The College Board is releasing a new version of the SAT in March of 2016, but if you're wondering whether you should wait to take it,Anthony-James Green has one word of advice: Don’t.
“You’ll be a guinea pig,” warns the SAT and ACT tutor and founder of Green Test Prep online. In fact, Green — dubbed “the SAT tutor of the 1 percent” by CNN Money — says you should avoid taking the new test until June 2016.
There aren’t enough practice tests
For one, says Green, “it’s an entirely new format, and there’s not nearly enough info about the test to help students adequately prepare for it.”
“When you study for the SAT, you want to go through thousands of practice problems so that when you go take the actual test it’s not a big deal because you’ve done it so many times that you know what to expect.”
The SAT has released only four practice tests online to help students prepare for the new version, as opposed to the thousands of readily available ones for the current exam. And the new prep book — which costs $25, by the way — doesn’t have any more of them, either. “It’s infuriating,” says Green.
It’s basically the same test as the ACT
The current SAT and ACT are radically different tests, but with the new version that will change.
“The new test is obviously a response to the ACT’s popularity,” Green says. “I do this for a living, and I can barely tell the difference between the new SAT and the ACT — they’re so similar.”
Yet, some students benefit from having such contrasting options. “The SAT is much more a test of logical reasoning, while the ACT is more difficult objectively, but more straightforward,” says Green. “There’s a benefit to having two different tests. Schools don’t prefer one over the other, so that means you can figure out what’s best for your brain, your test-taking style. Now, that opportunity is going to be gone.”
What students should do
If you’re planning on taking your standardized tests before the March cut-off, Green says, figure out which exam is best for you. “We have a free guide on our site which can tell you what test you should take — and if it’s the SAT, I say start studying for it right away so you can knock it out before the test changes.”
As for the new SAT, Green says to avoid taking it till June, when more info and practice tests will be available, and to take the ACT instead, supplementing with SAT Subject Tests.
But no matter what you decide, start preparing —now. “Take 30 minutes a day to really immerse yourself in the material,” says Green. “Don’t wait till the last minute.”