For the first time in 40 years, The CollegeBoard is offering a summer SAT test date. The ACT, not to be outdone, announced it will be offering a summer sitting as well, but not until July of 2018. These changes offer students quite a bit of valuable flexibility, while filling the traditional lack of test offerings that lasted from June to October—a third of the year.
The ACT will be adding the July test date to its current roster of six test dates, meaning students will have seven opportunities to test throughout the academic year. The SAT, on the other hand, will trade its January sitting for its August one, keeping its total academic year testing dates at seven.
This is the first policy shift in some time that seems to be a genuine student-focused effort, and not a market-share grab. The ACT says its change was in response to student’s requests for an additional test date prior to early-admissions deadlines. The CollegeBoard was more surreptitious in unveiling its new test date, simply listing its new schedule without a press release.
These two, new test dates are very positive for students vis-à-vis the optionality they provide to students’ schedules. Our position has always been that Juniors, if forced to choose, should defer test prep in the second semester of their junior years in favor of focusing on AP exams and finals. This is the right time allocation, as the second semester of junior year is the last weighty one that has the potential to significantly shift GPAs. However, this only left juniors with two very close test dates in senior year (the October and November, or September and October; SAT and ACT respectively)—dates that were particularly inconvenient as students also needed also to compile their applications and juggle schoolwork and extracurricular activities.
Now, students can finish their junior year, focused on finals and APs, and then prep for the SAT or ACT. If students take advantage of the summer test, they will be completely done with standardized tests by the start of their senior years.
This is a good add from The CollegeBoard and the ACT, and one that most Juniors should consider, as it obviates the need for students to split their attentions between school work and test prep.