How to Prepare for the New SAT

Instructor: Carrie Soucy
The new SAT includes changes to overall structure and scoring, but the best way to prepare for the test remains unchanged: study, practice, repeat. Read on for an overview of the exam and resources to help you prepare for it.

Preparing for the New SAT

Because the new SAT emphasizes knowledge within practical contexts, students are advised to focus on their analytical mathematics, reading, writing and language skills when preparing for the exam. Preparatory studies should include:

  • Understanding words within a context, rather than strictly by definition
  • Interpreting written arguments, tables, and graphs, and providing evidence-based answers based on their analysis of that information
  • Mathematics-based problem solving and data analysis
  • Algebraic equations
  • Practical applications of geometry and trigonometry

Snapshot of the New SAT

Test Version Sections Scoring Range
New Evidence-Based Reading, Writing and Language; Math, Optional Essay 400 - 1600
Old Critical Reading, Writing, Math, Required Essay 600 - 2400

Note: Test-takers should give every question their best shot, as there is no longer a penalty for wrong answers on the new SAT exam.

Prep Tips and Resources

  • Read. Because the reading, writing and essay sections of the new SAT emphasize analysis of historical documents and famous works, test-takers are encouraged to delve into non-fiction literature.'s SAT Reading: Prep & Practice course offers videos, lessons and quizzes to help students prepare.
  • Utilize Practice Exams and Review Courses. The College Board provides free practice tests to help test-takers prepare for the new SAT. Each student may take four practice SATs in advance of their test date., meanwhile, offers a comprehensive SAT Prep: Practice & Study Guide course that features 30 subject-specific practice exams.
  • Polish Practical Applications of Mathematics. Preparation courses such as's SAT Math Prep: Review & Practice offer lessons, instructional videos and quizzes that help students hone practical math skills.
  • Focus on Analytical Writing Skills. Preparation courses that emphasize analytical writing will be helpful for the essay, reading and writing sections of the exam.'s self-paced SAT Writing Section: Prep & Practice course, for example, provides video lessons and quizzes to help develop key writing skills.

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