Only a few years ago, the most common admissions test decision point for families was between starting with a March SAT or a May SAT. The increasing popularity of the ACT and the College Board’s awkward transition to the redesigned PSAT and SAT create a strong need — starting with the Class of 2017 — to reflect on a testing pathway well before preparation begins. The new PSAT was introduced in October 2015, and the new SAT was first administered in March 2016. Compass leaders and curriculum designers meet regularly with College Board members and college admissions directors to stay ahead of the curve, and Compass’ experience in navigating clients through redesigns in 1994 and 2005 informs our planning for the most recent changes.
Our long-term commitment to R&D, pedagogy, and psychometrics means we’re ready for the newest version of the SAT.
Learn More about the New SAT
Download a free copy of the Compass Guide to College Admission Testing. The Compass Guide contains answers to important questions about the redesigned SAT, including:
- What does the new SAT look like? How has it changed?
- What is the structure and scoring of the new SAT?
- How do my scores compare to those of other students?
- How does math on the new SAT compare to math on the ACT?
- What is the new SAT essay assignment? How will it be scored?
Structural Changes to the New SAT
The SAT returns to the pre-2004 composite scale of 400-1600 by keeping a 200-800 Math score and merging the Reading Test and Writing Test scores into a single 200-800 “Area Score.”
Timing (3 hrs; optional 50 minute essay)
The new SAT is 45 minutes shorter than the old SAT, but many colleges will require the essay, so the overall length of testing for most students will actually increase by 5 minutes.
Reading Test (65 minutes, 52 items)
By dropping the 19 Sentence Completions of the current SAT, the new exam can increase the number of Reading items from 48 to 52 while shaving 5 minutes from testing time.
Writing and Language Test (35 min, 44 items)
Problems are based off of longer passages, so while the number of multiple choice problems drops from 49 to 44, the timing remains unchanged. The essay is no longer a part of Writing.
Math Test (80 min, 57 items, 60 points)
The College Board has included a single “extended thinking” grid-in that receives additional weight. The number of multiple choice items drops from 50 to 45, while grid-ins go from 10 items to 12. A 37 question section allows calculators, while a 20 question section does not.
Essay (50 minutes, Optional)
The optional essay resides at the end of the exam and lasts for 50 minutes. Instead of a thesis-based essay, students evaluate use of evidence, reasoning, and persuasive elements to explain how an author crafts an argument.
Thematic Elements of the New SAT
Students are challenged to use evidence to support answer choices. Students no longer contend with a “guessing penalty,” and multiple choice items only have 4 answer choices. These updates reward identifying evidence over guessing and test-wiseness.
Math Relevancy and Fluency
Students are challenged to deepen their focus on the skills identified as the most important for college and career success. Emphasis is added to algebraic problem solving and to data analysis. Trigonometry is added, while geometry item count is reduced.
Vocabulary in Context
Students are challenged to derive meaning from context and close reading. Pure “vocabulary” skills are de-emphasized with the elimination of Sentence Completions.
Grammar, Usage & Punctuation
Students are challenged to revise extended prose and proofread for errors in grammar, punctuation, and frequently confused words.
Text & Data
Students are challenged to analyze, reconcile, and extrapolate from information conveyed through passages and graphical data representations presented across all subjects.
Students are challenged to engage with multi-disciplinary content that emphasizes texts in history, social studies, and science and, on some questions, draw upon U.S. founding documents or “The Great Global Conversation.”
Compare SAT and ACT Scores
After College Board released its series of concordance tables on May 9th – allowing users to compare New and Old SAT scores – we did a bit of work to transform this data into something more user-friendly.
We are pleased to present our SAT and ACT Concordance and Comparison Tool. By using the tool, you can confidently determine which test a student favors based on official or practice test results.
Click the button below to learn more!
SAT Dates and Registration Deadlines
October 3, 2015
November 7, 2015
December 5, 2015
January 23, 2016
March 5, 2016
May 7, 2016
June 4, 2016
September 3, 2015
October 9, 2015
November 5, 2015
December 28, 2015
February 5, 2016
April 8, 2016
May 5, 2016
Late Registration Deadline
September 18, 2015
October 23, 2015
November 20, 2015
January 8, 2016
February 19, 2016
April 22, 2016
May 20, 2016
To register for the SAT on the College Board’s website, click here.
"Compass is clearly one of the best investments you can make in your child's future. They offer a myriad of tools - consulting, practice tests, and individualized tutoring - to help your child understand her strengths and weaknesses on admissions tests. Our daughter improved her score by more than 400 points and we are THRILLED by the results!"− Donna R, Mother of Justine, 11th Grader at Tamalpais High School
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"We are extremely impressed with the Compass leadership team. The personal attention they gave our son helped him to improve his score by over 200 points on his SAT. The Compass team excelled right from from the start, analyzing his test results, and providing relevant study materials and coaching to help gear him up for his best exam day ever."− Robert P, Father of William, 12th Grader at the Harker School
"We used Compass for my son for the SAT. He's a smart boy who really needed good test scores to offset an average GPA. Thanks to Compass, he improved his SAT by 310 points, putting him in the 97th percentile in Critical Reading, and 91st percentile in Math. Our tutors were phenomenal and offered my son much encouragement for his senior year, far beyond just helping him with the SAT prep."− Marly M, Mother of Drake, 12th Grader at Redwood High School
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"Compass rocks! Our daughter received a 780 on Writing, a 750 in Math, and a 700 on Critical Reading. Compass will be our number one recommendation."− Teri C, Mother of Erin, 11th Grader at University High School
"Compass' tutors were friendly, knowledgeable, and attuned to the needs of our son. They came to each session armed with study and test-taking strategies that were applicable beyond just taking the SAT. After tutoring had finished, our son obtained a combined score of 2220 - the scores were so good, in fact, that he will not bother taking the exam a second time! "− Mitchell P, Father of Colin, 11th Grader at Lick-Wilmerding High School
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"The Compass staff were very professional and caring. My director personally emailed me and provided feedback in great detail; he was also extremely flexible, taking different approaches to boost my daughter's score. Additionally, the tutors were perfectly matched with my daughter and easy to schedule lessons with. Compass was an amazing experience for our family, and I highly recommend them."− Reka S, Mother of Kiran, 12th Grader at the Marlborough School for Girls
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"Both of our students' scores improved greatly after working with Compass. Our daughter achieved a 2200 on the SAT and our son received a composite score of 35 on the ACT. The Compass staff spends a great deal of time understanding your child and does a good job matching students with tutors to whom they will respond. The regular proctored practice tests were also an invaluable tool."− Gloria Y, Mother of Zach and Isabel, 11th and 12th Graders at Flintridge Prep
"Compass was a great help in motivating my daughter and improving her SAT score. The proctored practice tests gave her the necessary experience of timing and test-taking strategies. We were pleased by the feedback and and immediate follow-up of score reports, which helped identify areas that needed additional improvement. My daughter enjoyed the enthusiasm, helpfulness, and knowledgeability of her tutors, who were also able to accommodate her busy schedule. Thank you, Compass!"− Lisa C, Mother of Valerie, 11th Grader at Santa Monica High School
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"I highly recommend Compass Education Group. Our director guided us in choosing the best exam for my son based on results of proctored SAT and ACT exams. Our director was proactive and responsive in making adjustments to the test prep plan when needed. In just nine lessons, our son's ACT score improved from a 28 to a 33. We appreciate the Compass team's approach in turning an often stressful experience into a positive and productive one."− Susan B, Mother of Taylor, 12th Grader at Tamalpais High School
"We really enjoyed working with Compass and are extremely happy with our daughter's progress on the SAT. Our tutors played a very critical role in helping our daughter achieve her score goals, and our director was incredibly helpful in selecting the right tutors and monitoring the results."− Mark A, Father of Lauren, 11th Grader at Viewpoint School
"Compass provided excellent tutors that were a perfect match for my daughter. Also, she was able to take proctored practice tests in a group setting with her extended time - an option other companies could not provide. Her test scores improved approximately 200 points from her junior year PSAT to her spring SAT and rose an additional 30 points in her targeted areas when she took the SAT for the second time. We are very happy with her scores and the preparation it took to get her there."− Tina K, Mother of Heather, 11th Grader at Viewpoint School
"Our two daughters used Compass for test preparation - one for SAT prep, the other for ACT prep. We were very pleased with the results of both girls' programs and found Compass' tutors to be responsive, flexible, prompt, and great at empowering our girls. I often recommend Compass when friends ask about test preparation."− Beth F, Mother of Dana and Jenna, 12th Graders at Milken Community School
"We recently learned that Stephanie scored a 2200 on her SAT. I wanted to thank you personally for the special care and attention you had given us throughout the process. We were all very impressed by the services offered by Compass, from the course materials and amazing tutors, to the vast number of practice tests. Now we have become enthusiastic advocates of Compass. You have won our hearts with unparalleled quality and solid results. "− Lihua L, Mother of Stephanie, 12th Grader at Polytechnic School
"Our son was not a great standardized test taker, but thanks to his Compass English and Math tutors he was able to raise his SAT score by 330 points. Both tutors were not only fantastic teachers, but wonderful young men who really understood what made our son tick and how to inspire him. The Compass staff was very professional and available to answer any and all of our questions."− Becky H, Mother of Eli, 12th Grader at Campbell Hall
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"I am extremely pleased by the outcome of our program - my son improved from a 27 on his first practice test to a 32 on his official ACT. Our tutors were amazing and they tailored the lessons to improve CJ's speed and mastery of concepts that needed the most attention. This targeted approach was assisted by the readily available practice tests, detailed feedback, and regular communication provided by our professional and knowledgable director. I would highly recommend Compass to those looking for exceptional test prep and quantifiable results."− Geri S, Mother of CJ, 11th Grader at Mira Costa High School