When many high school freshman found out a couple of years back that the SAT was undergoing its most dramatic changes ever, they reacted in a totally predictable fashion: they freaked out.
After all, they would be guinea pigs not just for any test but for a test that more than any other could determine their futures. Since then, the writers of the test—The College Board—have released reams of new material and practice tests. Yet, there is so much lingering dread to the new test that many are opting to take the ACT, the once perceived underperforming sibling to the mighty SAT, but a test that has since gained more respectability amongst college admissions boards.
To make matters worse, at least as far as the new SAT was concerned, no scoring data had been released. So, you could take any one of the four practice tests available yet have no idea how you fared compared to other students–nor know what score on the old test your new SAT score corresponded to.
But here you are anyway, and I am going to tell you that you shouldn’t worry too much, that you might actually use this situation to your advantage. How?
1) You’ve come to the right place
By checking out the Magoosh New SAT blog and all that it offers, you already have an insider’s take on the test.
2) Get the test out of the way
As long as you prep and are serious about the test, you should take the opportunity to take the test in the first few months. That way you can focus on other aspects of your transcript.
3) Be the first to take a retake
By prepping first, you can also be one of the first to retake the SAT. Now before you balk, you should realize that a retake is not seen as a bad thing. In fact, admissions boards expect you to take the test several times. What they are looking for is score improvement between tests. Who knows, admission boards might even give you extra points for being one of the plucky souls to take the first few tests.
Taking the test the first time will also give you a good sense of exactly of how you do in the actual testing environment. This will give you valuable feedback on how to improve the second time around, and what to study before the retake.
4) The new test will favor certain kinds of students
The new test is less about traps and tricks and more about understanding the content. Those who remember their trigonometry and high-level math will also be at an advantage for the new test. This might very well describe you?
A few important caveats about the New SAT
You’ve probably heard this a million times, but we are like snowflakes: each one of us is different. As far as this test goes, you are in a certain grade in high school, you have a certain amount of exposure to the test (or not!), you have a certain knowledge base that you bring to the test, and you have certain good testing habits and not-so-good habits. Added to that are the idiosyncrasies of your schedule: you might have a heavy workload, or you might play a sport that interferes with your ability to prep. Whatever it may be you should take the test when you feel you have at least a month of time in which you can devote to prepping.
Just don’t discount taking the SAT in March or May because people say it’s a scary unknown.