Applying to College?
ARE YOU READY FOR THE NEW SAT? WE ARE.
The long-awaited debut of the revised SAT exam will take place on March 5, 2016. The new SAT will be markedly different from the version that has been administered since 2005, in a number of important respects:
- The redesigned SAT consists of 5 longer sections, rather than 10 shorter ones.
- Total testing time is now 3 hours and 50 minutes, 20 minutes longer than the previous version.
- The new scoring range is 400-1600, rather than 600-2400. Students will receive two separate scores, each on a scale of 200-800: one for Reading/Writing, and the other for Math. The essay is scored separately.
- There is no longer a ¼ point deduction for incorrect answers, so there is no reason to leave any question blank.
- There is a greater emphasis on algebra skills, and the use of a calculator is prohibited on one of the two math sections.
- There will be less emphasis on esoteric SAT vocabulary, but students will need to analyze data and other scientific information throughout all sections of the new exam.
Our revised SAT course is designed to help you master all aspects of the new SAT. We will teach you how to identify and approach every question type, provide you with effective strategies for managing each section, and help you maximize your overall score.
- An initial diagnostic test recommended - Please contact us to schedule
- 15.5 hours of instruction: 11 hours of initial instruction, and three, 1.5 hour-long test review lessons
- 3 full-length, proctored, SAT practice tests with comprehensive review sessions
- Weekly drop-in study hall
- Class size is limited to 18 students
If you take an SAT course with us and don't get the score you want you are entitled to a one-time repeat of the regularly scheduled course lessons, practice tests and reviews, for a small repeat and materials fee.
- If you take a condensed SAT course (offered at a reduced price), and want to retake a full course you will be asked to pay the difference in course fees.
SAT - Frequently Asked Questions
Sandweiss Test Prep realizes students and/or their parents may have many questions before deciding upon which test to take and how test results fit into one's academic plan. We've compiled the following frequently asked questions to address your concerns. Please call us if you need further information.
What is the SAT?
The SAT is a three hour and fifty minute exam which, along with the ACT, can be used to satisfy the standardized testing requirement for admission to most colleges and universities in the United States. The SAT tests both knowledge (rules of grammar, vocabulary, and math concepts from pre-algebra through basic trigonometry) and skills (critical reading, data analysis, and persuasive writing) that colleges expect prospective applicants to possess.
Performing well on the SAT is not the same as achieving strong grades in high school. An efficient, strategic test-taker can score much better than would an otherwise bright, studious person who finds it difficult to enter the unique mindset of the SAT. As is the case with many other skill sets, it is necessary to learn the fundamentals and to practice consistently in order to improve.
How is the SAT structured?
The revised SAT consists of four required sections: Reading, Writing, and two Math sections (one with a calculator and one without). There is also an optional Essay section, although most competitive schools will also require this section. All the multiple choice questions are weighted equally within each section, though they range from very easy to very difficult.
Reading: 5 passages, 52 questions, 65 minutes
Writing: 4 passages, 44 questions, 35 minutes
Math: Calculator-allowed section: 38 questions, 55 minutes
No calculator section: 20 questions, 25 minutes
Essay: One prompt, 50 minutes
How is the SAT scored?
The new SAT has a complicated scoring system. Students will receive three test scores ranging from 10 to 40 for Reading, Writing, and Math. Test scores for Reading and Writing will be combined to create an area score for Evidence-Based Reading and Writing on a scale of 200-800. The test score for Math will also be converted into an area score for this section, using the same 200-800 scale. The two area scores will then be added together to create a composite score on a scale of 400-1600. The essay will be scored separately on a scale of 1-4 for each of three dimensions (reading, analysis, and writing), but the essay score will not be factored into the composite score.
Along with these scores, the new SAT will also report two cross-test scores and seven subscores. The cross-test scores will be for Analysis in Science and Analysis in History/Social Studies, and will be on a scale of 10 to 40. The subscores will be based on specific question types within each section of the SAT, and will be on a scale of 1 to 15. These subscores will be in the following areas: Words in Context, Command of Evidence, Expression of Ideas, Standard English Conventions, Heart of Algebra, Problem Solving and Data Analysis, and Passport to Advanced Math.
All of these cross-test scores and subscores may be confusing for you, but please keep in mind that they will also probably be confusing for college admissions personnel for the next year or so, until they become familiar with the scoring system of the new SAT. The most important scores that colleges will focus on will be the area scores and the composite score.
What is a good score on the SAT?
The new SAT, like the old version of the exam, is intended to produce a median score (50th percentile) of 500 for each of the two areas: Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, and Math. Due to the fact that the new SAT will require several administrations before the percentiles associated with each scaled score can be determined, at this point we can only estimate what constitutes a “good score.” For the most selective schools (e.g. Ivy League, Stanford, Pomona), applicants will probably need a composite score of 1400 or better, while slightly less selective schools (e.g. UW, Chapman, UCSD) will probably want to see composite scores of 1250 or better. Composite scores in the 1050-1100 range should be competitive at state schools such as Western Washington University or Oregon State University.
When should I take the SAT?
The SAT is offered seven times each year: January, March, May, June, October, November, and December. We recommend you take the SAT in the late winter or early spring of your Junior year, with the option of retaking the test again in the late spring or fall. Some students, because of athletic schedules or other issues may prefer to take the test in the fall of their junior year. However, no student should take the test before he or she is ready. It is better to take the test once you feel fully prepared than to take it multiple times hoping your score will somehow improve.
Sandweiss Test Prep offers courses year-round in both Seattle and Bellevue for every test date. See our SAT course page for more info.
How do I register for the SAT?
The easiest way to register for the SAT is online at the College Board website. The current cost of the test is $54.50 with the optional essay, and $43 without the essay; these fees can be paid online with a credit card. You can also register by mail, either by going to the College Board site or with registration materials found in the offices of most high school counselors. For a fee you can change your test date if necessary.
What about the SAT II?
The SAT IIs, officially known as the SAT Subject Tests, are a series of 20 subject-specific standardized tests that are offered throughout the year. The subjects include many typical high school subjects, such as French, History, Literature, and Biology. You can take up to three SAT Subject Tests on a single test date. Many selective universities recommend the submission of at least two SAT Subject Test scores.
Sandweiss Test Prep offers private tutoring for nearly all 20 subject tests. Find out more about our private tutoring options here.
Which test is right for you? Come into Sandweiss Test Prep for a test drive! We'll give you a diagnostic test for each and we can see how you score.