Side By Side Comparison: SAT/Revised SAT/ACT – A Preliminary Look

The New SAT vs the Current SAT vs the ACT

A Preliminary Look

Current SATTotal Time/#Questions Revised SAT – Effective For Class of 2017:(this is based on College Board’s 208 page DRAFT Release of Test Specifications for the Redesigned SAT found here:  **Some features of the new test, such as timing, length, and scores to be reported, may still be adjusted pending the outcome of CollegeBoard studiesThis new test will “go live” with the PSAT in the Fall of 2015 – until then, the Current SAT will be the only SAT offered.Total Time/#Questions ACT (With ACT update, reporting will change but the test will remain the same)
Total Time/ #Questions
Math 70min./54 Questions (approx 1/3 emphasis on geometry – includes algebra, sequences, permutations does not include  trig) 800 points 80 min/ 57 Questions(1/10 emphasis on geometry – includes trig,  a lot of algebra functions, algebra 2, area of circle, and complex numbers – more word problems with direct application to real-world events) 800 points 60min/60 Questions (pre-algebra, elementary algebra, intermediate algebra, coordinate geometry, plane geometry, and trigonometry)
Reading 70min/67 Questions (Passage topics are random – includes uncommon vocabulary) 800 points 65 min/52 Questions (Passages will focus on science/history and social science – vocabulary will be tested in context) 400 points 35 min/ 40Questions (Passages broken down into Prose Fiction, Humanities, Social Science and Natural Science)
Writing 60min/49 Questions (called writing)- revision of sentences 800 points 35 min/44 Questions (called writing and language) – revision of passages/may include tables/charts/graphs – 400 points 45 min/75 Questions (called English) – revision of passages
Essay 25min/1 prompt score goes into writing score 50 min/ 1 prompt (optional) – graded separately from final math/reading/writing – will test reading and analysis as well as writing 30 min/ 1 prompt (optional)
Science none (incorporated into reading,writing and math sections) 35 min/ 40 Questions
Total 225 min (3 hours 45 min)/ 171 Questions 220 min (3 hours 50 min)/153 Questions 205 min/215 Questions
Penalty for Guessing? yes no no
Total Possible Points 2400 1600 **big change here in that math will be 800 possible points and reading and writing will be 800 possible points combined – this test places more weight on math than the current SAT – Essay will be scored separately 36
Scores will be broken down by subject and concept no yes yes (there will be more detail with the new ACT reporting)
Calculator allowed for entire math section? yes no yes


Key Points –

  • The Revised SAT very similar to the ACT
  • Math will be more heavily weighted on the Revised SAT
  • EDNavigators recommends that the class of 2017 take the current SAT and/or the ACT because there are too many uncertainties about the format of the new SAT as well as the timing of score releases and concordance tables for the new SAT
  • We will continue to share information we get about test changes as soon as they are available

How to prepare for these tests:

  • READ often
  • Understand math concepts – not just to get a good grade in school, but for yourself – You need to know the concepts after you are tested on them in class. The new SAT puts more weight on Math than the current SAT
  • Put down your calculator!  Practice math without using the calculator.  It won’t be allowed for part of the math section of the SAT
  • There are strategies, but no shortcuts.  Just like anything else in life, success comes from dedication and preparation.

Sandy Aprahamian, EDNavigators LLC