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The SAT is taken by thousands of high school students every year. You may find yourself preparing for it right now. Are you aware that next year it is going to be drastically different? Several aspects of the SAT are changing in major ways; this affects how you should study, what you should prepare for, and even when you should take the test. Don’t fret! We’re here to give you the details and important tips on what actions you should take.

The changes being made to the SAT have been designed to better test for college and career readiness. The changes will have an effect on the 2016 SATs and will include the following:

  • The essay section will be optional rather than required. The prompt will be given to the students in advance and they will be asked to write an essay analyzing a source document.
  • An extra 50 minutes will be given for the essay.
  • Calculators may be used on only one of the two math sections.
  • No more penalties for wrong answers! Points are assigned for right answers only.
  • The vocabulary words will be more relevant. Gone are the days of words such as recalcitrant, zephyr, and pellucid. The revised SAT will focus on more common words whose meanings vary according to context.
  • There will be an increased focus on social studies and science. Various reading, writing, and math questions will involve knowledge of the social sciences and science.
  • The 2016 SAT will be scored on a 400-1600 point scale. The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing and the Math section will each be scored on a 200-800 point scale. The essay section will be scored separately.

You may have noticed two things when reading the changes listed above. First, this sounds like somewhat of a return to the old version of the SAT. Second, this sounds oddly similar to the ACT. The ACT also has an optional essay, does not penalize students for incorrect responses, and contains questions regarding science (although the ACT has an entire science section). However, just like with the ACT, we expect many schools to require the SAT optional essay for admission consideration.

How will these changes AFFECT YOU?

College Board, the creator of the SAT, claimed that the changes being made will allow colleges to assess your college and career readiness more accurately. Moreover, not penalizing students for wrong answers will encourage students to give each question their best effort. Many students choose not to answer a few questions on the current SAT out of fear or missing the question and having points deducted for doing so. However with this new version, there is a possibility for a boost in score due to students attempting every question. Also, it is important to note that there will be a modified grading scale that will be comparable to the current SAT scoring. Colleges have been prepared to consider the differences in the two scoring systems and will take which test you take into consideration when they are assessing you score.

What do we RECOMMEND?

We recommend that you take the SAT this year before the changes are made. Any of the SAT experts at The Brain Domain can help you prepare for the upcoming test. If you are unable to take the 2015 SAT, we strongly suggest that you wait until the summer of 2016 to take the new SAT. This way you will have more time to understand the changes that have taken effect on the test and have adequate time to access the revised test prep materials. Otherwise, if the school of your choice accepts the ACT or the SAT, we recommend that you take the ACT because it is not changing and you will know exactly what to expect.


Don’t know which test is right for you? Check out our previous blog to help you make an educated decision!

Read more about SAT test preparation in Houston.

Happy studying!

Source: “FAQs.” The College Board. N.p., 14 Feb. 2014. Web.