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The New SAT: Why You Should Skip the First Three Tests

In a recent Business Insider article, Anthony Green of Green SAT & ACT Prep (use discount code GETGREEN to get $50 off his course) discussed the new SAT and his recommendations to his students to skip the first three rounds of the new SAT (March, May, and June 2016). I totally agree, but let’s break down his reasons and make sure they apply to you.


First of all, should you even take the SAT? I actually preferred the ACT. I scored better on it than the SAT when I took them, and it is much less “tricky” than the SAT. However, some people are better at the SAT, and you can learn many tactics to beat the SAT exactly because it is tricky. Also, while most of the Ivies accept either the SAT or ACT, they’re more used to the SAT. When I applied 11 years ago, Harvard and others required the SAT (submitting ACT scores was optional) whereas most midwestern schools focused on the ACT. There is something to be said with going with the norm for testing. It’s easier to compare candidates. If you are much better at the ACT, though, just take it and don’t worry about the new SAT.
For those of you who want to take the SAT, these are the reasons to skip the first three tests:

Lack of Information

The most important key to getting the best possible score on a standardized test is preparation. There isn’t a ton of information out there right now about exactly what this test will look like. Maybe that will change as it gets closer, but why risk it? Before taking any test you should know exactly what to expect: what kinds of questions you’ll be asked, the range of topics you’ll be tested on, the range of difficulty of the problems. Taking a test without this information is a bad idea. Period.

Lack of Study Materials

The absolute best way to practice for taking the SAT is to take practice SATs. There won’t be very many of those before at least three testing rounds have finished. After that, there will be much more study material available to supplement the material the College Board puts out. Again, the more material you have to study with the better.

The “Oops” Factor

You put a lot of faith in testing companies that they will execute the test fairly and accurately. We all know there can be huge errors with the College Board. Why risk another problem like we’ve seen before? Hopefully by the fourth test, they will have worked out all the kinks.

Action Steps

  1. Leave a comment or email me at jyeager@post.harvard.edu about whether you prefer the SAT or ACT.
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