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Reasons NOT to Take the New SAT

April 06, 2015
Written by Rachel Blankstein


Reasons members of the class of 2017 should not immediately take the new SAT exam:

Successfully preparing for the new exam will be virtually impossible:

Getting a good score on the SAT requires months – sometimes years – of preparation. To ensure that students deliver on the exam, we recommend that they take 3 to 4 timed practice tests before each sitting of the SAT. Analyzing the results of a practice tests is a crucial part of the studying process, because it gives students insight into the areas they need to revisit. While there are currently a plethora of study materials available for the SAT exam in its current form, that’s not the case for the reworked exam. Publishers (including Barron's, McGraw Hill and more), as well as The College Board itself, will make those materials available after the first few rounds of testing have been completed. But in the meantime, students will not have the necessary materials to succeed on the exam. Once students, parents, and tutors can get their hands on practice testing materials, they will be better equipped to study and prepare for the SAT.

Students should not be “guinea pigs” to The College Board’s market-driven changes.

The College Board touts that the redesigned SAT will be “more focused and useful than ever” and “will test the few things that research shows matter most for college readiness and success.”

While The College Board cites student success as the primary reason behind the new design of the test, the reality is that the planned changes come at time when the SAT’s competitor – the ACT – is seeing increasing success. It’s been well documented that the SAT has lost market share in recent years. Therefore, the changes to the SAT will be implemented for marketing reasons. We believe students should avoid becoming “guinea pigs” to The College Board’s market-driven changes and instead take the exam after any potential glitches associated with the rollout (both in terms of the grading system and content of the exam) have been addressed.

What should you do if you’re graduating in 2017 and need to take the SAT in 2016?

Take the SAT early, wait for the roll-out to pass, or take the ACT instead

We discourage students from participating in the first three rounds of the new SAT test (March, May and June of 2016). Instead, we recommend taking the SAT test in the spring of 2015 (March, May, June) or in the fall/winter of 2015 (October, November, December, or January), before changes are implemented in March 2016.

We recommend that students take the exam 2 times, unless there is reason to believe that there will be a drastic improvement by taking it a third time. Those who want to take advantage of all those opportunities should plan accordingly (taking the test in October, November, December). Alternatively, students could opt out of taking the SAT altogether, and instead take the ACT.

In either case, waiting for the first few trial periods to pass will ensure that students avoid any possible kinks that may arise, and that they have the materials necessary to succeed to on the exam.

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