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SAT Redesign 2016

March 23rd, 2015

We had so many thoughts about the redesigned SAT that we decided to start a blog about it!  If you're a parent of a current Sophomore (class of 2017), a current Sophomore yourself, or just generally curious about what these guys are facing over the next year – head to to read more.

December 10, 2014

With PSAT scores being returned between now and Christmas break, many sophomores are receiving their scores and coming to grips with their testing futures.  This is a normal pre-Christmas phenomenon.  But for this particular set of 10th graders, the graduating class of 2017, the experience is a little more nerve-racking because this group is facing the prospect of a new SAT next year.

Because the College Board has yet to release full sample exams (that will occur in the spring), there is still some uncertainty about the new test.  But here's what we do know.  The new test will feature slightly less vocabulary, slightly more reading comprehension, much more Algebra, and much less Geometry.  It will have an optional essay and place a greater emphasis on "evidence" and solving problems that simulate "real-world" situations.

These changes are significant but do not represent a dramatic re-imagination of the SAT.  As a matter of fact, they reflect a longstanding trend that we've observed since the '80s. The SAT has been gradually getting less "gamesy" (do you remember Analogies?) and more "school-ish" (do you like functions?).

The fundamental question at hand is: how should sophomores plan for it?

For starters, it's helpful to consider the timeline of these changes.  The redesigned PSAT will debut in October 2015 for current sophomores, and the redesigned SAT will be unveiled in March 2016.  Given this timing, sophomores will have the luxury and burden of choice. They can take the current version of the SAT next October/November/December/January; they can wait until next spring for the redesigned test; or they can try their hand at the old test before trying the newer one later on.  One thing we're confident about--the College Board will be releasing concordance tables to help students and colleges compare current SAT scores (out of 2400) with redesigned ones (out of 1600).  So people will be able to make accurate comparisons.


  • Why take the current test?  If you are someone who would normally take the SAT in the fall of 11th grade--because you are a relatively strong tester hoping to get a head start, or an athlete who needs to submit scores to coaches, or a student with a free summer--the current SAT is probably for you. You might reason that it doesn't make sense to wait unnecessarily long for a new test that you know less about.  And if your results on the current test are where you want them to be, you may be able to finish your testing in the fall and never even deal with the redesigned SAT.


  • Why wait for the redesigned test?  If you are someone who would normally take the SAT in the spring of 11th grade--because you have intense academic or extracurricular commitments in the fall, or need more time to brush up on an academic subject, or simply aren't ready to get started--the redesigned SAT is probably for you.  You might tell yourself that there is no reason to rush your testing to prepare for an exam that will be gone in a few months.  Wait it out, start studying for the redesigned test in the winter, and target the March and/or May SAT.  


Either route is perfectly fine!  What's important is that the decision is a measured one.  Talk to your parents, teachers, and advisors.  Whether you jump on the current SAT or wait out the redesigned one, the best thing to do now is nothing!  Apply yourself at school and find some free time to read on your own.  And if you would like assistance with this decision, contact us.