Academic Tip of the Month – Both tests are changing this year. Which one should you take?

By ArborBridge Test Prep


HERE’S WHY: The ACT is changing here and there, but the SAT is being completely redesigned, making it a much bigger gamble. The new SAT material is still being written and tested and no one knows how the scoring is going to work or whether scores might be inflated or deflated. For a test this important to your application process, we recommend that you stick with the exam that’s been heavily tested and that test prep experts know inside and out.

TIMING IS CRITICAL: SAT vs. ACT isn’t the only question to consider. You need to decide when you will be ready to test. Some students are busy in spring with a sport and thus need to test in the fall. Some students don’t have the math skills to test this fall and need to wait until they finish certain classes. Decide when you will do your best and pick the test from there.

EXCEPTIONS: As always, there are a couple exceptions to the rule:

  1. First, be sure to check with your target schools first. In almost all cases, the Class of 2017 can submit either old or new SAT scores. For younger students (Class of 2018), some colleges have said they will take either old or new scores, but a small number have said that they will only take new SAT scores and others are still undecided. As you can imagine, these policies are subject to change.

  2. Another exception applies to students with accommodations for a learning difference. Securing accommodations is different for each test. You may get extra time on both tests. You may only get extra time on the SAT but not the ACT, or vice versa. Having the extra time you need to show your talents is important, so you’ll want to factor it into your test selection process. No matter what, be sure to apply as early as possible for accommodations on both tests. Once you hear back from the SAT and ACT boards, you can make an educated decision about what is best for you.

REGISTERING: If you do decide you are ready to test this fall and that you want to take the current SAT, plan ahead. Almost everyone takes the SAT at least twice and sometimes three times. Plan to finish your last attempt in December, not January when the last current SAT is given. Why? Things go wrong on test day. You might wake up with the flu. There might be a fire alarm during the test. The College Board might make a mistake on the exam as they did in June. If something goes wrong during your last attempt in December, you’ll still have another test date to fall back on in January. Also, bear in mind there may be a large surge of students registering for the SAT this fall. The same is true for the ACT in spring. As soon as you know the dates you plan to take the tests, get online and register!

Register for the SAT here: Register for the ACT here:

Still not sure WHEN to take your standardized tests? Here’s a Rugger’s Edge-approved timeline:

Juniors – Now is the time to begin Test Prep! Contact our preferred provider, Arbor Bridge – email to get set up with a free consultation and diagnostic test today!

Did you know that improving your test scores can mean thousands of dollars in scholarships? Contact our preferred provider, Arbor Bridge – email to get set up with a free consultation and diagnostic test today!

Academic Tip of the Month Brought to you by ArborBridge