Co-authored by Renae Hintze
If you saw our infographic blog that explains what’s different on the new SAT, then you know by now that the SAT portion is now optional. You do not HAVE to take it.
But, it’s still there.
So what’s the deal? Do you take it or no??
Here’s a breakdown that may help you decide.
First, what’s different?
For one thing, you have more time to write. The new SAT essay gives you 50 minutes where the old one only gave you 35.
There’s also no more obscure, abstract prompts for you to answer. Instead, there’s a passage that you have to read and analyze.
The prompt for the passage is more or less the same every time, but the reading will vary from one test to another.
What am I graded on?
The new SAT essay is scored based on 3 categories:
Some elite universities require it, others don’t.
I bet you’re tired of hearing this buuut… it depends.
It really does! Some schools will require the SAT essay whereas some schools will not. Other schools won’t require it, but will recommend it (in which case you should view it as a competitive requirement)
|Harvard||University of Pennsylvania|
|Dartmouth||Auburn University at Montgomery|
|Anderson University||Birmingham-Southern College|
|California Institute of Technology||Concordia College Alabama|
|Claremont McKenna College||Faulkner University|
|College of Charleston||Huntingdon College|
|College of Southern Nevada||Jacksonville State University|
|Duke University||Judson College|
|Emory University||Samford University|
|Howard University||Southeastern Bible College|
|Marlboro College||Stillman College|
|Pennsylvania College of Technology||Tuskegee University|
|Princeton University||University of Alabama at Birmingham|
|Rice University||University of Alabama in Huntsville|
|Stanford University||University of Mobile|
|Texas A&M University||University of Montevallo|
|Trinity University||University of North Alabama|
|University of California:Berkeley||University of South Alabama|
|University of California:Davis||University of West Alabama|
|University of California:Irvine||Alaska Pacific University|
|University of California:Los Angeles||University of Alaska Fairbanks|
|University of California:Merced||Arizona Christian University|
|University of California:Riverside||Arizona State University|
|University of California:San Diego||Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University – Prescott|
|University of California:Santa Barbara||Northern Arizona University|
|University of California:Santa Cruz||Prescott College|
|Wentworth Institute of Technology||University of Arizona|
|Yale University||Arkansas State University|
|California Baptist University|
|California College of the Arts|
|California Lutheran University|
|California Maritime Academy|
|View the complete list here.|
If you DO choose to take the new SAT essay, you will be covered across-the-board for college admissions. Whether or not a school requires the score, you’ll have it handy.
In the case of a school that recommends but doesn’t require the score, you may gain a slight competitive advantage over students who opted not to take it.
1. Longer Test-Time
If you choose to take the essay portion of the SAT, then you will be looking at a longer overall test time.
When the non-essay writing students finish their tests, they’ll be given a portion of time to turn in their tests, collect their things, and leave.
You, the essay-writing student, will be given another 50 minutes to complete the essay portion.
The old SAT was 3 hours and 45 minutes long. The new SAT is only 3 hours… Plus 50 minutes if you take the essay portion. So you’re looking at about 4 hours total for you SAT with writing. For some students, an extra 50 minutes may be a strain.
2. Additional Cost
The SAT itself costs $43.00. If you choose to take the essay, there’s an additional fee of $11.50 that gets tacked on to make it $54.50 total.
3. Increased study time
If you’re looking to score well on the essay portion of the SAT, you’ll probably need to practice reading and analyzing different passages of a common nature.
You may even need to invest in a writing tutor.
If you are absolutely positive you won’t be applying to any schools that require the SAT essay, then by all means — skip it. It’s extra money, time, and effort to do it.
However, if your school requires or recommends it, then you should probably take it to be safe!
Will you be taking the new SAT essay? Why or why not? Tell us about it in the comments below!