The SAT forms a critical part of many high school students’ college applications. If you are a such a student looking ahead to this important exam and considering how you can start bolstering the abstract reasoning skills it tests, you should familiarize yourself with the new elements of the 2016 Revised SAT. While the Revised SAT and its predecessor test similar skills, the manner in which these skills are tested varies notably. Being aware of what you will be expected to accomplish on each section of the Revised SAT is a good first step in preparing yourself to earn the best score you can.
Perhaps the changes that one first notices when comparing the Revised SAT with the previous version of the exam is the fact that the College Board has altered the core structure of the test. No longer will students be presented with the familiar Critical Reading and Writing Skills sections; instead, these two sections have been replaced by a Reading test and a Writing and Language test, both of which together form the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section. No similar dramatic structural changes have been made to the Mathematics section, but the essay section is no longer mandatory. Keep in mind that even though the SAT no longer requires students to complete the essay section, that doesn’t mean that certain colleges and universities won’t continue to require it.
The scoring scale used by the College Board in grading the 2016 Revised SAT is also notably different from the scale with which students may be familiar. Instead of receiving composite scores on a scale of 600 to 2400, students will receive such scores on a scale of 400 to 1600. In addition, students will receive subscores with their 2016 Revised SAT results, which the previous version of the test did not include.
Perhaps more importantly than the way in which scores are reported is a change to the way in which the Revised SAT is graded. The older version of the test penalized students for wrong answers by deducting a quarter of a point from their score; the revised version of the test does away with this penalty. What does this mean for test-takers’ strategies? Guessing can no longer hurt your score, so you should aim to answer every question on a section instead of strategizing about which questions to skip.
Other changes to the SAT in the 2016 Revised version of the test include a stronger focus on students’ abilities to analyze data, whether it is presented in the form of tables and charts or historical documents. Tables and charts will make an appearance in the new Reading section, and certain questions on this section will test students’ abilities to support their assertions about a passage with evidence taken directly from it. Other questions will ask students to work with passages and associated graphics with regard to continuity between multiple sources. The essay section will feature a different focus from years past; students will be presented with an argumentative passage which they will be asked to analyze. Whether you need top SAT tutors in New York, SAT tutors in Chicago, or SAT tutors in Los Angeles, working with a pro may take your studies to the next level.
Studying for the 2016 Revised SAT may be more challenging in years past due to the relatively unfamiliarity of students with the new ways in which questions are being presented and skills are being tested; however, the core skills the test aims to measure remain the same, and one can still augment these skills with persistent review. Varsity Tutors provides free SAT review resources through its Learning Tools database that can help you structure your studying plan and work to review each concept and skill tested. Our free SAT flashcards are available to help you study where and when it is most convenient for you in a way that lets you focus on the topics you most need to review. Each flashcard features one practice question, its correct answer, and a complete explanation of how to approach and solve the problem. Varsity Tutors also offers resources like a free SAT prep book to help with your self-paced study, or you may want to consider an SAT tutor. In addition to the SAT flashcards and SAT tutoring, you may also want to consider taking some of our SAT practice tests. Combining our SAT flashcards with our other free SAT resources puts a suite of powerful tools at your disposal that can help you as you prepare yourself to achieve the best scores you can.