Seven Things You Need to Know About the SAT and ACT This Summer
For decades, anxious teenagers and their parents complained about the inability to take the SAT and ACT in summer. Finally, the test makers listened. Now, students can schedule the SAT, SAT Subject Tests and ACT during summer months. Here are seven things you should consider about this new testing opportunity.
1. Summer Is an Opportunity
Taking the SAT in August will be a superior time for many teenagers, because they will not experience the academic distractions of the school year.
For instance, the College Board has traditionally offered the SAT in May, but that is the month when students are studying for Advanced Placement (AP) tests. The SAT in early June often coincides with students studying for their high school final exams.
“Student who now spend 15 to 45 minutes a day in the summer studying for the test can do well on the SAT in August,” says Alberto Howe, the founder of Affordable College Solutions, a test-prep firm in South Florida.
2. The August Test Helps Early Applicants
The summer testing date can coincide with plans to apply for early decision and early action. Many students who apply to colleges and universities early will take the SAT in early June.
Previously, if they needed a better score, they had to wait until October to take the test again. Now, if their June test results aren’t good enough, they can sit for the exam in August and the October date can be the backup.
3. The August Test Is an Option for High-Achieving Students
The August testing date can be an attractive option for rising juniors who completed Algebra II or the equivalent. Conventional wisdom suggests that students should not attempt the test until they are juniors and preferably second-semester juniors.
Jed Applerouth, founder and chief executive officer of Applerouth Tutoring, which is based in Georgia, says the conventional wisdom doesn’t apply to all students.
“As long as a student has taken the relevant math, there is no downside to starting testing early in junior year,” Applerouth says. “Many of our advanced students are happy to get testing out of the way early their junior year.”
“They will frequently prepare for the October PSAT, seeking National Merit status and then move onto the official tests. It’s not unusual for one of our top performing juniors to take the October, November and December SATs, completing their testing before first semester exams.”
4. The ACT Will Have a Summer Test
With the SAT now offering a summer testing date, it is not surprising that ACT Inc. decided to roll out a summer test. The inaugural ACT summer test was on July 14, 2018.
In a statement regarding the announcement, an ACT executive said the move was in response to feedback from students, schools and teachers who wanted the July date for early admission application deadlines.
5. Summer Testing Helps Seniors
Now, high school seniors can finish their SAT and/or ACT standardized testing early. This is crucial so they can focus on their undergraduate admissions applications, which can be stressful and time consuming.
6. Enroll for the August Test ASAP
If you decide the SAT is right for you, register for the August SAT as soon as possible. There is not as much seating capacity for the summer test, due to the popularity of the summer test. Here are some examples comparing the August test date with the October date:
August: 261 testing locations
October: 384 testing locations
August: 28 testing locations
October: 66 testing locations
August: 65 testing locations
October: 269 testing locations
August: 45 testing locations
October: 72 testing locations
August: 265 testing locations
October: 376 testing locations
As you can see, the availability of testing locations is not surprising. One reason why summer testing was not offered for many decades is because school districts aren’t thrilled with opening their facilities and staffing the testing.
You can see the number and location of testing dates in any state and city by clicking on the College Board’s Find Test Centers link.
7. The Number of SAT Dates Remains the Same
The College Board will continue to offer seven testing dates during the calendar year. After adding the August date, the College Board eliminated the January option, which was less popular.
Some students used the January test in an attempt to boost their scores if they were waitlisted. A better score would sometimes increase admission chances. The elimination of the January test means there will be a gap between the December SAT and the March SAT.
Lynn O’Shaughnessy is a best-selling author, speaker and journalist. Her book, The College Solution: A Guide for Everyone Looking for the Right School at the Right Price, is available on Amazon.com.