Redesigned SAT in 2016

This month, the College Board, creators of the SAT, set out a new design for their test starting in 2016. According to David Coleman, the president of the College Board, the new redesign of the SAT will be a better assessment of college readiness and career as it reflects what is actually taught in today’s high school classrooms. He remarked that the current version of the SAT, and its main rival, the ACT, had both “become disconnected from the work of our high schools” and therefore need an overhaul. Here are the key changes coming to the redesigned SAT in 2016:

  • SAT will return to 1600 point scale.  The two main sections of the redesigned SAT in 2016 will be the Math and Evidence-based Reading and Writing.  Both sections will be scored from a scale of 200-800 points.
  • Evidence-based Reading and Writing section.  Students will be asked to analyze text and data by reading articles and passages with a scientific, historical and social studies context. At times, they will be required to support their answers from evidence based on the reading passages, including answering questions that require them to cite particular parts of a passage to support their answer choice.
  • Math section will contain questions from fewer topics. Questions will focus on three main areas: (i) linear equations, (ii) complex equations or functions, and (iii) ratios, percentages and proportional reasoning. Calculators will be permitted on only part of the math section.
  • Essay section will be optional. Rather than planning, writing and editing a persuasive essay in just 25 minutes after reading an essay prompt, students will be given 50 minutes to read, analyze and explain how the author of a passage builds an argument by supporting their claims with evidence from the text. The passages will be different on each SAT exam, but the essay task will remain constant. The essay will be scored separately from the 1600 point scale.
  • No penalty for incorrect answers. The one-quarter point penalty that students received for each wrong response is being eliminated. In the past students who were able to strategically eliminate incorrect answer choices tended to score higher on the SAT. This change, in the redesigned SAT in 2016, encourages students to take a guess in the hopes of potentially answering questions correctly and thus receive a higher score.
  • Vocabulary shift. Students will no longer need to learn and memorize obscure words, such as “perspicacious.” The redesigned SAT in 2016 replaces those types of words with ones that students are more likely to see in the classroom and in the workplace, such as “synthesis” and “empirical.”

Whether you’re taking the SAT now, in 2016 or thereafter, it’s important to keep up-to-date with the latest information.  At Dolphin Academic Prep, we take the extra step to inform our students and parents of these changes for that the test-taking experience is as seamless and productive as possible. If you have any further questions or would like more information, you can visit the College Board website at or you can contact us at 646.490.5075.   We are here to help you succeed!