Out with the old and in with the new. The College Board recently has made significant changes to the SAT.  Starting in 2016, students will be required to take the newly modified version of the test.  The process of applying to college often is a source of significant stress for students and their parents.  With these new changes, anxiety is likely to increase from fear of the unknown.  As such, we thought it would be helpful to introduce and briefly review some of the new adjustments to the SAT.  

Structure & Content

The new SAT includes an Evidence-Based Reading and Writing test (65-minute Reading section; 35-minute Language and Writing section) and a Math test (55-minute section with calculator; 25 minute section without calculator).  In addition, there will be an optional essay test (50 minutes), which some colleges will require.  

  • Across tests, the new SAT will have an increase in curriculum-based questions such that more material covered in school will appear on the test.
  • There will be a new emphasis on evidence.  For instance, students will be asked to read passages and decide which part of the text best supports the answer.  Students also will be asked to edit parts of a passage so that they are consistent with information displayed in figures and graphs.
  • For the essay component, the new SAT will require students to read a passage and then discuss how the author is persuading the audience. The essay prompt will remain the same across tests with the passage changing for each new administration.
  • Rather than memorize lengthy lists of vocabulary words, the new SAT will ask students to identify the definition of more commonly used words with multiple meanings based on how the word is used in context.
  • Students will be asked to read and analyze passages from History, Social Studies, Humanities, and Science.
  • The math test will focus on problem solving, data analysis, algebra, and advanced math.
  • Rather than the previous multiple-choice questions with 5 answer choices, the new SAT will have 4 answer choices for multiple-choice questions.


Unlike previous versions of the SAT, there will be no penalty for wrong answers.  Scores will be out of 1600 (800 for Math; 800 for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing)


March 2016: First administration of the redesigned SAT.

If you are interested in receiving support to help your child manage anxiety related to test taking or college admissions, or if your child requires testing to determine their eligibility for accommodations on high stakes exams, contact us at Georgetown Psychology Associates.