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The College Board's Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) last underwent sweeping changes in 2005.  In 2016, it rolled out a brand new version.  

2016 Changes

  1. Max score of 1600.  In 2005, the SAT introduced a top score of 2400.  It's reversed that decision.  
  2. Guessing is okay.  In the 2016 version, there's no penalty for wrong answers so give it your best shot.  You have a 25% chance of a correct answer.  
  3. Limited choices.  The multiple choice answers used to include five options.  That's been reduced to four in the 2016 version.  
  4. Timing is everything.  There are 16 fewer questions on the entire test, and fewer possible answers to multiple choice questions, so you'll have more time to complete the test.  
  5. Say what?  The new SAT eliminated the obscure vocabulary that was included in its former version. 
  6. A picture's worth a thousand words.  The new SAT has more graphs and charts, which means you'll need to be able to grasp the relevant info presented in a variety of formats.  
  7. Show me the evidence.  In the reading section, the test provides you with a prompt and then asks which piece of evidence from the text best supports that prompt.
  8. Four score and seven years ago.  The reading section includes excerpts from familiar documents like the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights, as well as other important works by famous authors.
  9. Revamped essay section.  The essay no longer is integrated into your writing score. It’s now graded completely separately and, most importantly, is optional.
  10. No more experiments.  Previously, the SAT included a section that would not count toward your score, only you never knew which section that was. These are gone now.

What Hasn't Changed? 

  1. The SAT is designed to assess your problem solving and critical thinking skills.  
  2. It is still English and math based where your verbal and math skills are being tested.   
  3. The SAT is still very challenging.  
  4. It is still a marathon and every test taker must pace themselves in order to read 4,500 words of text, analyze 100 lengthy questions, and take two different math tests all within three hours. Though optional, many will stay an additional 50 minutes to read a 700 word passage, analyze it, then write about it before they cross the finish line.

Why It Matters

The changes require students to change the way they study for the SAT.  

The College Board's web site provides a wealth of information about the SAT, including free and low-cost preparation materials.