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SAT Prep & Practice Tests
With the start of 2016, the SAT has once again changed to meet the needs of students looking to gain entry into the college of their choice.
Possibly the largest change to the SAT format in 2016 has been the method for scoring the tests. When the SAT originally was created, it was scored out of a total of 1600 points. As the test changed and the essay portion was added, the score rose to a total of 2400 points. The point breakdown was three possible areas with a total highest score of 800 each: Math, Reading Comprehension and Writing. The update this year brings the total score of the SAT back down to 1600, with the essay becoming an optional portion. The new test has two overall categories, each with a total possible score of 800: Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing.
On the SAT, each individual question is typically worth one point total. Prior to the changes, students would be penalized for wrong answers by losing one fourth of a point per each incorrect answer. However, the changed test now allows for a "no wrong answer penalty
", meaning any incorrect answer does not take points away from the total overall score. This is very similar to the ACT test, where omitted answers and incorrect answers do not hurt the final score. This allows for less stress on the students for fear of loss of points for incorrect answers.
The questions themselves have changed as well. Prior to 2016, each question provided five possible answer choices for each multiple-choice question. With the new test, each multiple-choice question now only has four possible answers, giving students a better chance in narrowing down answers when a tough question arises.
SAT Test Format
The new SAT format is broken down into two major test portions. The math test has two sections: a 55-minute section which allows the use of a calculator and a 25-minute section without the use of a calculator. The Evidence-Based Reading and Writing test has two sections as well: a 65-minute reading section and a 35-minute language and writing section. The new questions and information allow students to be tested on in-depth analysis of content and evidence-based reasoning, not simply on a wide range of general information.
A major new development for the SAT test has been the move toward technology-friendly test taking. Unlike the old SAT, the 2016 SAT test is now offered both on paper and in a digital format. The use of calculators is also permitted, but only for one portion of the math test; the old format allowed for use the entire time in the math section.
The essay portion, which was added to the SAT in 2005, is now optional for students taking the test. The essay was originally part of the writing score total, combined with multiple choice questions, and was based on a provided prompt from which students could respond with personal opinion and supporting experiences. With the new changes, students are given a passage to read and analyze using persuasive writing to describe an author's motives and techniques. The optional essay also allows for 50 minutes to read and write the piece, while the original time was only 25 minutes.
- SAT scores are valid for 5 years
- Most students take SAT test once or twice. Collegeboard doesn't recommend to take more than twice.