High School

What should you know about the new SAT?

By Diane Schwemm

By now you’ve heard that the SAT is changing — the “new” SAT will debut on March 5, 2016.

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High School Parent | College Parent

This won’t impact seniors who have taken the current (“old”) SAT and/or the ACT and will submit those scores with their college applications.

If you have a younger student, though — and particularly if you’re the parent of a junior — you probably have questions, and you should, because the SAT is changing a lot. If your student will take both the old and new SAT, how will scores be compared by colleges? How does the new SAT stack up against the ACT and how do you decide which test might play more to your student’s strengths? The essay is optional on the new SAT — should your student write it?

Here are some resources to help you quickly find the information you need.

The new SAT and essay

The College Board’s own website is a good place to start. “Inside the Test” is their guide to the new SAT and it explains the content and skills that are covered and includes sample questions for each test (Reading, Writing and Language, Math).

The SAT essay has been redesigned and now is an optional section of the test. When registering for the new SAT (the March 2016 test date or any date after), your student will need to choose whether to take the SAT or SAT with Essay.

story-icon-bar-convo-3Khan Academy partners with the College Board to offer free, personalized official SAT test preparation.

Just as many colleges require or recommend the ACT with the optional Writing section, now they must indicate a preference regarding the SAT. See a list of schools and new SAT essay policies (“Require,” “Recommend” or “Neither require nor recommend”) here. Check back if a school you’re looking for isn’t listed; not every college has decided yet and the list will be updated.

Find out if a college requires/recommends the ACT with Writing here.

Comparing college admissions tests

We are grateful to Applerouth Tutoring Services for permitting us to share their outstanding infographic comparing the current SAT, new SAT and ACT. To download the full Test Comparison Guide, click here or on the image below:

Click to access the full graphic.


Still have questions?

Berkeley-based online test prep company Magoosh.com’s “Guide to the New SAT for HS Guidance Counselors” is an excellent resource for families too, with straightforward answers to your FAQs about superscoring, test prep, and more. Read the guide by clicking here.

And browse the UniversityParent content library!

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