What Does An August SAT Date Mean For Students?
The new SAT is debuting this March, but another big change for the test is on the horizon – the College Board recently revealed that, starting in 2017, students will have the option to take the SAT in August. With the addition of a test date also comes the removal of one – the College Board will also eliminate the January test starting in 2018.
While this change seems far off, it can have a big impact on how current sophomores (the high school class of 2018) prepare for the exam.
How This Affects Testing Schedules
With the elimination of the January test, students will have to make sure they start the test prep process early, ensuring they can get their goal score by the December test date. While many colleges currently accept January test scores for fall applicants, with the elimination of that test, the first spring date will be in March – way too late for seniors to take and get their scores back for consideration for admission.
An Extra Chance to Test Before Fall of Senior Year
The new August test date will be beneficial to many rising seniors, as they’ll have a chance to take the test before the rigors of the fall of senior year kick in. They’ll also be able to better assess whether they’re prepared to apply early to their top-choice college.
Utilize Summer Test Prep
For those who choose to dedicate part of their summer to test prep, this is also a great opportunity to put their skills to the test earlier. Currently, students who prep over the summer have to wait until October to take the SAT. That gap between when their test prep tapers and the test date can cause a little brain-drain for some students, especially if they have a challenging course load that takes away from time they could spend brushing up on their SAT skills.
While the new SAT claims to better align with what students are learning in the classroom, so additional outside prep isn’t crucial, it’s important to remember that this just isn’t true. Students who dedicate even just a little time to test prep see score increases. If students really want to perform well they need to prepare by taking practice tests, studying the material, and practicing test-taking strategies.
Students Can’t Afford to Get Behind On Test Prep
While the January test is typically one of the least popular SAT test dates, it is often a critical option for students who may need that one last chance to get their scores up for college admissions. This is why it’s very important for students to get started on their test prep strategy early, so they’re not scrambling in the fall of senior year.
There are some disadvantages to the August test date, as pointed out in this article. However, it’s important to remember that no matter when you decide to take the SAT or ACT you should go into the test completely prepared. Luckily, this change won’t go into effect until 2017, so underclassmen have plenty of time to determine what’s the best test rep strategy and testing schedule for them.