What’s the SAT Experimental Section? 🤔🤔🤔

What's the SAT Experimental Section? 🤔🤔🤔

What’s the SAT Experimental Section? 🤔🤔🤔

For many months leading up the new SAT, students and SAT experts thought the redesigned test had eliminated the experimental section. College Board made no mention of it, and the free practice tests it released featured no trace of extra questions.

Then, on February 4th, just a month before the new SAT was set to debut, a College Board official said in a conference for test center coordinators in Boston that some students would get an experimental section. College Board didn’t elaborate much further on what this meant.

When the new SAT was administered in March and May, some students got an extra 20-minute section at the end. All the students that got the experimental section had chosen not to take the essay. All students who opted for the essay section did not have the extra experimental section. It could have been Writing, Reading, or Math.

It’s possible that this experimental section is unscored and meant to test out future material. It may be that College Board is being vague on this point to make sure that students still take this section seriously. If students knew it was unscored, then they might not try as hard – or even skip it completely – and then College Board wouldn’t be able to test out material for future tests.

At the same time, no one seems to know yet whether or not this section indeed has “operational items.” At this point, if you get an extra 20-minute section during your test, you should treat it no differently than you do the rest of the SAT.

Before getting into additional tips on how the experimental section affects your test prep, let’s compare it to the experimental section on the old SAT. What was that experimental section like, and what’s the purpose of experimental sections on the SAT in the first place? 

Why Are There #Experimental_Sections on the SAT?

In the past, the SAT experimental section was given for three main reasons: to test out future material, to ensure fairness and gauge difficulty level, and to detect any evidence of cheating. Presumably, the experimental section on the new SAT has similar purposes.

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