COLLEGE CONNECTION: Upcoming August SAT exam offers numerous benefits

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College Board is offering students a brand new opportunity this summer – the chance to take the SAT exam prior to the start of their next school year. By eliminating the January SAT exam, and replacing it with an August 26 SAT exam, College Board believes it is providing numerous benefits to the approximately two million students who take this test each year.
Summer is a popular time for students to prepare for the SAT, without the pressures of school, homework, and after school activities. This summer, students will have the opportunity to put their newly acquired SAT strategies and skills to the test without waiting a few months after their prep course ends to actually take the exam.
While any high school student can take the SAT at any time, and ultimately use their scores for college admissions, the new August test date is particularly attractive to rising seniors. College bound students are becoming more aware of the benefits of meeting “early action” (typically November 1) college application deadlines. So getting the SAT done in August provides time for them to get their scores back and, if necessary, take the test one more time on October 7. The fall of senior year is a particularly stressful time for students who are struggling to write college essays while completing their applications and focusing on their schoolwork. If they can cross “taking the SAT” off of their to-do- list, a lot of anxiety can be relieved.
Other students who might be attracted to the summer SAT are those who are heavily involved in competitive sports, band, or other time-intensive activities during the school year. Often athletic meets and competitions of all kinds conflict with SAT test dates, creating pressure for highly involved students. For these, and many other reasons, College Board predicts that August may ultimately become one of the most popular SAT testing months.
Of course, August often brings intense heat. So students who plan to register for the August 26 SAT exam should do so as soon as possible (registration is currently open) and be sure to choose a testing site that is air conditioned so they won’t have to sweat more than necessary.
Susan Alaimo is the founder and director of SAT Smart in Hillsborough that has been offering PSAT, SAT, and ACT preparation courses, as well as private tutoring by IVY-League educated instructors, for more than 20 years. Visit www.SATsmart.com