The New SAT (2016)

redesigned SATThe redesigned SAT is here. According to the College Board, this change was made so that the test would better reflect high school curriculum and be an indicator of college readiness.

We have incorporated the new test material into a revised SAT Book of Knowledge curriculum and have created supplementary materials, drills and seminars with the information released by The College Board. The College Board has officially released four full-length sample SATs in the redesigned format.

    Learn more about the new test sections below. Scroll down further for some quick facts, the new test breakdown, why you should consider the ACT, and to read how A-List is fully-prepared for the new content.

    Download A-List's one-pager on the redesigned test here.


    • All Reading Test questions are multiple choice and based on passages.
    • Some passages are paired with other passages or informational graphics, such as charts, graphs, and tables.
    • No mathematical computation is required.
    • Prior topic-specific knowledge is never tested

    Learn more about the Reading section of the redesigned test and try sample questions


    • All Writing and Language Test questions are multiple choice and based on passages.
    • Some passages are paired with informational graphics such as charts, graphs, and tables.
    • Prior topic-specific knowledge is never tested.
    • No mathematical computation is required.

    Learn more about the Writing & Language section of the redesigned test and try sample questions


    • Most math questions will be multiple choice, but some will be student-produced responses (grid-ins).
    • The Math Test is divided into two portions: Math Test – Calculator and Math Test – No Calculator.
    • Some parts of the test present students with a scenario and then ask several questions about it.

    Learn more about the Math section of the redesigned test and try sample questions


    • Students will have 50 minutes to complete their essay — not 25, as is the case on the current SAT.
    • The SAT Essay will no longer be required of everyone who takes the SAT; individual colleges and universities will determine whether they choose to require SAT Essay scores from prospective students.
    • The redesigned SAT Essay closely mirrors common postsecondary writing assignments.
    • It will be scored using clearly defined and widely communicated criteria focused on reading, analysis, and writing.
    • The source text will change every time the SAT is given, but the task will stay the same.
    • Prior topic-specific knowledge is never tested.

    Learn more about the Essay on the redesigned test and view sample prompts

    NEW TEST QUICK FACTS:test icon

    • Scores will revert from the 600-2400 scale to the 400-1600 scale
    • No penalty for wrong answers
    • "Relevant Words in Context" questions will focus on determining the meaning or implications of words and phrases in the contexts in which they are used
    • Optional "Essay Analyzing a Source" will ask students to read a passage and explain how the author builds an argument to pursuade and audience
    • Additional math concepts focusing on problem solving and data analysis, the "heart of algebra," and "passport to advanced math"
    • Math will now have a section eliminating the use of calculators
    • "Analysis in Science and in History/Social Studies" questions ask students to apply reading, writing, language, and math skills to answer questions in science, history and social contexts
    • There will be no penalty for guessing

    More key changes from The College Board


    Component Time  Number of Questions
    Evidence-based Reading and Writing Reading 65 min 52 questions
    Writing and Language 35 min 44 questions
    Math Calculator Permitted 55 min 37 questions
    No Calculator 25 min 20 questions
    Essay (optional) 50 min 1 essay
    Total 180 min  153 questions 
    (230 min with Essay) (plus optional Essay)

    Consider the ACT:

    We don't recommend one test over the other, but as colleges look to both tests equally, you can consider the ACT as an alternative to the new SAT. The ACT is a known test: besides the addition of the optional essay in 2005, the ACT has not changed since 1989. And the ACT is just as widely accepted by colleges as the SAT. 

    We encourage our students getting started to take both a practice SAT and ACT test to see if they prefer the format and timing of one over the other; and to discover if they score significantly better on one exam.

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