Pros and Cons of the "New" August 2017 SAT

Stefanie Mallia of Ivy Educational Services Credits: Ivy Educational Services

For the first time in several decades, the College Board will offer a summer SAT in August of 2017 while eliminating the January test date (beginning with 2018). When this was announced nearly a year ago, there was much speculation: Who will benefit from this new test date? Why is the College Board doing this? Is it more strategic to take this test as a rising junior or should students wait?

There are no simple answers to these questions, but they do raise some interesting points. Ivy Ed continues to take a calm testing approach: take the test when you are ready for it and don’t take it more times than you need to. Our philosophy is that kids should not necessarily spend several Saturdays testing when they could spend that time reading good books, engaging in community service, or spending time with family and friends. We also believe that maturity (and time on Earth) can play a role in increased scores.

Why should a student take the test in August? Schools begin at the end of August or beginning of September, so they’re not in full swing yet. This means that some students may be able to get the test out of the way so test prep doesn’t overlap or interfere with regular schoolwork. Preparing for a standardized test is a different way of learning, so we do like the idea that students can be “taught for the test” over the summer, and then switch gears come the start of the school year for more academic learning.  

Sign Up for E-News

Who should take the test in August?

  • Students who prep over the summer and don’t want to lose their momentum
  • Students who have completed Algebra II
  • Students who scored high on the sophomore PSAT (Some students who should wait until later in the school year.) 

The SAT now contains math from pre-calculus/trigonometry so students really need to have Algebra II under their belts before sitting for it (or for the ACT, for that matter).  Students who are taking Algebra II junior year may benefit from waiting until March to take the SAT since they will have covered a full ​semester more of math material. There are several more administrations of the SAT even after March (it’s offered in May or June) and realistically students can even take the test during the beginning of senior year.

All schools accept October scores, even for Early Decision/Early Action deadlines, so there is no rush.  We recommend that students are prepared for the test when they take it; it does no good to get a low score and possibly lose confidence by rushing into any administration.

Which test should I take -- ACT or SAT?

Ah, there’s the rub. While the material covered on both the SAT and ACT overlaps more than ever, there are differences in strategies and question types on each test.

  • The SAT has grid-in questions as part of the math sections; the ACT is solely multiple choice.
  • The SAT has a no-calculator section; the ACT allows a calculator for the whole math portion.
  • ​There is no science section on the SAT, but there are science-like questions embedded in the verbal sections. The ACT has a science section.​ 

We offer Diagnostic Practice ACTs beginning in the spring (please see dates here) so we can help families choose which test is better suited for their children.  We also offer free 20-minute PSAT evaluations during which we compare the tests with students’ strengths and weaknesses to figure out which one is a better match.

Ivy Education now offers a new summer SAT course scheduled with this test in mind. We are here to offer test prep guidance as well as college counseling.  Please call our office at 908-322-0533 to arrange for a free 20-minute PSAT consultation to see if the August test date is appropriate for your child.

Editor's Note: Ivy Ed is an advertiser of TAPintoSPF. 

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News

Scotch Plains/Fanwood

Westfield High School Sophomore Dies; Counselors on Hand at School

June 19, 2018

WESTFIELD, NJ — Carthoris “Carter” Uziel, a sophomore at Westfield High School, died Sunday night, according to Westfield Public Schools and a letter sent to parents by Principal Dr. Derrick Nelson.

“Words cannot convey the grief we feel in the Westfield Public Schools community over the death of Carthoris ‘Carter’ Uziel, a sophomore at Westfield High ...

Let's Talk About Suicide

In our world today, it seems our children, no matter the town, state, education, family unit, socioeconomic background, ethnicity or religion are grappling with complex, confounding and complicated issues not even fit for a middle-aged adult. Sadly, one of these issues is suicide. With mental health gaining more attention, the stigma appears to be dissipating but when a mental health ...

Is Summer Camp the Right Choice for My Child?

Is your child attending camp this summer? Is it their first experience away?  If yes, it can be an experience causing anxiety for you, for the parent and the child. 

This experience can be frightening to your child if it is their first time and it is so important that they do not see your worry or anxiety about leaving home for the first time… especially if it is sleep ...

What Are The Warning Signs of Suicide

The recent passings of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain remind us to take mental illness seriously. 

Many of us feel uncomfortable to ask when someone in distress is suicidal for fear we are putting this thought in their minds. This is not true. It is a myth that asking about suicide increases the risk of suicide. The most common mental illness is depression. Some people are ...


In honor of the Lubavitcher Rebbe's (of righteous memory) 24th  Yahrtzeit (anniversary of his passing) this coming Saturday the 16th.

Excerpts from an address given by Nobel-laureate Elie Wiesel on April 7, 1992, at a congressional dinner held in Washington on the occasion of the Rebbe's 90th birthday.

Some of you are aware of my admiration, not only ...

We Must Address The Unrealistic Affordable Housing Process Now

June 19, 2018

Dear Editor:

I would like to thank all the residents who attended and watched last Tuesday’s Town Hall meeting on over-development and legislative solutions with Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi and I. If you were unable to attend, I encourage you to watch the meeting on SPTV or the Township’s Facebook page at ().

The meeting was a real eye-opener for many of our residents. It ...

Union County Residents Can “Recycle Right” without Plastic Bags

June 19, 2018

The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders reminds residents that plastic bags and other excluded items cannot be recycled through their local curbside pick-up programs.

“Union County residents have a good recycling rate compared to other counties in our state, and we want to improve on this record and set a high bar,” said Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados. “Every ...

Upcoming Events

Fri, June 22, 7:30 PM

Crossroads, Garwood

Benefit Concert

Giving Back

Mon, June 25, 9:00 AM

Terrill Road Baptist Chruch, Scotch Plains

LifeWay’s 2018 Vacation Bible School at Terrill ...

Religions And Spirituality


Mon, July 9, 10:00 AM

Scotch Plains Public Library, Scotch Plains

Join the Summer Jewelry Making Club at the Scotch ...

Arts & Entertainment Health & Wellness Home & Garden