Important Testing Updates: February 2016

By February 11, 2016 February 14th, 2016 ACT, College Admission Requirements, PSAT, SAT

Notable-Updates-FebWe have received word of a few important developments in the world of college admission testing.

Addition of August SAT in 2017

College Board (CB) quietly released its SAT dates for the next three years. We were pleasantly surprised to learn that starting in 2017, an August administration will be added to the annual testing calendar. Simultaneously, CB announced that the January SAT date will be phased out after its final showing in 2017.

Experimental Section on the New SAT

Students universally rejoiced when it appeared that CB had eliminated the ‘experimental section’ from the SAT. The experimental section was an additional 25-minute Math, Critical Reading, or Writing section that did not count toward a student’s score but was used for the vetting of future test items.

We recently discovered, however, that a multiple-choice experimental section will be administered to some students who forego taking the optional 50-minute Essay. The experimental section will be enforced by proctors as ‘required’ – even though it will not count toward students’ scores – and will take the form of a 20-minute Math, Reading, or Writing and Language section.

Because a number of popular colleges are requiring or recommending the optional Essay for the next admission cycle, we are advising students to take it.

Mitigated Delay of March SAT Results

At the College Board Regional Forum in Seattle (week of 2/8), the Executive Director of SAT Program Communications, Jennifer Karan, reported that March scores will be released by May 10th. Concurrently, the June SAT registration deadline would be pushed to May 11th, allowing students to review their results before registering for a follow-up exam.  

Since early 2015, CB explained that it required the data from March and May test-takers to confirm the scaling of the new SAT. Consequently, March test-takers would not obtain their scores until Mid-May or early June, a major logistical concern for families in the throes of college planning without any official results in hand.

Reflecting on CB’s inability to meet the majority of its deadlines during the rollout of the new P/SAT, we recommend that families take this encouraging news with a grain of salt. Actions speak much louder than words.

Updated Accommodations Policies

College Board has updated the section of its website detailing the administration of testing accommodations. For families hoping to secure extended time, we highly recommend reviewing the Registering for the SAT with Accommodations tab and the Test Day Details section. Test Day Details is particularly useful in its breakdown of time per test section and break policies.

Further Questions?

Don’t hesitate to contact a Compass director with additional questions you may have about college admission testing! We understand how confusing all of these rapid-fire updates can be, and we want you to feel as empowered and informed as possible.

Matt Steiner

About Matt Steiner

Prior to joining the Compass team, Matt obtained an M.A. from the University of Chicago and a B.A. from the University of California, Santa Cruz. They have a decade of experience in the field of test preparation, working for multiple well-regarded private tutoring firms. Matt currently teaches graduate-level lectures on college admission testing through UC San Diego, UCLA, and UC Irvine. In their instruction and public speaking, Matt endeavors to build transparency around college admission tests.


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