For the first time since the 1970’s, College Board will be offering a summer administration of the SAT. The inaugural summer exam is scheduled for August 26, 2017 and will recur annually. The January SAT date, often cited as an unpopular option, will be phased out after its final appearance in 2017.
The announcement of the August SAT date yielded much fanfare among students, school counselors, and test prep professionals. Supporters of the new date note that busy students will be able to utilize the summer after 11th grade – a time free of school obligations – for intensive preparation. In years past, the delay between the culmination of summer tutoring and official test dates would diminish the efficacy of prep. For instance, students who took the October SAT, but failed to review the material for months, were likely to see deflated results. Why? Their fluency with the test had deteriorated without regular practice.
Additionally, the August SAT date is being lauded for the cushion of time it will give students who plan to apply to colleges early decision or early action. Students who sit for the August exam will receive their test results far in advance of early application deadlines. In fact, should these students find themselves dissatisfied with their August scores, they will have a second and third opportunity (October and November) to retake the exam ‘on record’ in the fall. In light of the recent spate of SAT and ACT scoring debacles, the implementation of a summer offering will be a welcome insurance policy for students concerned about application deadlines.
In a recent article in the Atlantic, one of Compass’ founders, Adam Ingersoll, shared his opinion of the new test date. Although Ingersoll is pleased with College Board’s decision to include a summer option, he warns that the organization’s motives are not purely altruistic. For years, College Board’s main competitor, ACT, has hosted a much beloved test date in early September. Many seniors (and even a few juniors) flocked to the September ACT, hoping to complete their testing before getting mired in the rigmarole of high school. According to Ingersoll, by instituting a summer date, College Board has leapfrogged over ACT in an attempt to coax more students away from its primary competitor.
At the Western Regional College Board Forum in Seattle – taking place this week (2/8) – College Board’s Executive Director of SAT Program Communications, Jennifer Karan, reported that the summer test date will provide a unique an unprecedented opportunity: colleges may volunteer to host the August SAT and allow students to visit their campuses. Karan also deemphasized the August exam as a tactical move against ACT, stating that College Board originally intended to host an early fall test but ran into conflict with ACT administrations, Labor Day Weekend, and religious holidays. Late summer proved to be the best option.
What does the August SAT date mean for Compass students?
The first group of students who should consider the August SAT is the class of 2018 (current 10th graders). Although the majority of Compass students in this class will plan to complete at least one ‘fully-prepped’ official test during the spring of junior year, the August SAT date will provide a nice follow-up opportunity for those who didn’t hit their peak scores. Moreover, as it was mentioned earlier, the August date provides a clear target for well-paced tutoring over the summer months.
If you are banking on the August test date in 2017, be sure to register early. We have already noticed a surge in students signing up for ACT testing sites in 2016 – we anticipate the August session will be in exceptionally high demand.
Should you have questions about the August SAT or other test planning concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact a Compass director for further advising.