As many of you know, the SAT is a standardised test—aimed at evaluating a student's verbal and mathematical skills—widely used for college admission in the US. International students (and often even domestic) need to submit a SAT score to the schools they wish to apply to.

The College Board has recently made several changes in the SAT. Here is a rundown of the important changes that you need to be aware of and prepare for before giving the test.

Scores and Grading

First and foremost, the grading scale has changed; the SAT is reversing its score back to the 400 to 1600 range, as opposed to its 600 to 2400 scale adopted in 2005. The essay section is now optional (and graded separately). Hence if you don’t take the essay, the test lasts just 180 minutes as opposed to the previous 225 minutes. The test is also shorter with 154 questions (as opposed to the previous 171).  

A change which will make most students happy is that the revised test has no penalty for wrong answers. Yes! Students won’t be losing points anymore for getting an answer wrong.

Practice Tests

Here’s another great update, especially for those who are concerned with test costs. The new SAT can be practiced for free. The College Board has partnered with Khan Academy which will be providing these preparation tests for students.

Test Changes

Besides these, there are several changes in the test itself. When it comes to mathematics, the test will be based on more real-world problem solving accompanied by informational graphics.

Vocabulary is also much easier now; there are no more obscure words that students are likely to never use—the new SAT asks students to define a word based on how it is used in context.

For the reading section, the texts will be based on what students study in school, hence it will include excerpts from US founding documents, as well as other important works by famous authors such as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

These are some of the most important changes in the new revised SAT that every international student should familiarise themselves with. Good luck on your test!

If you found this blog helpful, you may also want to read Your TOEFL Guide, Understanding the GPA Grading Scale and Your GMAT Guide. Check out our blog for a host of informative and helpful blogs for international students.

About the Author: Nemanja Petkovic is a content writer and researcher, with several years of experience writing articles and blogs on a variety of subjects and currently working as a freelancer. He is a student of English Language and Literature, nearing the end of his studies.