Question. When I graduate from high school in 2006 I plan to attend one of the Ivies or one of the highly selective colleges in the east. Just recently I took the PSAT at my school and now am questioning which SAT should I take, old or new?
– Tammy, Greenwood Village
Answer. Many juniors have this dilemma right now because you have options. First of all, here’s a quick review of the two tests. The Verbal reasoning has been replaced by Critical Thinking (analogies have been eliminated); Math covers three years of high school math, with the addition of Algebra II; The addition of a third section, Writing, that will be comprised of multiple-choice questions related to grammar, usage, and word choice and a student-written essay. Scoring has changed too. Because of the addition of the third section, a perfect score will now be 2400, instead of 1600. The length of the test will be 3 hours 45 minutes. The cost will increase too.
To take the old test, you would have to schedule it for this December or January, earlier than juniors typically do. You might run the risk of not doing your best, since you will not have covered all the material. However some educators believe the old test is easier and shorter. Kaplan, a test prep provider believes you could benefit from taking both. The Princeton Review suggests only the new. A dilemma!
One important issue to consider is the requirements of the prospective colleges. Check the requirements of the schools where you plan to apply before choosing. Schools like Harvard, Yale and Northwestern, have said they will accept either version. The University of California will accept only the new. If the schools you are considering accept both you can decide which format fits you best.
Considering that you would like to attend an Ivy or highly selective college or university, remember that those schools require Writing, which isn’t offered on the old SAT and must be supplemented by an SAT II writing. If you take the new SAT that would be an SAT II you wouldn’t have to do.