Guest post by Jason Shao of Revolution Prep
A recent article in Business Insider suggested that students should avoid taking the New SAT for the first three sittings (in March, May, and June of 2016). We thought this was a bold position to take, so we asked our trusted partner Revolution Prep to give us their perspective.
Anthony Green, the tutor interviewed for the article, makes some pretty good points and is, in my opinion, pretty spot on about the College Board. However, I think the article generates a lot more fear than necessary around a test that, frankly, no one really knows all that much about yet.
Every time the College Board announces a change like this they make it sound like a sweeping game-changing move, when in reality this new test will likely not be that different from the current exam. This was the case with the last change (in 2005) around which there was a good amount of panic as well. I was actually in one of the first three administrations of that exam and it went more or less fine.
That being said, since we don’t know either way how this new test will be, I’m recommending that sophomores (especially advanced kids) avoid the uncertainty and give the current test a try. If they’re scoring at a level where they can realistically study and do well on the test, I’m encouraging them to take one or two of the administrations between now and December. Of course, if they do a practice exam for each and strongly prefer the ACT then there’s no problem at all.
While I do understand the reason Green is recommending students only take the ACT, I’m a bit hesitant to push families in that direction exclusively. Across all the students I’ve worked with, there have been plenty of kids that attempted the ACT and simply didn’t respond well to it (the same is true with the SAT in many cases). I still want to give kids the benefit of picking the test that is best for them because I’ve seen it make such a big difference in final test scores in the past.
Unfortunately there is a bunch of sophomores that are simply not at an academic or maturity level necessary to tackle either test at this point. In those situations, I’m strongly recommending using this time to begin strengthening their core math and critical reading skills around the current material for both tests so that they’re ready for whatever comes later this year. Yes, the new test is a big unknown. But what we know for sure is that these are the fundamental skills kids are being tested on. Incidentally, these are skills that will very much benefit them overall in any case.
Jason Shao is an advisor with Revolution Prep, a leader in online academic and test prep tutoring, helping students all over the world achieve better grades and better test scores.