In view of the redesigned SAT, we have somewhat altered the advice we typically give students about their junior-year testing calendar. This means YOU, members of the class of 2017:
The first redesigned PSAT will be given on October 14 and 28, 2015, and while we expect it to be more difficult than the current PSAT, it doesn’t look like it will be as difficult as the College Board led us to believe in December, 2015. In fact, the full-length practice test released by College Board in March, 2015, is easier than the set of practice questions released last December. Here are links to the practice test and answer explanations:
Redesigned SAT: This test will be administered for the first time in March, 2016, which is typically when juniors take their first SAT. However, there will be precious little available in terms of top-quality test prep materials for the new test. College Board will publish a book of only four tests on June 30, 2015, and Khan Academy has just released two practice tests on its website (with another two promised in the future):
- Create a Khan Academy account if you do not currently have one (sign-up here).
- Click here to access the practice tests. After you complete a test, you’ll receive a raw score (total correct) and be able to navigate through the questions to see which were correct and incorrect.
The first two administrations of the redesigned SAT will come with delayed score reporting ― perhaps up to 6-8 weeks, rather than 19 days, making it difficult to expeditiously plan for future testing and test-prep. Further, we won’t know right away what the new scores mean as the 200-800 scales will not necessarily be the same as the existing 200-800 scales. And, finally, and perhaps most important, based on the test specifications and sample questions already released by College Board, the redesigned SAT looks to be much harder than both the current SAT and ACT. While this might not be the case for more gifted test-takers, the majority of students will likely find this to be true for them.
This test will be around through January, 2016, which is mid-way through your junior year. Since colleges will accept the current SAT when you apply, taking the existing test ― for which we have myriad actual tests and practice questions for your test-prep ― is an advantageous way to go if you can finish your testing by January, 2016. The current SAT will also be accepted for National Merit Scholar contenders.
Colleges treat the SAT and ACT exactly the same ― so why take a chance on a new test (the SAT) with a paucity of top-quality test prep materials when you can take the ACT, which has undergone minimal change ― and for which there’s a tome of actual tests with which to prepare! Yes, the ACT will have a redesigned essay component, but we already know all about it and have developed some great test-prep strategies to help students succeed on this essay.
So what does all this mean for you? Seriously consider taking the ACT or the current SAT, rather than the redesigned SAT! And, of course, you should be able to use the October 2015 PSAT to gauge how you might fare on the redesigned SAT since the PSAT has always done a good job of predicting success on the SAT.
For those interested in taking the current SAT, the last administration will be in January 2016. Your best bet will be to begin prepping early! Our summer test prep schedule has been posted to our site; and, of course, private test prep is always available.
For some additional information, read our blog: Steer Clear of the New SAT.