(Note: This blog post only applies to the class of 2017 and after.  If you are in the class of 2016, you blessedly get to ignore the craziness of the new SAT.)

The SAT is changing in March of  2016.  Is it for the better?  Should you or your child take it?  Am I going to actually answer a question?

In my not-so-humble opinion, the short answer is NO, at least not in the spring of 2016.  Fall of 2016? Sure.  Go for it.  I’ll even help you.  But I don’t advise my students to take any of the first three SAT test administrations (March, May, and June of 2016).  There are 2 main reasons for this:

  1. There just are not that many test resources available.  Sure, Khan Academy is partnering with Collegeboard to provide content review, and that is admirable and, hopefully, effective for kids who do not have the resources for traditional test prep. But besides this online course and the few tests that will be in the new Official SAT Study guide, there just isn’t that much available, material-wise.  For the current SAT we have 10 years of back tests to use as study guides.  After the spring of 2016 we will have experiential data as well as at least one actual test to use for prep.
  2. Nobody really knows how to score this new test. For the current SAT, students get their scores back about 3 weeks after the test is given.  Scores for the new SAT will not be released for over 2 months.  This tells me that ETS (the testing company that actually writes the test for Collegeboard) doesn’t know how to construct a curve for this test yet.  Which means those students who take this test will be lab rats for the psychometricians (test-writers) at ETS.  If you’re going to expend the time, effort, and money it takes to properly prep for a college admissions test you should know how the scoring works ahead of time.

There’s just too much uncertainty at this point to recommend the new SAT.  If you want to take the current SAT, you will have the October, November, December, and January, 2016 tests available to you.  College admissions counselors are all familiar with the current scoring, so there is no problem submitting an old SAT score instead of a new SAT score when you apply in the fall of 2016.

Take the old SAT.  Or the ACT, which isn’t changing and which I will discuss in another post…