The New SAT: Writing/Language
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Did you miss Part 2 of the series? Read it here

The New SAT: Writing

Written by: ArborBridge's Megan Stubbendeck


What will the new writing/language section look like?

  • Format: 4 passages
  • Questions: 44 multiple-choice
  • Time: 35 minutes

What’s changing in the writing/language section?

Passage-Based: Most of the writing questions on the current SAT ask students to correct the grammar of stand-alone sentences that lack any context. The new SAT will provide full passages for students to edit. This change will make the SAT writing/language section look more like the ACT English section.
Vocabulary: The new SAT will contain 8 vocabulary questions in this section. These questions will ask students to pick the words that best capture the author’s tone or argument.

Graphics: At least one of the passages will include a graph, picture, or table related to the text. Questions will test the student's understanding of the relationship between the graphic and the passage. For example, a question might ask a student to edit a line in the text that misrepresents the data from a pie chart. See question 6 in "Sample Questions."

Sample Questions


What’s staying the same in the writing/language section?

Grammar Concepts: The new writing/language section will test many of the same concepts currently tested on the writing section of the SAT. Knowing how to properly use verbs, pronouns, punctuation, and idioms will still be important.

No Prior Subject Knowledge Necessary: Although the passages will cover a broader range of topics from science, business, and the humanities, students will not need to know specific concepts from these areas in order to do well. 
Remember, the new SAT won’t go into effect until Spring 2016. Until then, students will take the old exam. For more information on the entire test and how it might affect your testing timeline, see: The New SAT: A Preview of the Changes.

Megan S.Megan Stubbendeck,
Associate Director of Instruction

Dr. Megan Stubbendeck is a seven-year veteran of the test prep industry with ten years of teaching experience. She earned her PhD in History from the University of Virginia, where she taught for three years in the History Department. She brings many years of experience as both an Elite Instructor and the Coordinator of Instructor Development at Revolution Prep. In those roles, Megan developed new approaches to standardized testing on a variety of exams, including the SAT, ACT, PSAT, ISEE, SSAT, SAT Subject Tests, IB’s, AP’s, TOEFL, and IGCSE. As an Associate Director of Instruction at ArborBridge, Megan will help ArborBridge’s curriculum team tackle new developments in secondary education and standardized testing.
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