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The SAT assesses student reasoning based on knowledge and skills developed by the student in school coursework. The new SAT will improve the alignment of the test with current curriculum and institutional practices in high school and college. By including a third measure of skills -- writing, the new SAT will help colleges make better admissions and placement decisions. In that way, the new SAT will reinforce the importance of writing throughout a student's education.


Each edition of the SAT includes a Critical Reading, Math, and Writing section, with a specific number of questions related to content.

(new section)

* Multiple-choice questions (grammar and usage)
*Student-written essay

Critical Reading
(currently called Verbal)

* Analogies eliminated
*Short reading passages added to existing long reading passages


* Math content expanded to include topics from third-year college preparatory math
*Quantitative comparisons eliminated

How Scores Will Change
Each section of the test will be scored using the familiar scale of 200-800, and scores for the current and future tests will remain equivalent. The new writing test will also be scored using a scale of 200-800.

The new SAT will provide you, your high school counselor and admissions offices with three separate scores: math, critical reading, and writing. Two sub scores will be given for the writing section: a multiple-choice sub score on a scale of 20-80, and an essay sub score, on a scale of 2-12.

Scoring the Essay
The essay will be scored by experienced and trained high school and college teachers. Each essay will be scored by two people who won't know each other's score. They won't know your identity or school either. Each reader will give the essay a score from 1 to 6 (6 is the highest score) based on the overall quality of the essay and your demonstration of writing competence. The two scores will then be added together to arrive at your essay sub score.

Spelling, Punctuation, and Handwriting
Even with some errors in spelling, punctuation, and grammar, you can still get a top score on the essay. The essay will be scored using a holistic approach. That means readers will consider the essay as a total piece of work and will judge it on the overall impression it produces. Handwriting will not count against you, but essay readers must be able to read your writing in order to score your essay, so you should try to write legibly.

The Unscored Section
In addition, there is one 25-minute unscored section, known as the variable or equating section. This unscored section may be either a critical reading, math, or multiple-choice writing section. This unscored section does not count toward the final score, but is used to try out new questions for future editions of the SAT and to ensure that scores on new editions of the SAT are comparable to scores on earlier editions of the test.

Test Order
The 25-minute essay will always be the first section of the SAT, and the 10-minute multiple-choice writing section will always be the final section. The remaining six 25-minute sections can appear in any order, as can the two 20-minute sections. Test takers sitting next to each other in the same testing session may have test books with entirely different sections.