The New SAT Math Section

Instructor: Carrie Soucy
The new SAT math section has a revised emphasis and contributes more to a student's overall SAT score than its pre-2016 predecessor. Learn about the content, focus and structure of the math section in the new SAT.

New SAT Math Content

The math section of the new SAT is designed to assess not only high school students' mathematical knowledge, but also their ability to apply problem-solving, modeling and other skills practically. Questions measure a student's mastery of the math they will need in college and the workplace, focusing on mathematical fluency and conceptual understanding in several key areas, including:

  • Algebra
  • Complex Equations
  • Data Analysis

Types of Questions

The new math section places a greater emphasis on word problems rather than equations. Calculators are allowed for one set of questions and prohibited for another. Seventy-eight percent of questions are in a multiple-choice format, and the remainder are grid-in. Unlike the old SAT, test-takers are not penalized for wrong answers, so students should attempt to answer all questions.

New vs. Old SAT Math Sections

Test VersionLengthNumber of QuestionsPossible Score Percentage of Total SAT Score
New SAT 80 minutes 58 200 - 800 33%
Pre-2016 SAT 70 minutes 54 200 - 800 50%

How You Can Prepare

Students preparing for the SAT will benefit from first refreshing basic math skills learned in school. To ready themselves for the new practical emphasis of the SAT, test-takers may utilize prep courses that focus on the new math section. Study.com's online SAT math prep course provides valuable practice tests and has 13 chapters tailored to the new SAT math test. Each chapter includes several short video lessons that students may access at their own pace and schedule.

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