Should My Child Take the New SAT?

The third and final post in our “New SAT” blog series answers the most complex of the frequently asked questions parents have about the new SAT: should my child take the new SAT?

This question is the most challenging because it is going to be different for each student. One of our biggest beliefs at Educational Connections is that the idea of one-size-fits-all does not work when applied to education. This is especially true in test prep. For this reason, we recommend that every student take a full-length practice ACT and SAT to determine which test is the better match. We also create entirely customized test prep programs to make sure that students are receiving tailored instruction unique to their learning style and test prep strengths and weaknesses.

With all that being said, there is no blanket answer to the question, “should my child take the new SAT?” But here’s what we do know:

Scores will not be released until June

Because the test is brand new, the College Board will need two rounds of test takers to normalize the test. This means that even if you take the test in March 2016, you will not receive your scores for almost three months. This is a drastically longer wait time compared to the current SAT or ACT’s two week turn around.

For some students, this can be worrisome. Many students prepare for a March test, and then depending on their scores, continue to work with a tutor to boost their scores by the May test. With the new scoring schedule, students will not have the valuable information to boost their scores from one test to the next.


The middle range for colleges will be unknown initially

One of the first steps in preparing for the SAT or ACT is determining the middle 50% of the colleges you consider. This activity typically gives students a goal for test prep and helps them in the school selection process.

Because the test is brand new, colleges will not have this middle 50% data for the previous freshman class. Speculation will certainly be possible. Top tier colleges will be looking for high scores, but the exact numbers will remain unknown.

 Test taking strategies will be different

The current SAT is a test of logic that relies heavily on use of test prep strategies. When students work with tutors one-on-one to learn these strategies, we often see a huge bump in their scores. But because the format of the test is being completely redesigned, many traditional SAT strategies will no longer apply.

As stated before, it’s really challenging to give a yes or no answer to this question. There is a lot of uncertainty surrounding the new test; however, the format is in line with the common core and that may really benefit a number of students.

If you’re unsure if your child should take the new SAT or just stick with the ACT; we recommend that you have your child take a full-length practice test of both the new SAT and ACT over the summer. We are offering a handful of test dates this summer. To view the full calendar, click here. After students complete the practice test, our test prep team, will schedule a 20 minute phone consultation to go over the results and help provide you with guidance. This service is free with no strings attached, and is really the best way to know if the risk with the new SAT will be worth the possible reward.

If you have more questions about the new SAT, check out our earlier blogs, “What Parents Need to Know About the New SAT,” and “How Will the New SAT Impact My Child,” or email Educational Connections’ Test Prep Manager, Michael Oliver at