In the months that have passed since the College Board officially announced the redesigned SAT exam, the college admissions landscape has undergone some significant (and oftentimes unexpected) shifts. Students, parents, and college counselors alike find themselves asking the same questions: Should I take the current SAT or wait until the new test is administered? Will colleges only accept the redesigned test once it is released? What’s changing on the test?
Amidst all of this turmoil, the College Board has been struggling to keep its head above the water. Most recently, they announced PSAT score reports would be delayed—instead of December 14, students would not receive their scores until January 7 (electronically)/January 29 (print). That, on top of other delays in score returns for the current SAT and several other mishaps, makes it difficult for us to expect a smooth roll out of the redesigned SAT.
The redesigned SAT will make its debut in March 2016. That means the last time students will see the current SAT is the fast approaching test date on January 23. By and large, the recommendation from test prep experts has been to take the ACT or take the current SAT before it’s too late. Why? Because for a test this important to your future, you don’t want to risk being the guinea pig for the new exam. Even with prep, there may be surprises on test day that can really throw you off.
To further convince students that, come March, the ACT will be their best bet, see the timeline of recent College Board delays below. Given the number and frequency of events, it’s clear that the College Board has a lot going on, which will undoubtedly affect everyone involved in college admissions in the next couple months.
On the other hand, the ACT underwent some changes, but they were minimal. The majority of the test still remains the same, thus, we know studying and preparation is much, much more reliable and effective. Additionally, contrary to popular belief, every single college and university in the U.S. accepts ACT scores for admissions.
This, however, is not to say that students should forever avoid the SAT. The College Board may just need some time to adjust after the first (and even second) wave of students sit for the redesigned exam. Our advice, if you choose not to take the ACT and have ample time to prepare, is to wait until later SAT dates in 2016. By that time everyone—including the College Board itself—will know much more about the new exam and the best methods of studying for it.