Test Design

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The changes to the SAT will give higher education professionals detailed information on student performance and over time make it easier than ever for students to show colleges and universities their best work.

Quick Facts

  • The redesigned SAT is part of the SAT Suite of Assessments, which also includes the redesigned PSAT/NMSQT and the new PSAT 10 and PSAT 8/9.
  • The test design of the SAT Suite is based on a body of recent research that identifies the skills and knowledge needed for college success.
  • The tests in the SAT Suite share a vertical score scale.
  • The redesigned SAT Essay is modelled more closely on typical college writing assignments and is optional, giving colleges a choice of whether to require it for admission.
  • Throughout the redesign, the College Board has worked closely with higher education leaders.

Ensuring Validity

As a strong predictor of college success, the SAT is a valuable part of the college admission process. The College Board is committed to maintaining — if not strengthening — the assessment’s predictive validity. Learn about the College Board’s plan for validity.

Vertical Alignment

All tests in the SAT Suite of Assessments are aligned to the same research backbone and focus on the same domain of knowledge and skills. As students progress from grade to grade, the tests will keep pace, matching the scope and difficulty of work found in the classroom. This progression is reflected in the new, vertical score scale that reports student progress from year to year.

Learn more about the SAT Suite’s content alignment:

Principles Driving the Redesign

The redesigned SAT will more closely reflect the skills and knowledge that current research tells us are most critical for college readiness and success. The assessment will require students to have a stronger command of fewer topics.

A focused assessment — along with free personalized practice, college application fee waivers, and more scholarship opportunities — helps remove barriers to college, making it possible for more students to own their future.