This summer marks the first time the CollegeBoard will offer an August test date for the SAT. The reason behind this, aside from the obvious revenue generation for the CollegeBoard, is that this new timing may benefit students greatly. Instead of trying to cram in a test during the busy school year, students can use the summer months to prepare for test day stress-free. Since stress is the enemy of performance, a summer date would allow students to focus strictly on test performance with few other academic distractions.
Another plus is that the August test date allows seniors an earlier opportunity to book a good score. This might mean less stress in September for an October test. Or, in the case that a student does not get a good score in August, they would have the chance to retake the test in October before many college applications are due. Additionally, students won’t be faced with a gap between test prep and test day. Many students use the summer to prepare for the SAT and subsequently experience a delay from when they finish test prep (usually early August) and when they take the test (usually early October). An August date would significantly reduce this delay. However, the August date has its downside. First of all, while there are fewer academic distractions, summer distractions abound. For many students, summer brain drain is faster than a melting popsicle. Secondly, as this excellent article from the The Atlantic points out, the CollegeBoard may be challenged with finding suitable test centers to administer the exam. Schools may still be out for summer meaning counselors are not available to proctor exams. So is the August date the best? Only time will tell. Personally, I would encourage many to try the August date assuming they spend some time over the summer prepping. As long as you can avoid the summer meltdown, the end of summer might be a stress-free opportunity to get the score you want. If you need help this summer prepping, contact CROSSWALK. We are currently planning our summer Skype and small group programs to help students achieve the SAT or ACT score they need. Contact us today to learn more.