Overview: Current SAT vs. Redesigned SAT

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Overview: Current SAT vs. Redesigned SAT

The redesigned SAT will test the few things that research shows matter most for college readiness and success. The SAT redesign is centered on eight key changes

When students open their SAT test books in spring 2016, they’ll encounter an SAT that is more focused and useful than ever before. Below you’ll find descriptions of the major changes, full test specifications, and extensive sample questions for each section.

Comparison of the Major Features: Current SAT vs. Redesigned SAT
Category Current SAT Redesigned SAT
Total Testing Time*

*Redesigned SAT testing time subject to research

3 hours and 45 minutes 3 hours (plus 50 minutes for the Essay [optional])
Components
  1. Critical Reading
  2. Writing
  3. Mathematics
  4. Essay
  1. Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
    • Reading Test
    • Writing and Language Test
  2. Math
  3. Essay (optional)
Important Features
  • Emphasis on general reasoning skills
  • Emphasis on vocabulary, often in limited contexts
  • Complex scoring (a point for a correct answer and a deduction for an incorrect answer; blank responses have no impact on scores)
  • Continued emphasis on reasoning alongside a clearer, stronger focus on the knowledge, skills, and understandings most important for college and career readiness and success
  • Greater emphasis on the meaning of words in extended contexts and on how word choice shapes meaning, tone, and impact
  • Rights-only scoring (a point for a correct answer but no deduction for an incorrect answer; blank responses have no impact on scores)
Essay
  • Required and given at the beginning of the SAT
  • 25 minutes to write the essay
  • Tests writing skill; students take a position on a presented issue
  • Optional and given at the end of the SAT; postsecondary institutions determine whether they will require the Essay for admission
  • 50 minutes to write the essay
  • Tests reading, analysis, and writing skills; students produce a written analysis of a provided source text
Score Reporting* 

 

*Redesigned SAT scores subject to research

  • Scale ranging from 600 to 2400
  • Scale ranging from 200 to 800 for Critical Reading; 200 to 800 for Mathematics; 200 to 800 for Writing
  • Essay results scaled to multiple-choice Writing
  • Scale ranging from 400 to 1600
  • Scale ranging from 200 to 800 for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing; 200 to 800 for Math; 2 to 8 on each of three traits for Essay
  • Essay results reported separately
Subscore Reporting None Subscores for every test, providing added insight for students, parents, admission officers, educators, and counselors

Comparison of Test Length and Timing: Current SAT vs. Redesigned SAT

Current SAT Redesigned SAT
Component Time Allotted
(minutes)
Number of
Question/
Tasks
Component Time
Allotted (minutes)
Number of
Questions/
Tasks
Critical Reading 70 67 Reading 65 52
Writing 60 49 Writing and Language 35 44
Essay 25 1 Essay
(optional)
50 1
Mathematics 70 54 Math 80 57
Total 225 171 Total 180
(230 with Essay)
153
(154 with Essay)

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