Big changes are ahead for the SAT - that college admission exam stalwart that generations have taken for entry into college.
The exam is getting a major redesign, including an optional essay and updated scoring scale. The new version will be unveiled to test takers in March 2016. And the redesign, says Sheba Lowe Brown of A+ Test Prep and Academic Services, will change the way the classes of 2016 and 2017 will approach college admissions exams.
Brown, a mom and former long-time teacher whose passion is helping kids with test prep, tells me that today's sophomores and juniors have some options.
- Take the current SAT and get the score they want by January 2016. The SAT is given four times in the spring and three times in the fall. Prepare now, achieve the score you want and avoid the stress of the new test.
- Take the new test in spring 2016. Take the new PSAT in October 2015 and use the results to develop a study plan for the new SAT that starts in spring 2016. There are still some unknowns about the new test, however, and spring test dates often coincide with AP tests, exams and prom.
- Take the ACT. The ACT is accepted as widely as the SAT. Many students report that the ACT "feels" more like classwork from school. Students can begin prepping for the ACT as early as 8th grade by taking the EXPLORE test.
Brown has one last tip: Regardless of your college admissions exam plan, all juniors should take the re-designed PSAT. That's the only way to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship Program.
Brown will hold a free seminar called "Classes of 2016 and 2017: The SAT is Changing - know your options!" at 10 a.m., April 4, at Ideas! Coffee House, 1230 Avondale Dr., Durham. To sign up for the free course, go to A+ Test Prep's website.