In Part 1, Should I Take The Current or Redesigned SAT, we provided helpful tips to understand the difference between the current and redesigned SAT as well as ACT test to benefit the Class of 2017. Part 2 will detail “pros” and “cons” to support your decision on which test to take.

  1. Take the current SAT.
    1. Pros:
      1. Well-known test with a decade of data available, including many released SAT’s from prior administrations.
      2. Easier math than the redesigned test. After the redesign, the focus of the math will largely be on Algebra II concepts and will include some basic trigonometry and pre-calculus concepts. There will also be a non-calculator math portion.
      3. Test have been tested and normed fully. Score charts are consistent from test to test.
      4. If you have taken the PSAT during freshman and/or sophomore years of high school, you already have some exposure to this test.
    2. Cons:
      1. Guessing penalty deducts ¼ point for every wrong answer. There will be no penalty for guessing on the redesigned SAT.
      2. The test will only be available until January of 2016. If you do not reach your goal by that date, you will have to prep for and take the new SAT as well.
      3. Often has tricky wording that can be confusing to students.
  1. Take the new SAT.
    1. Pros:
      1. Can be taken later in junior year after you have completed more coursework.
      2. No tricky vocabulary tested. Vocabulary will only be tested in context. You can throw away those flashcards for lugubrious and jingoism!
      3. Will be slightly shorter than the current SAT.
      4. No penalty for guessing incorrectly.
      5. Essay will be optional.
    2. Cons:
      1. Test is new so scores have not been normed. This means that the students that take the first two rounds in March and May 2016 will be “guinea pigs”.
      2. Scores for both March and May will be released after the May test so there will be no time for juniors to review weak areas in order to take a second test junior year. You could take two test administrations during junior year, such as March and June, but you will not have feedback between the tests.
      3. There are a limited number of practice materials available since the test is new and no one knows exactly what the new test will look like.
      4. Contains a non-calculator math section.
  1. Take the ACT.
    1. Pros:
      1. ACT is making only minor changes in 2015-16 so the test will stay consistent throughout the school year.
      2. More test prep resources and released ACT’s from prior administrations available.
      3. Students often find the questions more straightforward than those on the SAT.
      4. Essay is optional.
      5. All questions are multiple-choice.
      6. No penalty for answering questions incorrectly.
    2. Cons:
      1. Covers more content than the SAT, including a science section.
      2. Primary score is a composite score (average of four content areas) so many schools do not superscore the ACT.
      3. Fastest paced out of the tests so students that have difficulty with pacing sometimes find the ACT more challenging.
      4. No formulas are given for the math section.