The New and Improved SAT

By Anna Fan

The Rough Rider (Honolulu, Hawaii)

The new SAT will commence on March 5, 2016. New features include optional essay, no penalty for guessing, and new challenging questions. The old SAT scoring ranged from 800-2400, the new score is from 400-1600.

“More realistic problems with words in the English section that kids will actually use in real life,” Karen Hendrickson, a math SAT preparation instructor, said.

Although the test scoring got lowered, the problems will be more challenging and will require critical thinking. To get a taste of the new SAT, take the practice test on the Collegeboard website and practice even more on Khan Academy.

“Having an optional essay is terrible because writing and reading comprehension are two different skill sets. You have your reading comprehension part, you should have your writing comprehension.” Mrs. Konishi, a Geometry and Algebra II teacher, said.

There are four parts to the SAT. Reading, writing and language, math and optional essay. All sections are multiple choices except for the grid-in in the math section. Each section has a total of 400 points. In the reading section, there will no longer be words you only see once in your lifetime. The math section contains knowledge from Geometry, Algebra, and Trigonometry. Math will require more problem solving because there is a lot of new word problems.

To get a score you want, do all your homework, take a SAT preparation class, ask questions when you don’t know something, and take the practice tests online. What to bring on your test day: approved calculator, #2 pencil, eraser, a photo identification, and your confidence.

“Colleges look at your score from SAT and it increases your chances of getting into the college you want,” sophomore Erin Hayashida said.

Photo Credit: The Rough Rider

About Grace Masback

Grace Masback, 17, aspires to give voice to the voiceless and holds the modest ambition of becoming the voice of Gen Z. Frustrated by the dearth of impactful platforms for teen journalists, she founded WANT, a news, sports, and entertainment website that aggregates the best in high school journalism from school newspapers and teen bloggers around the world (

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