The Only SAT Strategy You Need

sat strategyThe SAT is coming…and we often hear the same questions from parents about what the best SAT strategy is. We thought we’d do a quick FAQ to give you the 411 on the SAT – stat.

How do I prepare for the SAT?

We’ve got you covered on this one – our tutors are ready to help with test prep around the clock.

How many times should I take it?

It is up to you how many times you want to take it, but a generally accepted formula seems to be to take it in the fall and early winter of your junior year, and again in the fall of your senior year. Taking it in January of your junior year, rather than waiting for a spring date, can be a good strategy, because the spring gets so full of final exams, papers and AP tests that it can be hard to fit in one more thing.

Which schools get my scores?

When you register for the SAT, you are automatically given four “score sends,” which are the schools you indicate you’d like to send your results to. You can add on more for a fee.

Which results will my schools look at?

Each school has a different formula. Some colleges and universities will look at your best score from each section of the test – even if they’re from different dates – while others will look at your best composite score. And then some consider scores from every time you’ve taken it, looking to see if there’s been improvement.

What the heck is Score Choice?

Score Choice allows you to choose which scores you send to colleges. (Check your designated school’s Score Choice policy – some don’t use it.) So you don’t have to send a certain score if you’re not happy with it. If you don’t use Score Choice, all your scores will be sent. Again, most colleges will consider only your best scores.

What’s going on with the “new” SAT?

The “new” SAT will debut in spring 2016. The College Board is working on creating sample tests and will also create a way for colleges to compare scores from the “new” and “old” tests in case your child falls into that gap where they are taking both tests.

The main changes are that it will:

  • Revert to the 1600 point scale.
  • Make the essay portion optional.
  • Have a greater focus on testing critical thinking skills.
  • Ask students to interpret the meaning of words based on context, while eliminating the need to memorize obscure words.
  • Allow students to focus in depth on the math skills that matter most for college and career success.

The SAT will remain an important part of the way that colleges and universities rank students for admission – but it’s only one part. Classroom grades, AP test scores, your child’s extracurricular and volunteer activities, and other facets also hold weight. Helping your child develop a smart strategy for how and when to take the SAT, and helping them prepare adequately, is the best way to ensure this part of their college resume shines.

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