The SAT Redesigned

Starting May 7th, 2016, the CollegeBoard released internationally their redesigned version of the SAT. Cheers from students all over the world who prefered analyzing the level of colloquial English we are all familiar with resounded throughout the SAT- taking world.

What’s so different about the new SAT, you ask?

If you haven’t heard already, here’s the breakdown.

What’s New on the New SAT

It’s out of 1600 points.

The old SAT separated its 2400 points into 800 points per section, the essay’s grades following under the English writing section. The new SAT… well it’s a bit more complicated to explain.

Here’s an infographic I stole from KhanAcademy to better illustrate my point.


Don’t get it? Don’t fret neither do I, really.

There is no penalty for incorrect answers.

Previously, you would lose 1/4 of a point for each incorrect answer. Now, you lose absolutely none. Which kind of does make sense because in the real world you don’t get awarded points for your incorrect answer, but you also don’t lose any. Your dignity maybe, and usually your self-confidence and self-worth, but not points.

The math extends to pre-calculus. 

Remember when you decided not to pay attention during trigonometry because you were sleepy and “Hey, I just need to know how to work with variables for the SAT.”? Well, not anymore. Please remember simple trigonometry.

There is a no calculator section in the math. 

Previously, the entire SAT math section had you keep your trusted calculator beside you to help you out whenever – now, not so much. You really do have to work on your mental math and logic for this. Don’t fret, it’s not uber hard. Personally, I love Paper 1 exams in IB math, so I enjoyed the no calculator section because I get confused easily by calculators.

It lasts for only 3 hours (without the essay).

It used to be a 3 hours and 45 minute ordeal, but now – unless you take the extra 50 minutes for the essay, it’s much shorter!

The essay is optional and no more prompt based. 

The essay is an analytical essay, contrasting the previous creative persuasive essay choosing a side of a prompt. The essay scores will be shown separately on the report and are based on three criteria: Reading, Analysis, Writing. I did not like this one bit. 

 The English is no more filled with arduous analyzation of vocabulary in context. 

Yeah, there is no vocabulary that is on a higher level than anything used by students in usual essays sent to teachers. It’s practical, I guess, but I miss the old vocabulary that would have you racking your brains. 

First Reactions

On Saturday, KIS students sat the new SAT for the first time ever. Here’s some of the first reactions from our students:

“It’s much better than the old SAT, and doesn’t give you as much of a headache. It doesn’t test you on weird things you never learned, and is much more in line with what you’re already doing all the time in the classroom “- Ken

“It was good. Maths was easy. Verbal reasoning was a bit tricky”. -Manu

“I appreciate how math and languages are now both weighted equally on the test, compared to how there was a much larger emphasis on language in the previous SAT.” – Por

“Math was easy, English was hell.” -Turbo

“I actually quite liked the English section; Reading and Writing were both much easier. I felt the Math section was harder however, although the [now optional] essay section is much easier. I think I did okay on it!” -Anush

“Sat down (see what I did there) and got ready for the test. 3 hours went by in a flash…. I must say , it wasn’t as bad as I thought. I really liked the fact how I could guess unlike the previous SAT but overall I must say, the test went pretty well. For my first attempt , I am happy. To all my classmates and possible 9th graders, do not worry because it ain’t that bad.” – Abhi

“I hate the new essay so much. Thanks CollegeBoard, for taking out the one thing I love. Clearly you’ve succumbed to the standardization of the world – reducing creativity”  – Ashe

Overall, the reaction to the new SAT seems positive. We’ll find out how students really did in June once scores come out.

It’s better to start preparing for the SAT sooner than later. If you wanna practice, start now at


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