Back to posts

How the SAT is Changing in 2016

Underclassmen, take note: the SAT is undergoing some serious changes in 2016. There will no longer be a penalty for wrong answers; the scoring scale will drop from 2400 to the original 1600; and you will now be able to take the test either electronically or on paper. While those are all changes worthy of our attention, they are all technical in nature. Here are the “meatier” changes, broken down by section for your reading convenience:

  1.    The essay

Although some schools may still request it, the essay is now optional. Unfortunately, those who decide to write the optional essay are looking at a test-taking period of almost four hours (three hours and 50 minutes, to be exact). Those who opt out of the essay will only have to sit still for three hours. The instructions are different as well. In the past, those who took the SAT were asked to develop their point of view in response to an open-ended question such as, “Should people make more of an effort to keep some things private?” Now students are being asked to analyze someone else’s argument. Finally, readers will begin to check the essay for factual accuracy and sound reasoning. This means students will have to be extra careful about the information they include in their essays from here on out.

  1.       The math section

The current SAT math section tests the student’s knowledge on a wide variety of topics. The new math section, however, will focus almost exclusively on problem solving, data analysis, algebra and a few more advanced concepts. And although students have been able to use their calculators for every math problem up until now, students will only be allowed to use it for 37 out of 57 problems on the revamped 2016 edition. Finally, there will be an evident shift towards “real-world math.”

  1.       The reading and writing section

For those of you who hate filling in the blank, good news: sentence completion questions will not appear on new and improved SAT. You will also notice that the reading passages are taken from a broader variety of disciplines than before, including literature, science, history and social studies. Last but not least, the 2016 SAT promises to replace its arcane vocabulary with a more functional one in which students are able to figure out the meaning based on extended context clues.

Please note that this list is not intended to be exhaustive. For a full list of changes, please see The College Board’s website.

To ensure you’re fully prepared for all the changes coming your way in 2016, contact Elite Private Tutors today.