The SAT is changing… What does it mean to you?

On February 26, 2013, in an email to 6,000 member schools, The College Board – administrators of the SAT® – announced plans “to redesign the SAT so it better meets the needs of students, schools, and colleges at all levels.”

At this point, few specifics are known. Here’s what we do know:

* Given the proposed scope of change, this will not impact the class of 2013, 2014 or 2015, as the earliest that an overhauled SAT could launch would be Spring 2015, which would impact today’s freshmen. But there has not yet been a date released for the launch of the proposed new test.

*Something to note: the last time the SAT changed, in 2005, we saw the PSAT change first in October of 2004. As the PSAT is intended as the preliminary SAT for test takers, it will be worth watching to see if the PSAT changes first this time as well (in October 2014).

*The stated objective of the test change is to improve the SAT to “strongly focus on the core knowledge and skills that evidence shows are the most important to prepare students for the rigors of college and career.”*

*David Coleman, the new head of the College Board, has stated that he would like to add source material for students to analyze in the SAT writing section, but this has not yet been confirmed.

What does this change mean to you even if it may “seem” like you or your loved ones are “not impacted” based on the timeline and College Board’s statement above? Let me put it this way: EVERYBODY IS IMPACTED by this change no matter what unless you are already a senior who is done with testing and on your way to college applications.

One and only reason, which is kind of obvious, is that colleges know that this change is coming, which already trigerred (if it did not so before College Board made its decision to change the SAT) that SAT is indeed NOT the best measure to gauge students’ academic strength. How many successful leaders who finished great colleges do you know got to where they are with “unfathomable” vocabulary? (let me guess, at least 98% of you looked up the word, unfathomable, which is indeed a very commonly tested SAT word in the Reading section). ACT has gained significant grounds in the last decade because of this very reason. Therefore, I suggest do not bank on your 2250 SAT score, but take the ACT, as well, and submit both scores! This way, you will prove to colleges that it is not about how much you can memorize, but it is about how much fundamentals matter in core subjects.

This means, you cannot afford not to include the ACT in your testing plans until we know the change College Board is planning is indeed a good one…. Those of you who are currently in middle school, you will have both the new SAT and the ACT to choose from, but anyone who is older, you really only have one: Go with ACT, at least once.