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SAT Changes – International Test Dates and More!

The College Board announced today a reduction in the number of SAT test dates available. Starting this fall, it will cut the number of test administrations overseas from six a year to four: http://www.usnews.com/news/top-news/articles/2017-02-22/college-board-tightens-sat-exam-security-but-key-risk-remains?src=usn_fb.

The SAT will only be offered in October, December, March and May.

This June’s international test sitting will be canceled. Further security measures include providing law enforcement and other government agencies with the names of test prep companies and individuals suspected of stealing test materials. College Board will facilitate anonymous reporting of cheating, and prevent individuals from taking future tests. This is likely to tackle culprits who attend multiple sittings of the exam to game it for future utility.

How does this affect your student’s test taking schedule? Significantly. In the past, The Edge suggested taking exams in January, May or June of junior year(Grade 11/Year 12), and then October of senior year(Grade 12/Year 13). This schedule had been optimal to allow for 3 sittings and ample time in between to test prep.

The new schedule to take the exams will be: December, March, May for the more capable students and March, May and October for everyone else. Students should now focus more of their summer prior to Grade 11 to study intensively for the exam rather than waiting for the junior year Christmas Break to prepare for the January exam.

For the December exam sitting, spend about a month in the prior summer taking a test prep course or self-practicing, and then spend the fall doing further prep once or twice per week while making sure to do at least 3-4 mock exams to acquaint yourself with test day conditions.

Those preparing for the May exam will need to use the Christmas holidays, Chinese New Year (if available), and Easter Break to put in the test prep time.

The October test sitting during senior year will gain importance for many who will use the summer before senior year to cram. Putting in 30-150 hours of prep that summer in preparation for the SAT should be the norm for students looking to make that 150-200 point increase that The Edge’s students typically attain.

This is a positive step to deal with the rampant cheating clouding SAT results in the last decade. However, until recycling of exams is completely eliminated, students living in Asia with access to certain resources will continue to have a serious advantage.

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