For the past 25 years or so, I’ve been sitting down with parents and students to help them plan for college entrance standardized tests such as the SAT, ACT, and Subject Tests.
This coming school year will be quite interesting, to say the least, for those of you who will be juniors. You have a unique opportunity to choose among three different tests for college entrance:
1 – The current SAT
2 – The ACT
3 – The redesigned SAT
Which test should you take? It seems quite overwhelming with the changes to the SAT coming in March 2016 (the PSAT this coming October will also be a completely redesigned test).
One way to cope with the coming changes is to take a simulated current SAT and a simulated ACT. Compare the results and also your comfort level with each test. There are three possibilities for you to consider:
1 – You loved the current SAT, scored much better on it and really didn’t like the ACT.
In this case, you should seriously think of taking the current SAT this fall: October, November, December and/or January. Pick two of these dates that work best for you with a possible third one in the back of your mind. If everything goes well, you might be done taking college entrance tests by January 2016. Don’t forget that you will be taking the redesigned PSAT. The results on this test will give you a good idea of how you might do on the redesigned SAT, which will be given beginning in March 2016.
2 – You hated the current SAT, loved the ACT and scored well on it.
Cross off the current SAT and start planning for taking the ACT (also be prepared for the possibility of taking the redesigned SAT).
3 – You liked both tests and the scores were similar.
I suggest you opt for taking the ACT since there is more potential for improvement as the year progresses on the ACT than on the current SAT . Plan to take the ACT at least twice during your junior year. You could pick December and April or February and April, leaving June for a possible third trial. You may retake both the ACT and redesigned SAT in the fall of your senior year.
College Board made available on its website a few sample redesigned SATs and PSATs. You could try one of them just to get an idea of what’s coming. Unfortunately, there aren’t any scales available to score these tests as of now. According to College Board, scales will be available later this summer. [Editor’s note: CollegeBoard has released the scales for the PSAT]
There are some other considerations to keep in mind:
• If you are being recruited for sports, you might have to take some of these tests earlier than you would normally do otherwise. Coaches usually want to have some idea of how you score on any of these tests early in the year.
• If you are taking AP classes then you will be taking AP exams at the beginning of May.
• If you need to take subject tests, then May and June are two dates to schedule them.
• The results for the first redesigned SAT in March 2016 will not be available until sometime in May 2016.
These are just some considerations to keep in mind when you plan for this coming school year. Each student has special circumstances which need to be accounted for when planning. You can always call and make an appointment for a free consultation to discuss your particular situation.
Thank you for reading.