The College Board began offering the SAT and Subject Tests in August 2017 for the first time, and will be eliminating the January test date going forward. Fewer test centers were available in August, since schools have a lighter staff during the summer.
The ACT also changed its test schedule, adding a July test date, effective July 2018. Both February and July test dates are not available in NY test centers, but students can travel to another state if these particular test dates suit them.
Finally, the College Board has instituted a faster score release policy, in which scores for multiple-choice questions will be available 13-19 days after each test date; with essay scores available 24 days later. For example, for the October 7 test date, multiple choice scores have been available October 20-26; and essay scores will be available October 31.
Why is the College Board Adding an August Test Date?
The new College Board test date is likely a response to the increase in seniors applying through early admissions and the consequent growth in SAT testers in the fall (see chart below). Over the past decade, there has been a significant shift towards early applications, in which seniors apply in November, and receive notification in December.
In large part, students are taking advantage of the strategic boost of applying early. The admit rates are typically much higher, and colleges are filling an increasing percentage of their freshman class through early admissions, leaving fewer spots to fill during regular admissions. As a result, the entire standardized testing schedule has shifted to earlier test dates. For early admissions, students need to complete their testing (SAT, ACT and Subject Tests) by October.
In addition to the recently added July 2018 date, the ACT also offers a test in September, an ideal time for seniors because they can prepare over the summer, and are just starting to deal with the academic requirements of senior year. The SAT has been steadily losing ground to the ACT over the past few years, and a strategic modification of the testing schedule may be an effort by the College Board to recover ground.
Who Should Take the August Test?
The August test date is ideal for seniors who would like an additional chance to improve their SAT or Subject Test score after their junior year testing, or would like to take additional Subject Tests. The summer typically provides a less intense environment in which to prepare, without the pressures of schoolwork.
For rising juniors, we do not advise taking the SAT until November or December, because students typically experience meaningful growth and maturity over junior year, and continue to learn content that can boost their scores.
One exception, however, would be rising juniors who are pursuing athletic recruitment, and need early testing scores for coaches to make a determination about whether they are viable candidates.
For each student, deciding when and how often to take the SAT or ACT depends on a variety of factors, including whether you are applying to colleges through early or rolling admissions, the selectivity of your colleges, how much time you can devote to test preparation, and your competing time commitments.
Test Centers for August SAT
Many test centers have chosen not to offer their sites for the August test date, creating a tight supply for what might be a large demand. For example, only 53 test centers will be available in New York, reflecting an 80% drop in the number of test centers from June to August. Brooklyn only has one test center, and it is already filled. As a result, if you are interested in the August test date, register as soon as possible so that you find a space, preferably at a test site that is convenient for you.
This interactive map by Compass Education Group shows the data for a selection of 12 states.
The college testing environment is constantly undergoing changes. To help you sort through testing options and plan for successful college admissions, contact us at www.collegiategateway.com. As always, we’re happy to help!
REFERENCE: 2017-18 SAT and Subject Tests Test Dates
Note that Subject Tests are not offered in March. Also, while Literature, US History, Math 1, Math 2, Biology, Chemistry and Physics are offered every testing date (but March), World History and Language tests vary by month. In addition, although you can choose to add more Subject Tests on the day of testing (with a maximum of three), the one test that you cannot add on the spot is Language with Listening, because that requires special equipment.
|2017-18 SAT Subject Tests U.S. Administration Dates and Deadlines|
|SAT Date||SAT Subject Tests Available||Registration Deadline||Late Registration Deadline|
August 26, 2017
|July 28, 2017||
August 8, 2017 (for mailed registrations)
August 15, 2017 (for registrations made online or by phone)
October 7, 2017
|September 8, 2017||
September 19, 2017 (for mailed registrations)
September 27, 2017 (for registrations made online or by phone)
November 4, 2017
|October 5, 2017||
October 17, 2017 (for mailed registrations)
October 25, 2017 (for registrations made online or by phone)
December 2, 2017
|November 2, 2017||
November 14, 2017 (for mailed registrations)
November 21, 2017 (for registrations made online or by phone)
|May 5, 2018||April 6, 2018||
April 17, 2018 (for mailed registrations)
April 25, 2018 (for registrations made online or by phone)
|June 2, 2018||May 3, 2018||
May 15, 2018 (for mailed registrations)
May 23, 2018 (for registrations made online or by phone)