The new SAT 2016 will first be administered in March 2016 in the United States, and it will be offered in May 2016 in Turkey and throughout the world. The redesigned PSAT was offered for the first time in October 2015.
No, the tests will not be offered at the same time. The last test date for the current SAT was January 23, 2016, and from now on, every test will be the new SAT.
If you choose to take both versions of the SAT, you’ll study the same skills – math, vocabulary, and grammar – but you’ll be developing strategies for two different tests. Because the new SAT is different in format, timing, and scoring, you’ll need to adjust your approach to the test, using the information you know in a different way. The College Board will release a score comparison chart so universities can compare the two tests.
All SAT scores are valid for two years, so students should be able to take the last of the current SATs in January 2016 and still use those scores when they apply to schools in the fall of 2016 and 2017. Check with your counselor to make sure this applies to you and your applications.
The new SAT 2016 will have fewer questions and focus more on concepts, but this does not mean that the test will be easier or more difficult. The test will give fewer questions in less time, but these questions will require a lot more reading than the current test requires, and some students may have trouble reading fast enough to answer the questions. However, fewer answers and a lack of penalty for wrong answers may make guessing easier for students.
Yes, students will still be required to study vocabulary. Although the College Board will not be testing students on unnecessarily difficult words, this will still be a test of sophisticated English for native speakers of English. Many students will need to study upper-intermediate to advanced vocabulary and understand the possible meanings of the words in various contexts. There are many definitions for the same word, and students will need to find the best definition for the context. Students will need to study these words, keeping in mind that this test will still be considered difficult for native speakers of English. TESTED, a vocabulary novel produced by TIPPS, can help students develop the skill of understanding an unfamiliar word using only the context to help them deduce the word’s meaning. You can find it in all major bookstores and at tippsonline.com/shop.
There will still be a multiple-choice writing section, and the questions will focus on grammar. However, these questions, rather individual, isolated questions, will appear in paragraph form. Students will need to study grammar rules, but they will also need to be aware of how a sentence should fit into a paragraph. These questions will be very similar to the current “Improving Paragraphs” questions at the end of the writing section. There will also be questions that indirectly test students on vocabulary by asking them to choose the best word to express a particular idea.
A calculator will still be allowed on many of the math questions, but the SAT 2016 will have some questions on which a calculator will not be permitted.
The essay is optional, but some universities may still require students to write one. Currently, the ACT’s essay is also optional, and universities list whether they require the ACT essay or not on their websites. They will do the same for the SAT’s optional essay.
Certain universities will still consider superscores. Of course, universities themselves will continue to decide how to calculate and evaluate superscores.