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Liberty Prep

The Current SAT

The Current SAT


The SAT test was redesigned and launched March, 2016. The redesigned PSAT was launched October, 2015.

Structure of the Current SAT

5 Sections with optional Essay Section

Evidenced-based Reading Test - One 65 minute Reading Test – 52 Questions

Writing Test – One 35 minute Writing and Language Test – 44 Questions

Math Test – One 25 minute without calculator – 20 Questions

Math Test – One 55 minute with calculator – 38 Questions

Essay Test – Optional – 50 minutes


Total exam score will range from 400-1600

Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section 200-800 point scale

Math section 200-800 point scale

Students will no longer be penalized for incorrect answers

The essay will be a separate score and will be optional

Evidence-Based Reading Test

The New SAT Reading Test lasts 65 minutes and is comprised of 4 individual passages and 1 pair of passages. This pair will be made up of two shorter, related passages by different authors that address a similar topic or theme. Each passage or pair will be between 500 and 750 words, for a total of 3250 words overall.

Each passage will have 10 or 11 questions, for a total of 52 questions for the entire section. In every SAT Reading Test there will be 2 passages which are accompanied by graphics, and 1 or 2 graphics for each of those two passages. You will be asked a couple of questions about these graphics and how they relate to the passage. The New SAT does not feature any sentence-completion questions previously used in the SAT.


The passages you will encounter may include informative passages, persuasive passages, and narrative passages. The passages will contain all of the information needed to answer the questions on the test; you will never need to rely on any of your own prior knowledge about the material.

All passages in the SAT Reading Test will come from previously published sources, and may represent a variety of tones and styles. Below is a breakdown of passage types that you will see in each Reading Test.

Passage Type

One Literature - Classic and contemporary literature from the United States and around the world

One History and Social Studies - Both basic concepts and recent development in the social sciences and humanities, including anthropology, communication studies, economics, education, human geography, law, linguistics, political science, psychology, and sociology

One Founding Document or Great Global Conversation - Historically important, foundational texts from the United States (Founding Documents, ie Bill of Rights), other historically and culturally important works dealing with issues at the heart of civic and political life (Great Global Conversation)

Two Science - Both basic concepts and recent developments in the natural sciences, including Earth science, biology, chemistry, and physic

Reading Questions

The SAT questions associated with the reading passages will assess whether or not you understand information and ideas in the text, and are able to analyze the author’s use of persuasive language and argument. You will also be tested on combining information from related pairs of passages, as well as from passages and their graphs.

The questions will be presented in a consistent order. However, they are not presented in order of difficulty. You will first be asked more general questions about central ideas, themes, point of view, and the overall text structure. This will be followed by more specific questions that may ask you for the meaning of a particular word or phrase, or to find the specific evidence that supports a claim. Many of these questions will have line references, which will point you to the material being discussed in the question.

Writing Test

 On the New SAT's Writing and Language Test, you will be asked to revise and edit text from a range of content areas. Your job is to decide whether passages can be improved by making changes to the words, punctuation, or sentence order.

The questions in this section will test your knowledge of grammar rules and of the elements of effective writing. Parts of the passages will contain errors in grammar. You will be asked to correct errors in sentence structure, usage, and punctuation. Other parts of the passages need to be revised to better express the ideas of the author. This will involve improving the development and organization of the passage as well as correcting errors in language use.

Writing Test Structure

The revised SAT Writing Test is made up of 4 passages and 44 multiple choice questions. You will have 35 minutes to read the passages and answer the questions in this section. This means that you will have on average less than nine minutes to read each passage and answer the 11 questions that follow.


The Writing Test will ask you to read four passages and answer accompanying questions. These passages may be similar to essays you have read in the classroom and are typically four to five paragraphs long. The topics of the passages always include careers, social studies, the humanities, and science.

The career passages usually present new trends or debates in major fields of work, such as health care, technology, or business.

Social studies passages discuss figures, movements, or events from history as well as topics in the social sciences. These social science topics might be drawn from anthropology, psychology, sociology, or linguistics, as well as economics, education, geography, law, or political science.

Humanities passages consider topics in the arts and letters, including figures and trends in fine art, music, dance, poetry, and prose. 

Science passages examine ideas, inventions, and discoveries in the natural sciences, which include earth science, biology, chemistry, and physics.

The passages will be 400-450 words in length, broken up into paragraphs. At least one passage will also contain an informational graphic. The graphic may be a table, graph, or chart that conveys information that is related to the passage topic.

Math Tests

The SAT Math Test includes two sections and a total of 58 questions. In the first math section calculators are not permitted, there are a total of 20 questions and you have 25 minutes to complete the no-calculator section. Here is a summary of the two sections:

No-Calculator Section - 20 questions - 25 minutes - 1.25 minutes per question

Calculator Section - 38 questions - 55 minutes - 1.45 minutes per question

Math Topics

There are four main content areas covered by the Math Test.

Heart of Algebra - Fundamental concepts in algebra involving linear equations and inequalities - 11 with-Calculator questions, 8 no-Calculator questions

Problem Solving and Data Analysis - Interpreting qualitative and quantitative data, analyzing relationships - 17 with-Calculator questions

Passport to Advanced Math - More advanced concepts in algebra, including quadratic and higher-order equations - 7 with-Calculator questions, 9 no-Calculator questions

Geometry, trigonometry, complex numbers - Advanced topics in math - 3 with-Calculator questions, 3 no-Calculator questions

Both sections on the Math Test will have two types of questions: 45 multiple choice questions and 13 student produced responses.


The above information is from and used by permission.



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