completed. The score for the essay will also be reported separately. The new essay will be 50 minutes long and based on analyzing a selection of written material. The prompt will be known in advance and only the passage to be analyzed will change.
  5. Founding Documents and Great Global Conversation. Every time students take the redesigned SAT, they will encounter a passage from one of the founding documents or from a text from the global conversation. College Board hopes to inspire a close reading of these rich, meaningful, often-profound texts, as an opportunity to reflect on and deeply engage with issues and concerns central to informed citizenship.
  6. Scoring and Timing. As the essay is now optional, the SAT will be scored out of 1600 including the Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing sections. The test will also now take 3 hours instead of 3 hours and 45 minutes.
  7. The SAT will be partnering with Khan Academy, an online tool for practicing standardized tests, which will allow students to pinpoint what questions they missed on a given test and focus their study on those areas using the online tutorials.



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