The New Official August SAT: Advantages and Disadvantages

The College Board has announced that beginning in 2017, students will have the opportunity to take an official SAT in late August.  With the addition of this new test date, current rising sophomores and juniors will be able to prepare during their summers and take the exam before the academic school year begins, when they have more time and energy to devote to the standardized test process.  Even students who begin school in August can benefit from taking an earlier exam when coursework is still relatively light.  Currently, students who complete SAT test preparation over the summer have to wait until October to apply their hard-earned skills. This new test date will allow students to put those skills to the test at the end of August, while the material is still fresh in their minds.

Another advantage of an August SAT test date is that it offers rising seniors an additional chance to achieve their desired standardized test results before Early Decision (ED) or Early Action (EA) college application deadlines. Securing a desired score earlier in the admissions process may prove useful when deciding whether or not to exercise ED or EA at a given school or schools.  

It is also important to note that the new 2017 August SAT will be replacing the 2018 January SAT test date.  While many students welcome this scheduling trade-off, there may be drawbacks to consider for students who have previously benefited from a January test date. Students who have been deferred from the early admissions pool will no longer be able to use the January exam to enhance their odds of gaining admission in the regular decision process.  The elimination of the January test may also disadvantage those who have already gained admission but require a higher score to quality for merit-based scholarships. This serves as one more reason to create a coherent test prep and official testing plan during the Summer prior to Junior year. If you would like a free consultation to create such a plan, please reach out through our Contact Us form.

In summary, Test Prep Gurus welcomes the new August official SAT date because it will be helpful to students. However, it should be noted that one major disadvantage to prepping for the New SAT, regardless of the official exam date, is that it requires students to prepare for a broader scope of content than the ACT does. Over the past seven months our students have successfully demonstrated that it is just as possible to improve scores on the New SAT as it is the ACT. However, due to the wider breadth of material that must be covered on the New SAT, students are required to spend more time and energy preparing in order to achieve said score improvements. In other words, the New SAT is just as "prepable" as the ACT, but students can reach their scoring potential in less time by prepping for the ACT. We will be discussing the reasons behind this in next month's e-newsletter.    

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