Home > ed > The New SAT Frequently Asked Questions

The New SAT Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions about the New SAT

The changes to the SAT coming in spring of 2016 prompt numerous questions. Below, we’ve gathered some of the most common ones, along with our answers. Read through the below, and always feel free to contact us directly so we can answer your questions.


How do I know which test I should take?

  • Though your college counselor’s recommendations and your child’s academic strengths, schedule, and state testing requirements should be taken into consideration, during this transition period we recommend that students consider preparing for and taking the ACT. The ACT is a known test on which your child will know exactly what to expect, and prep will not need to be completed on an accelerated schedule.


    Consider taking an ACT practice test before school starts to get a feel for the test format, content, pacing and scoring. Does it feel like the right test? If yes, you can begin planning the prep schedule. If no, your child should take the PSAT in October and/or a practice test for the New SAT.

    Though concordance tables for the ACT and the New SAT won’t be available until spring 2016, we have provided some basic information regarding how the ACT compares to the New SAT here, and our enrollment team is available to answer any questions that you may have. Simply call us at 1-87STUDYPOINT (1-877-883-9764).

    Because the Old SAT requires testing earlier than we typically advise for juniors, this option is not recommended for most students; however, if your child is academically advanced and scored well on the PSAT, then this option may be suitable. If you and your child feel that the Old SAT is the right option, the time to prepare is in the summer and fall of 2015.

Does it matter if I take the New SAT, SAT or ACT?

  • For students in the Class of 2017, colleges will likely accept any of these three tests; however, we recommend verifying this with each institution your child is considering applying to in order to be absolutely certain. If each school will accept any of these three exams, your child should work to determine which test he or she will perform best on. Our Enrollment Team is also available to discuss your child’s specific strengths and weaknesses to help determine which test may be the best fit, and you can reach them at 1-87STUDYPOINT (1-877-883-9764).


    Students in the Class of 2018 and beyond will be able to submit scores from the ACT and New SAT; however, many schools have not yet made a decision as to whether or not they will accept scores from the Old SAT if students are in the Class of 2018 or later. As a result, we recommend preparing for and taking the ACT and/or New SAT if your child is in the Class of 2018 or later.

Will colleges take the old version of the SAT for the class of 2017?

  • Most likely. However, we do recommend that for each college your child is considering you verify whether they will accept the test by contacting the school admissions office directly.

What is a good score on the New SAT?

  • Though we know the new SAT will have a maximum score of 1600 points, we do not yet know how that compares to the current version of the SAT, and therefore how it compares to generally accepted averages for the current SAT. We do know that numerical scores from the current and new versions will not be strictly equivalent. In May of 2016 the College Board will release a concordance table that compares the new, redesigned SAT to the current version of the SAT, and at that time we should have a better idea of the significance of new SAT scores.

How will the scoring work on the New SAT?

  • The new SAT will have a total composite score, ranging from 400 – 1600. This will be determined by adding together the scores from the two separate sections, Math & Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. The optional Essay section will be scored on a scale of 2 – 8, but will not count towards the overall composite score. The College Board will also offer additional scores that emphasize certain aspects of the test and will serve as indications of a student’s strengths and areas for improvement. There will be test scores available for Reading, Writing & Language, and Math; cross-test scores available for analysis in science and analysis in history/social studies; and subscores available for seven sub-areas. Learn more about the scoring here.

Will the New SAT be more difficult than the old SAT?

  • While it is hard to say for sure whether the new SAT will be more difficult, there are a number of changes and overall shift of focus in the redesigned test, and depending on the student they may find it more or less difficult. While the old SAT is a reasoning-based test, the new SAT will shift to focus more on content (similar to the ACT). In addition, the new SAT will be two major sections instead of three. This does mean that math will now account for 50% of a student’s score on the new SAT, and so a strong math student may benefit from this. In addition, the new SAT will focus more on command of evidence, or a student’s ability to interpret, synthesize, and use evidence found in a wide range of sources. There will also be an emphasis on problems grounded in real-world contexts. This includes the addition of charts, graphs, and passages that students will likely encounter in science and social sciences courses. Regardless of the difficulty, being prepared and having a good plan is a student’s best defense against the test, and we encourage you to contact our enrollment team at 1-87STUDYPOINT (1-877-883-9764) to discuss the changes and your child’s individual situation.

What will be easier: the New SAT or the ACT?

  • Though the tests are becoming more aligned in format and content, some students may find that they perform better on one test versus the other, but neither test is necessarily easier than the other. However, given the unknowns surrounding the New SAT, during this transition period we recommend that students consider preparing for and taking the ACT.


    The ACT is a known test on which your child will know exactly what to expect, but there are some key differences between the two tests that one should also consider. For example, math will make up 50% of your child’s New SAT score, while math is only 25% of your child’s ACT score. Thus, students who are particularly strong in math may want to consider preparing for and taking the New SAT. Another difference between the two tests is that the ACT contains a science reasoning section. This section is not a test of one’s knowledge of scientific facts; instead, students must interpret and evaluate research summaries and data. You can read more about the differences between the ACT and New SAT here, and our Enrollment Team is available to discuss which test may be the best fit based on your child’s strengths and weaknesses. You can reach our Enrollment Team at 1-87STUDYPOINT (1-877-883-9764).

Can you use a calculator on the new SAT and the ACT?

  • The new SAT math section will be divided into two parts: one section that allows calculator use, and one section that does not allow calculators. The ACT math section does allow the use of calculators, and you can find information on the types of calculators allowed here.

When will the scales be available for the new SAT?

  • Concordance scales to compare the new SAT to old SAT scores, as well as to ACT scores, will be available in May 2016. That may change, so we encourage checking the College Board website to receive up-to-date information.

Share This Information:

StudyPoint is a national leader in one-to-one, in-home test prep and academic tutoring. The test-taking techniques and strategies taught in our SAT tutoring and ACT tutoring programs enable students to earn higher test scores and gain admissions to competitive colleges and universities. Our expert subject tutors and personalized lesson plans help students earn better grades and become happier, more confident students. Whether you're looking for a math tutor, or any other type of academic tutoring, StudyPoint can help. To learn about tutoring programs in your area, feel free to contact us for more information.

About StudyPoint

StudyPoint offers private, in-home SAT, PSAT, ACT & SSAT tutoring. Our staff also includes expert math, science, foreign language, and writing tutors.

Download for free!



Our newsletter is designed to offer you grade- and season- specific information that will help you navigate and stay on top of the college admissions process. We need high school graduation year to provide you with timely, relevant information. You can unsubscribe at any time.