SAT Questions: Analytical Breakdown


Testive Coach Ben Flores dug deep to really analyze the types of questions that are going to be on the NEW SAT. Here’s the result of all of his hard work. 

In many ways, preparing for the NEW SAT follows the same process as preparing for any other standardized test—you need to review the concepts you already know and boost your skills in areas you are unfamiliar with.

However, in order to do this efficiently and effectively, you need to know that you’re studying the right material in the right format, which is the challenge presented by taking a test that nobody has ever taken before!

Here at Testive, we have carefully worked through all of the NEW SAT practice tests released by the College Board in order to categorize the questions and align them with the standards presented on the SAT Redesign documents published earlier this year. We are using this analysis to continually improve the alignment of the Testive practice materials with the content of the NEW SAT.

Math: Know Your Algebra

Based on the first four practice tests and the redesign documents published by the College Board, we have found that the NEW SAT Math test is comprised of questions in the following percentages:

Heart of Algebra ~ 36%
Passport to Advanced Mathematics ~ 27%
Problem Solving and Data Analysis ~ 25%
Additional Topics in Mathematics ~ 12%

Algebraic functions and equations—linear equations, systems of equations, and exponential functions—form the basis for the most common question types.

The most significant changes in content percentages come in the form of an increased focus on manipulation and analysis of data…

Problem Solving and Data Analysis ~ 13% ~ 25%

…and decreased focus on geometry…

Geometry ~ 27% ~ 10%

Reading: Finding and Presenting the Evidence

The New SAT Reading Test has a couple of significant changes. The first is that there will be linked questions, in which the student is asked to select evidence to support the answer to a previous question:

Citing Evidence 19%

As you can see, these questions form a significant part of the test! Another big change is the removal of “sentence completion” or “vocabulary in isolation.” Students will no longer be asked to complete sentences or “fill in the blank,” but rather they will be asked to identify the meaning of words or phrases in the context of a whole passage:

Sentence completion ~ 28% 0%
Words and Phrases in Context 0% ~ 14%

Writing: Similar to the ACT English Test

Our analysis of the NEW SAT Writing Test shows that it is remarkably similar to the ACT English Test—the format of the two tests is essentially identical at a question level.

The final major change to the NEW SAT is that all four sections (Reading, Writing, Math/Calculator, and Math/No Calculator) will contain questions that refer to graphics or data tables. In fact, questions that refer to graphics or data tables may form up to 20% of the NEW SAT, so data literacy will be especially important for students taking the NEW SAT.

As they say, knowledge is power! And knowing what the NEW SAT is going to cover in advance gives students an inside look at what they need to focus on to excel at this test. And knowing that Testive is creating questions based on this data is added assurance that if your child preps with us they will be better prepared for test day.

Download our FREE eBook – NEW SAT: Everything You Need to Know to have all of this content in one place. You can also watch our pre-recorded webinar The NEW SAT What it Means for YOU & Why it Matters. 

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