The current SAT is only available for a few more tests. In March of 2016, the College Board is officially introducing a completely redesigned test that will go back to the 1600 scale and have a shift in focus.
While the new test will certainly be coachable, there are a wide variety of benefits to preparing for the current one if you are entering your junior year. You know what is going to be on it, you have plenty of time to prepare, and you can put one of the more stressful aspects of the college process behind you before the second semester of 11th grade starts to ramp up.
The new SAT is still somewhat of a mystery. While we know the broad strokes of what will be on it, and the types of concepts they will be focusing on, the College Board themselves probably haven’t figured out the test in its entirety. With the SAT, and any standardized test, you want as much information and material on it as possible to prepare. The current SAT has tens of official College Board tests to practice on. It has thousands of questions and the strategies are finely tuned at this point.
The test in its current form is extremely coachable and anyone who is willing to put the work in, will have massive rewards in terms of the score. It is not to say that this won’t happen on the new test as well, it’s just that the current 2400-Scale SAT is a known quantity. It is a proven test with proven methods that work. While it’s not easy, it is a fairly simple plan that just requires time, dedication, and flexibility. If you have those three things, then the current test is for you.
A lot of incoming juniors are also worried about not having enough time to prepare for the test. While it is true that taking it once during the spring of your junior year and then again in the fall of senior year is optimal, it’s not the only option. Plenty of students have excelled taking the test in the fall of junior year. If you spend the whole summer taking a course and preparing, you will be more than ready for the fall test. Then if you want to take it again, you will have options for November, December, or even January which gives you even more time prepare.
Being done with the SAT by the spring of junior year relieves a huge burden of stress and anxiety for many college applicants. The second semester of 11th grade and the first semester of 12th grade are the hardest two academic periods of high school. If you are able to ease the level of anxiety by removing the SAT as a factor, it can make college applications and schoolwork a lot easier for students. Happy Studying!
Jake Davidson is a Mork Family Scholar at USC and enjoys writing for the school paper as well as participating in various clubs. He has been tutoring privately since the age of 15 and is incredibly excited to help students succeed on the SAT.