Coming to A Testing Center (Hopefully) Near You…
August 26, 2017 marks the (re)introduction of a summer SAT testing date, much to the applause of over-committed, rising high school seniors looking for an opportunity to prepare and sit for the SAT or SAT Subject Tests without the added pressure of a full plate of classes; extracurricular demands; and the time required in the fall to complete college applications.
This debut of the August test date is expected to draw a large number of test takers. Note that while the regular deadline to register is July 28, certain metropolitan areas, including Boston and New York City, are expected to experience high demand for the available number of seats. Early registration is essential for preferred testing locations.
The availability of a summer testing date offers a number of potential benefits to students:
1. The growth in the number of schools with Early Action/Early Decision/Priority application deadlines necessitates that students complete testing equally promptly.
2. If a student has waited for the middle or end of junior year to test and would like the benefit of an additional testing opportunity, she can now do so without the demands of the senior fall staring her in the face.
3. If a student was caught short in studying for Subject Tests, say amid the requirements of preparing for May APs toward the end of junior year, or perhaps missed the June test date due to other exigencies, there is still the summer to refresh recently-completed subject material. This is valuable before the introduction of new coursework in senior year, particularly in courses that do not build in tandem ex. chemistry with little to no overlap with physics or biology.
4. Initiating or refreshing test prep without the distraction of other academic pressures may enable the student to focus more on his preparation contributing, at least in theory, to a higher test score. Even though some school districts start up again in late August, the school year will not yet be in full swing.
5. At the very least sitting for a summer SAT, with the advantage of some breathing room in the calendar, can potentially make a huge difference for students disposed to anxiety in anticipation of high-stakes testing.
6. For students who had put their eggs into the ACT basket but now want to try their hand at the SAT can now do so without having to wait for October of senior year to come around. And…
7. …those students who decide to — or need to — take the SAT in fall of senior year, can now potentially avoid the pressures of back-to-back October and November testing. Testing as such, with precious little time in between to assess prior scores and shore up weak areas, is unlikely to be productive in significantly boosting scores.
For more information about the SAT, SAT Subject Tests or to register, visit the CollegeBoard website.
Marla Platt, M.B.A. is an independent college consultant based in Sudbury, MA through AchieveCoach College Consulting, providing personalized guidance to students and families throughout the college planning, search and admissions process. Marla is a professional member of the Independent Educational Consultants Association and can be reached via www.achievecoach.com