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New SAT or Current SAT? Two Reasons to Consider the Current SAT

The new SAT takes effect in March 2016. This new format is on a scale of 1,600, expands the essay section to 50 minutes (up from 25; and even though it’s optional, most private schools will require it), does not take points off for mistakes and does away with “esoteric” vocabulary. The new SAT also expects students to be exposed to Science, Social Studies, Humanities etc. to be effective in the new evidence based reading & writing sections. The goal of this blog is not to cover the new format – so we will not explore this topic further. Read this excellent article for more information.

Instead, the goal is to cover a key question - what test should current 8th graders and high-schoolers take – new or current? Articles on the web mostly offer the following advice:

But is this the best advice? At Ivy Review Evergreen, we disagree! Our advice is as follows:

*Prerequisites = Algebra II + Geometry + Middle-school Grammar

Why is our recommendation so different from conventional wisdom? We have two reasons:

1. We know how to prepare for the current SAT: Essentially we have created a set of techniques over 10 years (the last time the SAT format changed was 2005). We have cast these techniques into our proprietary curriculum; and our results speak to its effectiveness. It will take several years to develop an equally potent curriculum for the new SAT, probably not in time for current 8th graders or high-schoolers.

2. It is easier to score higher in the current SAT: The new SAT doesn’t take points off for wrong answers and does away with “esoteric” vocabulary, so it should be easier to get a high score, right? Wrong! The SAT is a curved test and since we expect more students to do well, it will be that much harder to get a high score. Furthermore, the essay is going to be more grueling – how many kids can write a great 50-minute essay on top of 180 minutes of additional testing (total 230 minutes)? We know this because the new SAT will look like the ACT, and apples-to-apples, it is harder to get an equivalent high score on the ACT as compared to the SAT.

Net-net, please do not be a guinea pig for the new SAT if you can avoid it.

If you are an 8th, 9th, or 10th grader that has met the above prerequisites, we suggest you use this summer to prepare for the current SAT and take the test in the next school year before the format changes. We do mean current 8th graders as well, it’s not a typo; if you have completed the above prerequisites and have the ability, you should take the current SAT in your 9th grade.

In fact, at Ivy Review we have numerous 9th graders who have taken the current SAT and scored extremely well.

Ivy Review Evergreen offers a summer boot camp with 120 hours of classes (includes teaching & test taking) from experienced teachers that use our proprietary curriculum. Our class sizes are small and our results have been spectacular! Classes start on 6/15 and we have limited spots.


Still not sure? Attend our free Open House session on 6/7/15 from 4-5PM at Ivy Review Evergreen (2670 S. White Road, Suite 135, San Jose, CA 95148). Meet our SAT Department head and our local college admissions counselor. Enjoy refreshments, and you will also be entered into a drawing for a free prize (Free 1 hour consultation).

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