A High Schooler’s Perspective on the New SAT

As a rising junior I plan to take the SAT this October. Along with studying the subject matter on the exam, I decided to learn a little bit more about its new format. Let’s explore the differences between the Old and New SAT.

Say good riddance to rare words like “obsequious” and “scintillating”. However, multiple meaning words like “dull” will be tested. So having a vast knowledge of medium-difficulty, multi-meaning words will be useful on this test. The essay portion is now optional, longer (50 min), and given at the end of the SAT. It will test reading, analysis, and writing skills; individual colleges determine whether they will require the essay for admission. The math section limits the use of calculators to certain questions and will include more data interpretation and graph related questions. Another big change is the grading. There is now no penalty for guessing and scores can ranges from 400 to 1600. Altogether there are 154 questions, there are 17 less than the old version.

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So what does this all mean? Are all students going to score higher and receive a greater number of college acceptance letters? Well, we don’t know that for sure. But what we do know is that more than 463,000 test-takers signed up to take the New SAT this past March, including rising seniors at Stuyvesant High School: Catie and Harvey. Harvey felt that the reading comprehension was the hardest part of the test, while Catie thought that she was underprepared for the optional essay portion. They agreed that the vocab was fairly simple and that most questions were straightforward. However, Harvey felt that the math section got increasingly difficult as the test progressed. While Catie thought that it was uncomplicated, and thinks that the one or two questions she missed were probably careless mistakes.

Overall, the New SAT is just like any other test. Hard work and studying will guarantee a good score. Be sure to check out our study guide or take our free practice test available online. Practice makes perfect!

-Jacqueline Moshkovich, Ivy Global Intern (Stuyvesant High School, ’18)


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