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New vs. Old SAT: What Should You Do?

March marks the launch of the new SAT, and if you are like most students and families, you have concerns.

The SAT has a track record of making changes (and mistakes). The impact of these changes are often not fully realized for several years later, and understandably so, you may not want to be the guinea pig. However, is there really reason for concern?

Before you flee to the ACT (or only apply to test-optional colleges), read on.

While these changes are new to you and you will be directly impacted by them on test day, colleges have been dealing with test changes for decades. They are experts at assessing the results of new standardized tests and ensuring students are not disadvantaged in the process. Yes, that is right. They give students the benefit of the doubt and balance the results to fairly reflect performance compared to past tests and even the ACT. Furthermore, many colleges use conversion scales to compare test versions (current and past versions of both the SAT and ACT), and they will have a method to properly and accurately assess the new SAT.

So what are my recommendations?

You should take the (new) SAT and ACT just as you would if no changes were taking place. And you never know… The new changes may work in your favor with content that better matches your skills and knowledge—raising your score!

Students commonly perform much better on either the SAT or the ACT, so you should take practice tests of both the new SAT and the ACT to determine which format better complements your abilities. Official practice tests are available for the SAT and ACT to determine this. Then, you should sign up and take the test you performed best on.

By practicing, you can familiarize yourself with the tests’ format, content, and types of questions to adjust your future practice and study sessions. Standardized tests are a balance of knowledge and mental endurance. And just like any other talent, whether it is a sport or musical instrument, you have to practice, practice, practice to improve your skills and stamina.

For full details on the New vs. Old SAT, the College Board is your best source of accurate, reliable information.


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