Is New SAT Math Harder than Old SAT Math?

The New SAT offers many new challenges to students. However, by far the most profound change occurs in the math sections.

Beginning in March of 2016, students will discover a radically changed SAT mathematics test. Whereas the old test concentrated primarily on mathematical ability, the new test requires students to draw upon their reading, critical thinking, and analytical abilities, in addition to their mathematical skills and knowledge. Many math questions will involve long written descriptions, tables, charts or diagrams, or combinations thereof, which will need to be closely read and analyzed in order to answer test questions.

The New SAT Math test focuses on three areas: 1) algebra, 2) problem solving and data analysis, 3) advanced math. Geometry has been minimized. Algebra questions are very focused largely on linear relationships. Problem solving and data analysis questions focus on what the College Board calls “quantitative literacy” – skills such as rates, ratios, rates, proportions and percentages in order to solve problems in science, engineering, social science, and the workplace. Advanced math questions deal with equations and systems that require mathematical skills beyond just linear relationships including geometric and trigonometric topics. Also, the New SAT Math test includes a no-calculator section, sending shivers up the collective spine of all calculator-dependent students.

So which is harder? We feel that the new SAT math is much harder than the old SAT math. This is especially true for international students who now must read long descriptions before solving many of the math questions.