The New 2016 SAT

The New 2017 SAT

The College Board recently made changes to the SAT format and scoring. These changes were made in order to better reflect the level of reading and math students will encounter in college. The following table provides an in-depth comparison of the tests:

Old SAT New SAT
Grading 600-2400 400-1600*
Timing 3 hours 45 minutes 3 hours (Optional Essay Section: 50 minutes)
Sections Critical Reading (200-800)
Writing (200-800)
Math (200-800)
Essay (Included in Writing score)
Evidence-Based Reading and Writing
Math
Optional Essay (Graded separately)
Guessing Penalty ¼ point penalty for each wrong answer No penalty for guessing
Format Available in print Available in print or computer

*Sub-scores for sections and cross-test scores are available

The majority of the changes made to the SAT were designed to make the test more accessible and practical for students. For example, the reading and writing sections will also test vocabulary students are more likely to use outside the SAT. Additionally, the new SAT has eliminated the ¼ point penalty for each incorrect answer. The elimination of the penalty for wrong answers or guessing will help encourage students to try answering every question on the exam. The essay section has also been revised. Unlike the previous format which required students to write an original argument, the new essay section requires students to write essays in response to provided evidence.

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