Preview the Math Changes on the "New" SAT

Guest Author: Dr. Steve Warner, founder of

The last few weeks I have been getting hundreds of emails from students, parents, and teachers who are concerned about the changes to the SAT coming on the March 2016 exam. The three most frequent questions are:

(1) Will you be writing prep books for the redesigned SAT?

(2) What exactly will be different about the new SAT?

(3) Will the strategies that you teach still work on the new SAT?

For further details please consult my new math book for the new SAT currently available on Amazon -- New SAT Math Problems.

Changes in the redesigned SAT

Allow me tell you the way the basic structure of the SAT will be modified, and then give you more detail on how the math section will change.

Overall structure of the “new” test:

·        The SAT will now be graded out of 1600 instead of 2400, with the essay being optional. There will be 800 points for Math and 800 points for Verbal.

·        The guessing penalty will be eliminated.

·      There will now be 4 choices on multiple choice questions instead of 5.

·        The total testing time will decrease from 3 hours 45 minutes to 3 hours (if the optional essay is completed the total testing time will be 3 hours 50 minutes)

Here are the important changes to the SAT math:

·        There will now be 2 math sections instead of 3.

·        There will be a 55 minute math section where a calculator is allowed.

·        There will be a 25 minute math section where a calculator is not allowed.

·        The calculator section will have 30 multiple choice questions and 8 free response questions (grid ins).

·        The no-calculator section will have 15 multiple choice questions and 5 grid ins.

·        There will be more applied problems based on “real world” situations and many problems will involve interpreting tables, charts, graphs, and other data.

·        Trigonometry will now be on the test.

·        The number of geometry questions will be significantly reduced.

·        The algebra being tested will be more advanced.

·        Some more advanced pre-calculus topics will be tested.

Here is a sample Level 3 “Heart of Algebra” question.

Gary takes a New York City cab 6 miles to work and must pay $17.50 for the cab ride. After work, Gary takes another New York City cab 10 miles to visit his family and must pay $27.50. During both of these rides, Gary was charged a “drop fee” (an initial charge when the cab’s meter is activated) of d dollars, plus an additional m dollars for each 1/5 of a mile travelled. What is the value of md ?

Answer: Check this blogpost next week for the correct answer and a full explanation.

Get started practicing SAT math problems

Most of the math strategies that I have been teaching for the last 15 years will still be effective on the new test. Many of the question types will be changing however, so it is important to begin practicing the strategies for these new questions, which are highlighted in the New SAT Math Problems.

As an extra incentive to purchase my new Math book, I am offering an additional test prep book as a free PDF download. You can choose any book from my product page:

Simply forward your Amazon confirmation receipt for New SAT Math Problems to and I will reply to that email with a link to download a free PDF of the book of your choice from my product page.