For the first time in 11 years, the SAT is changing. And it’s changing dramatically with new scoring, new sections, a new structure and more. The new test will be given for the first time this year on March 5. This has many students—and their parents—worried.
The Palisadian-Post checked in with Scott Groza, founder and CEO of Groza Learning Center in Pacific Palisades, to answer some of the most common questions about the New SAT.
Palisadian-Post: Why did The College Board change the SAT?
Groza: In an effort to align with Common Core, address the criticisms of its prior test formula, and take back some market share from the ACT, this year, the SAT has been totally redesigned.
Post: What is the New SAT like?
Groza: Ironically, in many ways, it feels much more like the ACT (which is unchanged for 2016, except for the essay). However, both tests offer distinct advantages to different types of test takers. And colleges take both without partiality.
Post: What’s the general sentiment regarding the New SAT?
Groza: The word on the street seems to be to avoid the New SAT like the plague. People think they should play it safe and stick with the ACT.
The two primary reasons I’m hearing are: 1) because the ACT is more known and 2) there are more resources out there to use for practice.
Post: Can students gain enough knowledge about the New SAT before taking it this year?
Groza: The College Board has released a 210-page blueprint document for the New SAT along with four practice tests.
While any standardized test will evolve to some extent, there is certainly official information that has been released that gives a clear picture of what the New SAT will look like. You are not left to navigate the New SAT in the dark.
Post: Are there enough practice resources for the New SAT for students this year?
Groza: In addition to the blueprint document and four practice tests, major test prep bookmakers have already begun publishing the usual thick prep books based on these releases.
Of course, there are more resources for the ACT, but that’s not really the point here.
Post: Will taking the New SAT put students at a disadvantage in terms of scoring?
Groza: The major takeaway is both of these tests are scaled. Students are competing against their peers, not a raw score. Since everyone is working with mostly the same available resources, it really doesn’t matter that a test is new.
The difference is what the student does with those resources and how they prepare. For the right type of student, there is a real opportunity to do well with the New SAT where others are shying away.
Post: What’s the bottom line regarding which test to take?
Groza: Keep your options open. Both the ACT and the New SAT should be equal, viable contenders when choosing a test for college admissions.
A knee-jerk dismissal of either test will not serve the student well; rather, it is imperative to thoughtfully consider both tests.
Post: What’s your best advice to students contemplating the ACT vs. the New SAT?
Groza: Commit to one of them. And most importantly, have a great preparation plan in place—whether with a tutor, a class or self-prep.
Post: Where can students get more information on the ACT vs. the New SAT?
Groza: For a free guide called “ACT vs. New SAT—Which to Choose?” visit GrozaLearningCenter.com.
Groza will also host an Open House to discuss “ACT vs. New SAT—Which to Choose?” on Tuesday, Jan. 12 at 7 p.m. at 881 Alma Real Drive #115. Space is limited; RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.