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Chris Lele

All About the New SAT Reading Section


Reading on the Redesigned SAT

The big news is that vocabulary words will no longer have their own section. Indeed, big vocabulary words will be virtually absent from the new test. That’s right: words like “deferential”, “gregarious”, and “abstemious” will never keep you up at night again (or at least not unless you take the vocab-heavy GRE test when you apply to graduate school). Sure, they might show up in a vocabulary-in-context question in Reading Comprehension, but even this vocabulary will be far more basic so that’s not likely to be case.

Speaking of Reading Comprehension, the reading section is only going to have reading passages. There will be five of them, totaling 52 questions. And they will all be part of one section. Yep, that’ll be quite a slog—60 minutes worth, to be exact. The passages themselves? They will be similar, and different. You’ll get passages from the 18th and 19th century, which sometimes happens on the current SAT. You’ll also get passages that are part of what is called the “Global Dialogue” (Some of these might actually be speeches). Essentially, these are important contributions to society, whether they come from the pen of Martin Luther King or a speech from 18th century Parliament.

There are also a slew of other major changes. First, there will only be four answer choices, one fewer to sift through. Another major change to the reading section is that there will be no short passages. The passages on the new SAT will be between 650-850 words long. Yet another major change is that there will be graphs. That’s right, there will typically be about two graph-related questions. The two questions will accompany the same passage. Sometimes, there might be just one graph; other times you’ll have to compare graphs. Finally, there will be a question type that consists of two questions, back-to-back. One will ask you a question; the other will provide you with four quotes excerpted from the passage. You job is to choose which of the four provide evidence for answering the previous question.

All in all, the section is undergoing a massive overhaul. So start prepping soon!


Did you know that Magoosh offers online test prep for the New SAT exam? We also give discounts for purchasing subscriptions for more than one exam. Learn more at


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About Chris Lele

Chris Lele is the GRE and SAT Curriculum Manager (and vocabulary wizard) at Magoosh Online Test Prep. In his time at Magoosh, he has inspired countless students across the globe, turning what is otherwise a daunting experience into an opportunity for learning, growth, and fun. Some of his students have even gone on to get near perfect scores. Chris is also very popular on the internet. His GRE channel on YouTube has over 10 million views. You can read Chris's awesome blog posts on the Magoosh GRE blog and High School blog! You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

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