Professional & Continuing Studies

High school student smiling in a classroom with peers sitting behind her.Meet the new SAT

Yes, that venerable rite of passage for college-bound high school students got a new look and feel recently, beginning with the exams administered in March 2016.

First, relax—the changes made the test more student-friendly in a number of ways.

Here is what you need to know. The new SAT consists of math and reading sections only, scored from 200 to 800 points. An essay section will be optional, and will receive separate scores, from 2 to 8 on three different features of the essay. Moreover, multiple choice questions will consist of four answer choices instead of five, and the much despised “guessing penalty” for wrong answers is eliminated. On the new SAT you should never leave a question blank.

But perhaps most significantly, the content of the new SAT will differ in important ways from the old SAT. Math questions on the new SAT will look more like the kinds of questions you see in your classes. And many problems will be drawn from real-world contexts such as the sciences. Similarly, reading questions will concern passages drawn from sources relevant to your broader classroom experience, including important historic texts. Passage information will also include charts and other diagrams which you will be required to understand and relate to their associated passages. Questions will place additional emphasis on identifying and providing evidence for claims, and less emphasis on vocabulary.

The upshot—the new SAT will feel more familiar and less tricky than the previous test. If you do well on your coursework in high school, chances are, with good preparation, you’ll reach your testing goals on the new SAT.

Learn more at the College Board website for students and parents.

You may be interested in University of Delaware test prep programs.