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Get Ready for the New SAT Test

Pencil on testAre you ready for the new SAT test? Since March 5, 2016, it has been ready for you. High school juniors planning to take the SAT in June should register now. Also take time to familiarize yourself with the new format.

The new SAT will be heavy on reading—even in the math sections. If there’s one skill most important to brush up on, it’s focused reading. Here’s an overview of the test, according to the College Board and other sources.

1. Evidence-Based Reading and Writing

Reading Test – You’ll be asked to read passages from texts about many subjects, including literature, politics, history, science and the social sciences. Some of these passages will include informational graphics.

After reading the passages and looking at the graphics, you’ll be asked to answer questions that test your ability to understand what you have read and to make deductions based on the information. This tests your ability to use evidence to reach conclusions, as well to understand how authors use evidence to support their assertions. It also tests your ability to see the connections between informational graphics and the passages they illustrate.

Writing and Language Test – In this section, you’ll be asked to read passages, find the mistakes and weaknesses in them and fix them. This is similar to the editorial work you will do on your own papers in college. All the questions will be multiple choice and will be based on the passages. Some will require you to interpret informational graphs or charts.

One purpose of this section of the test is to measure your ability to marshal and organize evidence in a way that sharpens an argument. It also assesses your ability to use words appropriately in context.

2.  Math Test

Math – This will ask you to work on a variety of math questions to test your ability to solve problems, use tools and models and put the principles of algebra to work. Many questions will involve word problems. To do well on the math test, you must be adept at problem solving and data analysis, including algebra that uses linear equations. You will also be tested on the basics necessary for advanced math, including trigonometry, statistics and the manipulation of complex equations.

Most of the math questions will be multiple choice, although some will ask you to come up with the answer, rather than select one. The math test will be divided into two sections: one for which you are allowed to use a calculator and one for which you are not.

3.  SAT Essay (optional)

If you think you may be applying to one or more colleges that require the SAT essay, you’ll need to take this test. If not, you can skip it. Be sure to check the test requirements at the schools you’re considering before making your decision. Click here for a list of some.

However, it’s worth noting that the skills tested in this section of the SAT are important ones to master, if you want to succeed at any college. Whether or not you decide to take this part of the SAT, make certain you have these skills under your belt before graduating from high school.

Essay prompt – The essay prompt will ask you to read a passage and then analyze how the author builds an argument and supports his or her claims. You will be asked to write a persuasive essay that analyzes the passage and the techniques the author uses. You’ll need to support your own argument by citing evidence from the passage. You will have 50 minutes to complete your essay.

How the new SAT is scored and structured

Including the essay, the SAT will run 3 hours and 50 minutes. Unlike the old SAT, which offered five options on multiple choice questions, the new SAT will only offer four. That means your chances are better. There will be no penalty for guessing. Each section of the test will be scored on a scale of 200-to-800.

For more information about the new SAT test, visit the site of The College Board, the organization that offers this test.

For more advice about the SAT and the college application process, contact the College Strategist.