The old SAT vs the New SAT

The New SAT: What’s new?

The old SAT and the New SAT: A comparison


Category The Old SAT The New SAT
Total Testing Time (excluding breaks) 3 hours and 45 minutes excluding breaks 3 hours without Essay 3 hours and 50 minutes with Essay (optional) Excluding breaks
Components Critical Reading Writing Mathematics (Calculator allowed) Essay Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (Comprising two tests – a Reading Test and a Writing and Language Test) Math (One “calculator not allowed” section and another “calculator allowed” section) Essay (optional)
Reasoning skills tested Emphasis on general reasoning skills Continued emphasis on reasoning alongside a clearer, stronger focus on the knowledge, skills, and understandings most important for college and career readiness and success
Vocabulary Emphasis on vocabulary, often in limited contexts Greater emphasis on the meaning of words in context
Math Content No Trigonometry, no Complex Numbers Will include advanced math involving Trigonometry and Complex Numbers
Use of Calculator Calculator permitted in every math section Calculator allowed only in the longer of the two math sections
Number of Answer Choices per question( For Multiple Choice Questions ) 5 answer choices per question 4 answer choices per question
Scoring Complex scoring (a point for a correct answer and a deduction for an incorrect answer; blank responses have no impact on scores) Rights-only scoring (no penalty for incorrect answers)
Essay Mandatory first section of the test (25 minutes, timed)
Test takers required to respond to a short prompt by providing personal opinion with supporting examples/ reasons
Optional (50 minutes, timed).
Test takers will be provided a source text (600–700 words) and asked to analyze how the author built the argument using persuasive techniques.
Score Reporting No official composite score
Scale ranging from 200 to 800 for each subject
Essay score contributed to the Writing score
Composite Score ranging from 400 to 1600
Score ranging from 200 to 800 for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing; 200 to 800 for Math; 2 to 8 for each of the three traits for Essay – Reading, Analysis, and Writing
Essay scores reported separately
Test Scores, Cross-test Scores, and Sub Scores None 3 test scores (10-40 each), 2 cross-test scores (10-40 each), and 7 sub-scores (1-15 each) -- providing added insight for students, parents, admission officers, educators, and counselors

The old SAT and the New SAT: Time and number of questions compared

While the overall time per question will remain about the same, certain sections of the test will pose time-pressure.


The Old SAT The New SAT
  Time Allotted (minutes) Number of Questions   Time Allotted (minutes) Number of Questions
Critical Reading 70 67 Reading 65 52
Writing 60 49 Writing and Language 35 44
Mathematics 70 54 Math 80 58
Experimental 25 varied TOTAL 180 154
Essay 25 1 task Essay (optional) 50 1 task
TOTAL 250 170 + Essay Task
+ Experimental questions*
* Number of questions depended on the experimental section


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