Your Guide to the New and Improved 2016 SAT


Andrew Colletti '17, Writer


Attention Juniors and Sophomores, the New SAT is well on its way. Starting in March of 2016, the latest version of the test that has been taken for nearly a century will emerge and be taken by students all over the globe. Here are the changes you can be sure to expect on the newest SAT.

Current SAT 2016 SAT
Scoring 600-2400 400-1600 (with subscores and cross scores available)
Timing 3 hours, 45 mins 3 hours, (additional 50 minutes with optional essay)
  • Critical Reading: 200-800
  • Writing: 200-800
  • Math: 200-800
  • Essay (included in Writing score)
Guessing Penalty ¼ Guessing penalty No guessing penalty
Format On paper only Can be taken digitally

Source: Ivy Global, New SAT

Why make these modifications to a test that has been taken for 90 years, now? For starters, changes in the SAT are nothing new; the last change being as recent as 2012. However, a fundamental change in the actual test itself has not been seen in as long as a decade. The main motivations behind the latest changes to the test are simple. SAT test-makers, known as the College Board, hope to make their test material more relevant to the skills today’s students need to be successful. The brains behind the new test ultimately hope to eliminate SAT content that isn’t effective in gauging each student’s familiarity of key high-school concepts and their readiness to take on collegiate level courses, and have subsequently changed their scoring system to fit the new mindset.

Stressed for the test and the new changes? Here are some of the reasons you shouldn’t waste time worrying, and how you can prepare. First of all, the SAT is only one piece to a broader picture as to who you are as a student, and–for those of you who haven’t already noticed–the newest changes in the SAT only benefit students. The essay will be optional in 2016, and there will be absolutely no penalty for guessing a question incorrectly instead of leaving it blank. On an even more exciting note, with the new cross scoring system in place, students will now be allowed to take their highest scores on each section from different tests and piece them together in order to receive the highest possible score. Test-takers in 2016 will be allowed to use a computer in order to take the test digitally should they find that to be more comfortable. Clearly the College Board has each student’s best interest in mind with the latest changes. The best ways to prepare are just as simple as the changes in the test to come. College Board members say doing your homework, being active in class, and preparing for tests and quizzes are the best ways you can be prepared for the test. Pair this with a good night sleep and a hearty breakfast on your test day, and you should will be ready to tackle the 2016 SAT.