Questions about New SAT
College Board FAQs
How is the SAT changing?
The redesigned SAT will be more focused on the few things shown by current research to matter most in college and career. When students open their test books in spring 2016, they’ll find questions asking them to support their answers with evidence, vocabulary they’ll use long after they’ve taken the exam, an essay prompt asking them to analyze a writer’s argument, and multistep problems requiring them to apply math in real-world contexts. Learn more about these changes and others.
What will be tested on the redesigned SAT?
The redesigned SAT will require students to:
Analyze and use reasoning to comprehend challenging literary and informational texts, including texts in science, history, and social studies.
Revise and edit extended texts across a variety of academic and career-related content areas to improve the way ideas are developed, organized, and expressed using Standard Written English conventions.
Show command of a focused but powerful set of skills and understandings in math and use them to solve problems in science, social studies, and career-related contexts.
Make careful and considered use of evidence as they read and write.
Analyze data, including data represented graphically, in reading, writing, and math contexts.
Demonstrate an understanding of vocabulary in context and how word choice affects meaning and tone.
When will the redesigned SAT be given for the first time?
The first administration of the redesigned SAT will be in spring 2016.
How long will the redesigned SAT be?
The redesigned SAT will be 3 hours long with an additional 50 minutes given for the Essay. Please note: Precise timing is tentative and subject to research.
How does the redesign of the SAT affect the high school graduating class of 2015?
The high school graduating class of 2015 will take the current SAT. These students should continue to visit the SAT website to register for the test and to get and send their scores. And we have good news: The College Board is partnering with Khan Academy to expand and deepen the free instruction, review, and practice resources available on the SAT website. Find out what to expect.
What free test preparation will you provide?
We are also working closely with our partners at Khan Academy to develop world-class practice programs that are individually targeted at students’ biggest areas of need. And we’ll continue to provide full-length practice exams and other materials to help students familiarize themselves with the exam.
What’s the best way for students to prepare for the redesigned SAT?
Rigorous course work will be, more than ever, the best preparation for the SAT. As test day approaches, students can use free College Board resources to get to know the exam and to build on their preparation with targeted review and authentic practice.
Will accommodations be available for students with disabilities?
Yes. The College Board is committed to providing assessments that deliver equity and access for all students. To learn more about special accommodations, please visit our website for Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD).
Will the SAT still have an essay section?
Yes. Students will be asked to write an essay analyzing a source document. The essay prompt will be shared in advance and will remain consistent; only the passage will change. The Essay section will no longer be required by the College Board. However, many school districts and colleges will require students to complete the Essay.
Can students use calculators on the redesigned SAT?
A calculator will be allowed on one of two sections in the redesigned SAT Math Test. Calculators are important mathematical tools, and to succeed after high school, students have to know how to use them effectively and appropriately. But the no-calculator section makes it easier to assess students’ fluency in math and understanding of math concepts. It also rewards well-learned technique and number-sense.
How will colleges compare scores on the redesigned SAT to scores on the current SAT?
The College Board will provide colleges with a concordance that shows how the two sets of scores compare.
How will SAT scores change?
The redesigned SAT will be scored on a 400- to 1600-point scale. The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section and the Math section will each be scored on a 200- to 800-point scale. Scores for the Essay section will be reported separately. Another important change is the move to rights-only scoring: There will no longer be a penalty for wrong answers. We’ll also introduce an enriched score report that provides more insight into students’ strengths and areas for improvement, helping teachers and students focus.
Will wrong answers still lower SAT scores?
Wrong answers will no longer be deducted from a student’s score. The redesigned SAT will use rights-only scoring. Students will simply get points for the questions they answer correctly. Rights-only scoring encourages students to give the best answer they have to every problem, without risking a penalty for trying their best.
Can students take both the current SAT and the redesigned SAT and see which score is higher?
When the College Board switches over to the redesigned SAT in spring 2016, the current SAT will no longer be offered. However, some students will take the SAT before that time and then take the redesigned SAT later. Because the exam and score scale are changing, we recommend that these students send all scores, allowing colleges to use those that are most favorable to the student. Keep in mind that some colleges require students to send all scores.
Where can I find an in-depth discussion of the new content on the redesigned SAT?
Master teachers discuss how the redesigned SAT connects to classroom learning. Play videos and read articles in Instruction.
Will fee waivers still be available?
Yes, the College Board will continue to make SAT fee waivers available to the students who need them. In fact, we are working with higher education institutions to ensure that every single income-eligible student who takes the SAT can apply to four colleges for free. College application fee waivers are just one part of Access to Opportunity™.
Is the PSAT/NMSQT changing too?
Yes, the PSAT/NMSQT will change together with the SAT and is planned to launch in October 2015. This schedule will allow students to take the redesigned PSAT/NMSQT before the redesigned SAT. As with all work on the assessment redesign, quality is of paramount importance. We are working closely with our cosponsor, National Merit Scholarship Corporation, to release an assessment and scholarship resource that ensures students are recognized for and take advantage of the opportunities they have earned.