The Class of 2017 has an interesting situation in hand. Come March 2016, a new redesigned SAT will present itself in front of test takers. If you are in that applicant cohort, should you take the new SAT or old SAT? Let’s try and understand some factors you should consider before taking a decision on the exam.
First of all, the new SAT is expected to be easier on the students. Many strong students might prefer other alternatives such as the ACT or old SAT which will create some space for weaker applicants. Moreover, the redesigned SAT will reduce its emphasis on vocabulary, have no penalties for wrong answers and make the essay optional – all of which should make the exam comparatively easier for sophomores.
That being said, the new SAT is an unknown beast. Sure, the College Board has detailed the sections and changes but a new exam always comes with its own share of teething problems. The examiners might have yet not perfected the problems and the schools itself might not be in a position to understand the test well. Moreover, you will not have exhaustive study material in hand and will have to depend on lean resources to help you figure out the exam.
The old SAT, on the other hand, is a mature exam which has tons of preparatory material for the students. You can employ the best practices and prepare well through SAT practice tests. The colleges are also more experienced screening students with the old SAT. Most experts recommend taking the old SAT for the same reasons. During the last SAT overhaul in 2005, the students taking the old exam were much better placed than students who took the newer version back then.
However, with the old SAT, you will have a much shorter time frame to prepare for the exam. The last shot you will have at the exam will mostly be January 2016 which gives you lesser time to prepare than students who opt for the new SAT. However, with a good study plan and time management schedule, you should still be able to do well in the exam.
You can opt for the new SAT if you have really not been able to prepare well for the old SAT. You may also opt for the new SAT if you have really bombed the old SAT. In this case, the new SAT gives you another opportunity to do bolster your application. For the class of 2018, the new SAT can be a good bet since the exam and prep resources would have had time to mature.