Got Questions About the New SAT & PSAT? We’ve Got Answers!

December 15, 2015 

SAT-PSAT-ChangesWith a new version of the PSAT now available and an updated SAT test format scheduled for rollout in March 2016, it is normal for parents and students to feel uneasy about diving into a test prep program with so many questions still unanswered.

A+ Test Prep and Tutoring is keeping up with the latest news in the world of standardized testing so that we can best serve families in the greater Philadelphia area. Let’s take a look at some of your questions and how the answers will impact your child’s SAT and PSAT test prep.

With a new SAT format on the horizon, will there be practice tests available?

  • To date the College Board has made four SAT practice tests available. Four additional practice tests created by Khan Academy under the supervision of the College Board have been promised but not yet released (for a total of eight SAT practice tests).
  • The College Board’s four SAT practice tests were released in May 2015 (10 months prior to the first SAT test date). These mock SATs were released in hard copy format, as well as online. A+ tutors are now integrating the practice tests into tutoring sessions for students preparing for the new SAT.
  • The College Board is also committed to continuing its “Question-and-Answer Service” in 2016. The release of these actual tests will enable future test takers to better prepare for what is to come.

With a new structure, how will scoring and scaling be impacted?

  • The most significant change to the scoring system on the redesigned SAT is that the College Board has combined the reading and writing scores into one new “Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing” score.
  • Therefore students will receive two scaled scores—Math and Evidence-Based Reading/Writing—and the overall SAT score will revert back to the familiar 400 to 1600 scale which was in place prior to 2005.
  • The total score will be derived from seven subscores (1–15 scale), three test scores (10–40 scale), two cross-test scores (10–40 scale), and two section scores (200–800). That may seem difficult to understand, so take a look at this infographic from the College Board, which illustrates what goes into a total score.
  • Comparisons between old scores and new scores are a work in progress as well. For the PSAT, an old vs. new concordance table will be released in December 2015. For the SAT, the College Board projects they will have an old vs. new concordance developed by summer 2016. Learn more about concordance tables and their uses.
  • For a comparison of the current SAT vs. the March 2016 SAT, take a look at our infographic:


  • It’s important to note that following the first administration of the new SAT in March 2016, there will be a delay in sending scores until late May so that the scores from the March and May SATs can be compared. Without knowing scores until late spring, high school juniors who take the March test may have to adjust their timelines for determining their choice colleges.  

How has the PSAT changed?

  • A criticism of the old PSAT was that it didn’t accurately serve as a pretest to the SAT. This new version better aligns with the SAT and its content.
  • The time limit of the PSAT increased to 2 hours and 45 minutes, and the time allotted per question also increased.
  • For a more in-depth comparison of changes to the PSAT test, see the infographic below:



  • Starting in 2016, a spring option will be available for schools to offer to their tenth graders. Schools can also offer an optional PSAT 8/9 in the future. While the scales for the PSAT 8/9 (120–720) and the PSAT 10 (160–760) will differ from each other and from the new SAT (200–800), this “vertical scaling” is expected to assist educators in tracking student progress.

With so many changes and things like scaling still in development, how can families sufficiently prepare their students for the PSAT and SAT?

A+ Test Prep and Tutoring is your solution.

  • We have a brand-new curriculum developed for the redesigned SAT and PSAT
  • All A+ tutors have been trained on the changes to the tests and our new curriculum
  • Our online scoring system for practice SAT exams has been completely updated to provide the most detailed score reports possible to our students

As always, A+ is ahead of the curve, providing our students and tutors with the most up-to-date curriculum and instruction in order to improve our students’ scores across the greater Philadelphia area. Stay tuned to A+ Test Prep and Tutoring’s blog for the latest information impacting the future of the PSAT and SAT tests.



Related articles:

Why Students in the Class of 2017 Should Not Take the New SAT Exam

Rollout of New SAT Test Impacts Philadelphia Area





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