The traditional academic year spanning from around Labor Day to well past Memorial Day feels like a marathon designed to test the endurance and focus of any participant (students and teachers alike!) Today’s high schoolers juggle so many academic, extracurricular, volunteer, family, social, and even work commitments that every hour in a week becomes scheduled far in advance. Adding insult to injury, college bound teens have to carve out time during the school year to take–and hopefully also prep–for SAT and/or ACT exams that are only administered from September through June.
At least, that is, until now.
The College Board may not elicit much praise from the teens who feel compelled to take the organization’s array of standardized tests, but who could complain about a new August administration of the SAT and SAT Subject Tests? I consider an August SAT the best news–and best option–we’ve received in a long time, well worth sacrificing the largely-ignored January SAT for. In fact, most rising juniors and seniors should strongly consider sitting for the August SAT for two compelling reasons:
1. You can test before school starts, or at least really starts.
2. You can prep before school starts.
While schools in the warmer regions of the United States convene in August, most others open around the beginning of September. How exciting is the prospect of getting a big test out of the way before classes even start? If you aren’t sure, the answer is very exciting.
Even better, though, is the option to connect summer prep to a summer test. The months of July and August have always been among the best times for test prep, with the one downside that the first SAT of the academic year didn’t arrive until October. Now students can prepare and practice right up to the exam without the distraction of school. Fall athletes may struggle to focus, but everyone else can enjoy a clear path to test readiness.
A secondary benefit of the August test date accrues to those who don’t discover until midsummer that their target colleges require SAT Subject Tests. These special exams are best taken in May or June, but August may be the next best option to test before you completely forget what you learned the previous school year.
The case for the August SAT becomes even more persuasive when you consider that both juniors and seniors have reason to set for this test. That suggests that the inaugural August administration will be extremely popular, which might lead to trouble considering how few high schools may be serving as test centers. In the Rochester area, only a handful of schools are hosting.
Any high school student entering junior or senior year who has at least some time to study this summer should strongly consider prepping, registering (ASAP), and sitting for the August SAT. Play your cards right and you could be done with this big test before your first little quiz of the new school year!