As you’re probably well aware, the SAT, our favorite test, is changing. It’s time to start counting down to the end of grueling vocabulary memorization, formulaic essay preparation, and frustrating math practice. Yet, with any change to a test, it’s important to know what you’re getting yourself into before you start celebrating the demise of your least favorite topics.
We at Testive are here to educate you on the NEW SAT, how it compares to the previous iteration of the SAT, and if your test prep plans should change going forward.
The basics: What does the NEW SAT cover?
The NEW SAT, like the old SAT, is a multi-section test composed of a combination of verbal and mathematics questions. While the old SAT consisted of three sections plus a mandatory essay, the NEW SAT has only two sections plus an optional essay.
The old SAT’s separate Reading and Writing sections have been combined into a single section known as Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, which wouldn’t include the notoriously difficult vocabulary questions many students associate with the SAT.
In addition, the NEW SAT has 153 questions as opposed to the previous 171 questions, making it slightly shorter than the old SAT (Three hours without the essay, compared to three hours and 45 minutes if you decide to write the essay).
How is the New SAT scored?: no deductions for incorrect answers
But wait, there’s more good news: the NEW SAT won’t deduct points for incorrect answers! The current version of the SAT deducts a quarter of a point for every wrong answer; those point deductions add up and place a lot of stress on students. The NEW SAT, however, will only add points for correct answers, ensuring that students are more engaged with the test material and less with arbitrary strategy.
Old SAT vs. NEW SAT: which one should I take?
While it may sound like the NEW SAT is a test taker’s dream, there are still some arguments for taking the old SAT if you still can. The NEW SAT is designed to be fairer for students and draws more heavily from concepts that students learn in high school. These facts are comforting to hear, but must be taken with a grain of salt, for the NEW SAT remains vague, to say the least.
The old SAT may have vocabulary questions and point deductions, but at least there are tons of resources out there that are designed around the old test. It’s much better to go prepared into a harder battle than unarmed into an easier one.