SAT Tips and The New SAT

January/February 2016


Once again, the SAT has been revamped. Instead of three separate sections, there are now two: math & evidence-based reading and writing. The new perfect score is a 1600, rather than a 2400, and is made up of a possible 800 points for the math section and 800 points for the reading section. The essay is worth an additional 8 points and is scored based on reading, writing, and additional criteria.

The essay on the previous version of the SAT was mandatory written in 25 minutes. There is now an optional essay,  which you have double the time to complete. It is a written analyzation of an article instead of  a personal piece in response to a prompt. Overall, the SAT is now shorter and allows five minutes breaks between each section. The math section is 80 minutes, the reading section is 65 minutes and the writing section is 35 minutes. There is a 10 minute break between the reading and writing section and, if you choose to write the essay, it would add 50 minutes to the total test time.Also, the new exam only allows you to use a calculator for one portion of the math section unlike than the old SAT, which allowed you to use it for the entire math section.

Test Tips

  • If you are stuck on a question, or don’t quite understand the wording, try mouthing the words or reading the question very quietly to yourself. It may help you think.
  • Pace yourself.
  • Take your time reading and rereading challenging questions and answers. Don’t worry about finishing before others. You are only hurting your own score by rushing through the questions.
  • If you start feeling stressed or anxious, take 60 seconds to calm yourself. Sit up straight, think about things that make you happy (your favorite song, your friends, etc.), and focus on your breathing. After refocus on your test, and try to remember that this one test is not the most important thing in the world.

It’s important to remember that the purpose of a test is only to see what you know. By thinking that it represents anything more important than that may stress you out. So, go into this test (and any other test for that matter) with confidence and don’t look at it as anything other than a test of what you know.


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