If you took the SAT after February 2016, your test is significantly different from the old SAT. What're the main differences between the old and new SAT? How do you convert between the two tests? How do these changes affect you as the test taker?
Differences Between Old and New SAT
There are a lot of minute differences between the two tests, but the big changes are:
- There are two sections instead of three: Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing.
- Due to these section changes, the composite scores range is 400 to 1600, instead of 600 to 2400.
- The types of questions asked have changed. For example, the new Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section no longer has sentence completion vocabulary questions. Instead, there are more passage-based critical thinking questions.
- There is no penalty for guessing on questions. On the old SAT, you received minus ¼ point for every incorrect answer.
There are many more changes to the new SAT, and I recommend you read about the others as well. However, the changes I mentioned are the biggest and most important to understanding the conversion.
How to Convert 2400 to 1600
The College Board has not announced any specific conversion method (nor have colleges announced how they will compare the old and new test). However, here at PrepScholar, we have come up with two possible conversion methods.
- Fast Method: Simply multiply the old SAT score by ⅔. For example, if you received 1800 on the old SAT, the calculation would be 1800 x ⅔ = 1200. Your new SAT score would be 1200. There are a couple of issues with this fast method. It doesn’t take into account that Math is more heavily weighted on the new SAT (since it makes up ½ instead of ⅓ of the score), while the Critical Reading and Writing count less since they are combined. Our next method resolves this issue.
- Weighted Method: First, average the Critical Reading and Writing section scores. Then, add that average to the Math section. For example, if you received 1800 on the old SAT (Math 700, Critical Reading 650, Writing 450), you would first average 650 and 450. (650 + 450) / 2 = 550, then add that to Math, 550 + 700 = 1250. Your new score would be 1250. However, if you received 1800 on the old SAT but your score breakdowns were Reading 700, Math 450, Writing 650, you would have a different new composite SAT score. (700+650) / 2 = 675, then add Math. 675 + 450 = 1125. Your new score would be 1125.
With the same composite score (1800), you can end up with two different new SAT scores based on the Fast or Weighted Method. Using the Weighted Method, your composite score will be higher if Math was your best section or lower if Math was your worst section. Use the Weighted Method for a more accurate conversion that takes into account the importance of each section on the new SAT.
What Does This Conversion Mean For You?
As I mentioned before, Math is more heavily weighted, as it now accounts for ½ your composite score instead of ⅔. If you're good at Math, this is great news! As you could see above, your high Math score brings up your composite score.
If, on the other hand, you struggle in Math, this change isn't so great. As you could see above, if Math is your weakest section, you end up with a lower composite score on the new SAT. You'll need to do more SAT Math preparation to make sure you get a high Math score, so you get a high composite score.
Also, the types of questions asked have changed. As I mentioned, there is no longer any fill in the blank vocabulary questions. Instead, there are more critical thinking and data analysis questions. If your strength is memorization, you'll probably not do as well on the new SAT. If you are better at critical thinking, you'll score better on the new SAT.
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As an SAT/ACT tutor, Dora has guided many students to test prep success. She loves watching students succeed and is committed to helping you get there. Dora received a full-tuition merit based scholarship to University of Southern California. She graduated magna cum laude and scored in the 99th percentile on the ACT. She is also passionate about acting, writing, and photography.