How is a student to know which of the many available options is the best when it comes to testing for college admissions?  It’s an age-old question parents and students alike wrestle to know the answer.  Oddly enough however, when it comes to college admission, it steals the show from other highly important considerations like GPA and course rigor.  There’s no doubt it’s important, some would say it is absolutely critical — after all, students need it to meet most admissions requirements and merit scholarships.  So, with that in mind, how does one decide?

It would be fascinating to think we could make the selection for testing because their was only one test to take — but that is far from reality.  This year, the world of standardized testing became a bit squirrelly.  We’ve learned recently some of that which we might expect from the newly redesigned SAT.  But even with this limited insight, there still appears a fog of doubt on what might be best for students among many families.

This became evermore evident as I recently talked with a mom of a current high school sophomore about her very involved, academically strong and gifted son.  She was interested in learning more about test-prep and tutoring in preparation for taking the SAT in 2016.  It suddenly occurred to me she had no idea!  Her game theory was missing a critical component — the newly redesigned SAT and the implications it may have, if taken, on her now sophomore son.

Game Theorynoun

a mathematical theory that deals with strategies for maximizing gains and minimizing losses within prescribed constraints, as the rules of a card game; widely applied in the solution of various decision-making problems, as those of military strategy and business policy.

The first administration of the newly redesigned SAT will be offered in March 2016.  The College Board announced recently at the annual conference of the Southern Association of College Admissions Counseling that the results to this first administration would not be available to students or colleges until early June 2016.  So, for a current high school sophomore interested in preparing through test-prep in advance of the college application process, waiting three months to find out how he did may not prove to be the best strategy.

In addition, while many colleges and universities are known to “super-score” the multiple attempts at the SAT, they will not — actually cannot — “super-score” between the current version of the SAT and the newly redesigned version of the SAT due to the drastic differences in the scoring methodology.  This alone could prove problematic for students having taken both.

Here’s our recommendation in moving forward:

  1. Remember the most important components in preparing for college are GPA and course rigor!
  2. Decide on which standardized test fits your needs and then run with it!
  3. Stay away from taking both the current version and newly redesigned version of the SAT.
  4. Identify academic areas in need of strengthening, then locate a test-prep service in your area with proven results like Z-Prep!
  5. Continue to concentrate on keeping those grades up!

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