With only two administrations of the current SAT remaining, I am getting numerous phone calls about which test Juniors should take--the current test, the (redesigned) new SAT, or the ACT? It shouldn't be a difficult decision.
If you have spent the fall preparing for the current SAT, take the current SAT.
If you can dedicate the next seven weeks to test prep, take the current SAT in January. Then turn your attention to the ACT in the spring. The only content tested on the current SAT that is not assessed on the ACT is difficult vocabulary words, so your studies will not be in vain.
If you cannot begin preparing for a college admissions test until 2016, take the ACT.
So, then, who should take the new SAT? Again, the answer is simple: no one in the class of 2017. Here’s why:
- Few practice tests have been released, meaning that you do not have a sufficient number of questions to practice with and that test prep companies have had to update their materials without as much information as in the past.
- Score reports are going to be delayed for up to eight weeks for the first few administrations.
- Admissions officers are not going to fully understand the results of the new test until correlations can be made between enrolled students’ test scores and those students' college performance.
- The difficulty level, text complexity, and amount of content tested has increased in all sections and has proved more difficult than the content assessed on the ACT.
- You do not want to be a guinea pig for the College Board and David Coleman, the president of the College Board, as they work out the kinks of this test. (David Coleman also happens to be the main architect of the Common Core State Standards. The ACT is looking better and better, isn't it?).
If you still are not convinced, check out a side-by-side comparison of the three tests.
Graphic: "decisions" courtesy of Impact Hub