What to Expect from the New 2016 SAT

What to Expect from the New 2016 SAT

What to Expect from the New 2016 SAT

The College Board has implemented some major changes to the SAT that will take effect March 2016. The changes feature a new test structure, changes to administering the test, new times and new scoring methods. Unlike the current version of the SAT, there’s an increased focus on critical thinking, problem solving and data analysis. There are six key areas of the test where students will see the most changes to the SAT.


Currently, the SAT has a top score of 2400 with one-fourth penalty for wrong answers; however, the 2016 SAT has a top score of 1600 with a no wrong-answer penalty. While the math score will remain 800, the score for reading comprehension and writing are replaced with an 800 for evidence-based reading and writing with sub-scores, insight scores and an optional essay that’s scored separately. The new scoring system provides more in-depth reports to highlight individual strengths and weaknesses.


The current anatomy section of the SAT consists of critical reading, math and writing sections with a time cap of 25 minutes per section, including a 25 minute essay, an experimental test and 5 answer options for multiple choice questions. The 2016 SAT features a complete restructure of the anatomy section with one evidence-based reading and writing test consisting of a 65 minute reading section and a 35 minute language and writing section.


Currently, the SAT is a 3 hour 45 minute printed test with a broad focus on content and skills. The 2016 test is available in print and digitally with fewer questions and a tighter focus on the analysis of content and evidence. Students have 3 hours to complete the test with an additional 50 minutes permitted to complete the optional essay.


The essay portion of the SAT is currently required, which combines the essay score with the multiple-choice writing section. Now, the essay is optional. Students have 50 minutes to analyze a 650-700 word document to draft an essay, which is scored separately using the student’s text reading, analysis and writing skills.


The current SAT focuses on an array of topics with a strong emphasis on computational skills. Under the 2016 SAT, the focus is narrowed to include problem solving and data analysis, “Passport to Advanced Math” and the “Heart of Algebra” to solve real-world problems with informational graphs. The first math section is 55 minutes and permits the use of a calculator while the 25 minute math section doesn’t. Under the changes, there are only 4 answers for multiple choice questions.

Critical Reading

Evidence-based reading for reading comprehension of U.S. and World Literature, History/Social Studies and Sciences will replace the current critical reading and writing section of the SAT. The writing and language arts section now includes the “Expression of Ideas” and “Standard English Conventions” from passages relating to Careers, History/Social Studies, Humanities and Science.

Students must be prepared for the changes to the 2016 SAT. San Diego Virtual School can help inform students about the changes, as well as assist with test taking tips and procedures.


“Class of 2017, the SAT is Changing” Kaplan

“The SAT in 2016” Ivy Global