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Kaplan Survey: 2016 SAT Changes Impacting How Most High School Counselors are Advising Their Students on Which College Admissions Exam to Take

New York, N.Y. — The upcoming changes to the SAT, scheduled to roll out in March 2016, are affecting the advice high school counselors are giving their students about which college admissions exam to take -- the current SAT, new SAT or ACT® -- according to a new Kaplan Test Prep survey of 172 high school counselors*. However, specific recommendations vary.

A third (33%) say students should take more than one exam, which would help them figure out which of the three would most help them get into their choice colleges. Far fewer are recommending single test options: 6% of counselors are telling students to take the current version of the SAT early to avoid the changes, 6% are recommending students wait until after the SAT changes in March to take the test, and 16% are advising students to take the ACT instead. The remaining percentage say the SAT changes are not affecting their advice to students.

“We wanted to see how the upcoming SAT changes may be influencing the test-taking recommendations that high school counselors are making to their students, and we found that while they are definitely having an influence, there’s no strong consensus on which approach to take,” said Michael Boothroyd, contributing editor for Kaplan’s 5 Strategies for the New SAT. “Our view is that students will increase their competitive advantage by taking more than one test. The class of 2017 has the unique opportunity of taking the current version of the SAT this fall, then also seeing how they’d perform on the new SAT in March, plus also having the option of taking the ACT. As long as they plan ahead for it, this year’s sophomores have a one-time college application advantage of selecting their best score from three different admissions tests.”

Changes that will make the new SAT more rigorous: text-heavy math problems, a ban on calculator use for an entire section of math questions, 65 uninterrupted minutes of long passage reading, and an essay (optional by the test administrator, though required by many schools) that will demand thoughtful analysis of a long passage and explanation of how an author builds an argument.

For more information about Kaplan Test Prep’s survey of high school counselors, please contact Russell Schaffer at russell.schaffer@kaplan.com or 212.453.7538. For more information about the upcoming changes to the SAT, visit Kaplan’s test change resource center at www.satchange.com.

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