Compared to the old SAT, the new SAT is

1) easier

2) harder

3) equally mind-numbing, or

4) all of the above

If you guessed 4, you’re correct. 
 
The new SAT, which debuts March 5th, is radically different — but not necessarily less painful — than the old one.  
 
I. Old vs. new 
 
In 2014, the College Board announced it was revamping the SAT to better reflect both the skills students learn in high school, and those they need to succeed in college. For the most part, the new SAT meets these goals, says David Kim, who founded the test prep company C2 Education out of his Harvard dorm room in 1997. 
 
 
“The old test really contributed to a lot of anxiety in the way questions were asked, and the way answers were posed. It’s not a psychologically friendly test,” says Kim, who notes that the new test has more of “a lock-step correlation” between practice and results.    
 
“The nature of the passages are more aligned with what one is expected to be exposed to in high school,” continues Kim. 
 
Okay, great. But is the SAT still horribly tedious? 
 
“The College Board, and colleges and universities, said we want applicants who have a good command of data and critical thinking,” says Lee Weiss, vice president of Kaplan Test Prep’s college admissions program. The new test, he says, is better designed to gauge these skills. 
 
As for whether the new SAT is harder or easier, “it’s going to differ for who’s taking it," says Weiss. "If you were strong in vocab, you might have preferred [the old test].”
 
 
So what's the takeway? The fact is, many of the old test prep suggestions remain relevant. Sharpen those pencils, get a good night’s sleep, and, advises Kim, keep things in perspective.
 
“The SAT is only one part of the college admissions process. There are multiple things that an admissions officer will be looking at. It is not the end all be all.”
 
Just don’t forget to fill in the bubbles for your name.  
 
II. Advice from high scorers 

Prepping for the big exam? We rounded up some unconventional advice from the guest editors of “Up Your Score: The Underground Guide to Outsmarting “The Test.” These current undergrads ran circles around the old SAT. Here's how they prepared, relaxed, and reacted to their scores. 

Ada Throckmorton, Stanford University:"When I first opened my score and saw the 2400, I remember being annoyed and telling my mom that I knew the test was out of 2400, but couldn’t find my actual score. It took another couple of minutes staring at the computer screen to realize I had actually received a perfect score, and a lot longer to believe it."

Zachary Mandell, Cornell University: “Next time you read an article a friend posts on Facebook, read it like you would an SAT passage. ... Think about why your friend might have chosen to post the article. Think about why the author makes the argument that she does, how she does so and whether or not her techniques are successful."

Joshua Mandell, Yale University: “The day before my SAT, I ran up and down a big hill next to my house for an hour straight. While the neighbors might have worried for my sanity, it was actually a good way to replace my nervous adrenaline with calming endorphins.”

III. SAMPLE SAT QUESTIONS: Are you smarter than a high school junor? 

Think you can ace the new SAT? Read this excerpt from a sample passage and answer the following questions.  

Sample Passage: Perfect Planning?

When we think of dinner parties, we think of friendship, home-cooked food, and relaxation. What we don’t think about, massive planning, (1) expense, timing, stress. Unfortunately, you cannot have the former without the latter. (2)  Though there have always been private-party planners, the field did not come into it’s own (3) until the 21st century. Planners Incorporated was founded in New York City in 2004, Dinner’s Ready in Chicago in 2009, and the creation in Dallas of Cook 4 You in 2012. (4) Now, in 2015, the industry altogether employs more than 30,000 professionals, sending chefs, servers, and cleaners into American homes every night of the year.  

Sample Questions: 
 
1. Which of the following would best replace the underlined portion?

A) NO CHANGE

B) about: massive planning

C) about; massive planning

D) about. Massive planning

2. Which of the following sentences, if added, would provide the best transition to the second paragraph?

A) You need to buy a paper calendar or calendar app in order to schedule all the tasks necessary to plan a successful party.

B) The history of party planning is more interesting than you would think.

C) Perhaps this is the reason why private- party planning has become a rich, new field of employment.

D) It is enough to turn someone off hosting forever.

3. Which of the following would best replace the underlined portion?

A) NO CHANGE

B) its own

C) their own

D) they’re own

4.) Which of the following would best replace the underlined portion?

A) NO CHANGE

B) and the Dallas creation of Cook 4 You in 2012.

C) and the 2012 creation of Dallas’s Cook 4 You.

D) and Cook 4 You in Dallas in 2012.

Answers: 1) B. 2) C. 3) B. 4) D. 

Questions and answers courtesy of “Up Your Score: The Underground Guide to Outsmarting “The Test.”