Should I Take New SAT?

Should I Take the New SAT? What are my testing options? Will the new SAT be easier or harder? What should I do??!! At this point I think every parent and student is aware that the SAT test is changing, so I outlined below some of the testing options for Class of 2017 and beyond.

And remember: relax. The decision is an important one, but not that hard to make if you follow the process I outline below. In this post, I especially target the Class of 2017, which will have three testing option: 1) Old SAT (until January 2016); 2) Redesigned SAT (starting March 2016); 3) ACT test (not significantly changing).

Option #1: Take the Old SAT

If you are in the Class of 2017, you can no longer take the Old SAT, only the newly redesigned SAT, which changed over in March 2016. With that said, Class of 2017 can still submit SAT test results from the Old SAT as part of the application. 

Option #2: Take the New SAT

If you decide not to prepare for the Old SAT, then your other option will be the newly redesigned SAT, which was officially released in March 2016. If you are undecided about taking the New SAT (maybe you already have taken the Old SAT or ACT), I recommend purchasing the College Board's SAT Study Guide and take a practice test from the latest version of the exam. If you like the format, it might be the right choice. Here are more book recommendations for the SAT as well.

The drawbacks of taking the redesigned SAT is that no one really knows how difficult the test will be for students. We are beginning to get results from the New SAT, and what seems most clear is that scaling between the Old and New SAT is inconsistent so you will need a good conversion scale. The grading scale seems "easier" than the Old SAT, causing some to argue that the College Board is scaling the scores upwards to drive people away from the ACT. In any case, students need to make sure to use a current SAT and ACT concordance table to evaluate which test take and/or which scores to send to colleges. 

Option #3: Take the ACT 

What I feel to be the BEST option might be to take the ACT exam. All colleges take the ACT (so no problem there) and already I feel that the ACT test is a better choice for many students. If you are not entirely sure, take a practice ACT test and then use the conversion calculator to compare the score to your PSAT (or SAT practice test).

Also, if you take the ACT test, you will not have to worry about running out of test taking opportunities (with the Old and Redesigned SAT, Class of 2016 will have half as many testing opportunities on the same test as the ACT). Another benefit is that there are plenty of really good ACT test prep materials and tutors are already very experienced with the exam.

Important Warning

Every time the College Board modifies an exam, some test prep companies and tutors will take advantage of people's fears by raising prices, pushing students into tests that are not a "good" fit, or spreading misinformation.

Before you pick a tutor or test preparation program, make sure that you do your homework and understand the three options. Many test preparation companies and tutors do not have adequate resources in the ACT, so I feel many will discourage students from taking that route. DO NOT fall for that sales tactic. Before you talk to a test preparation company or tutor, take an ACT practice test, learn more about all of your options, and ask the right questions.

Explore Test-Optional Colleges Too

Did you know that not all colleges require students to submit SAT or ACT scores to be admitted to college? If you are a strong student, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, you may be surprised to learn that many colleges, and really good colleges, have become "test-optional". Too many parents and students dismiss "test-optional" as a possible route to college admission. But before you do that, find out more about this growing, "student-friendly" trend in college admission.