The SAT has gone through some renovation, and it’s pretty obvious that the new SAT is very different from the old SAT. There aren’t any penalties for wrong answers, there are four options for the multiple-choice answers instead of five, and there are fewer but longer sections. These sections are Math, Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, and the now-optional essay.
Within the Math Test, there is a 55-minute part where you can use a calculator and a 25-minute section without a calculator. Within the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing Test there is a 65-minute reading section and a 35-minute language and writing section. The optional essay (which you will probably want to take) is now 50 minutes. The new SAT is trying to move away from being a test on how well you can take the SAT and become one that tests you on what you know.
How the New SAT is Graded
The new SAT is on a 1600-point scale rather than a 2400-point scale. There are 800 points for Math and 800 points for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. The optional essay is scored separately. Every time a test occurs, it is graded independently of other tests. This means that you are only compared to the people that took the test on the same day as you.
- Take Practice Tests
The best thing you can do for yourself is take a full-on practice test emulating the settings and the breaks of the real test before you start your studying. That way, you can easily identify your weaknesses right off the bat. After you practice, it’s a good idea to take another full practice test before the actual test, so you can see what kind of score you can expect.
- Figure out what makes you uncomfortable
Beyond the types of questions that were hard, take a look at the whole experience. Were you crunched for time? Were you burnt out by the end of the test? Were you completely flummoxed? If you felt uncomfortable with the whole ordeal, take another practice test and compare your answers. Find specific areas to focus on so you don’t overwhelm yourself.
The most obvious but the hardest thing to do when studying for a big test is to practice the problems that you aren’t good at. To make it easier, make a schedule for yourself. Spread your studying out over the week so you aren’t spending too much time on it every day, but you are completing all the you need to do in order to feel confident for your test. Each sitting, focus on one section or one type of problem. That way, you’ll make the most of your study time.
- Make sure you are getting the right information
With the new SAT, you are going to get a lot of wrong information from your parents, your older friends, and your siblings. Make sure to double check what you hear with the reliable sources like The College Board, Chegg, or Kaplan.
- Stay Healthy
At least 2 weeks before the test, get in the habit of eating good food, getting a full night’s sleep, and drinking lots of water. Most importantly: breathe. The SAT is scary but it isn’t the end of the world. Try your best, and if it goes worse than you expect you can always take it again!
You spend lots of time practicing and preparing for the exam, so get excited! This is your chance to show The College Board just how smart you are and how much you deserve a good score. You are so ready! Go get ‘em!