3 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Take the New SAT

by Todd Weaver on October 2, 2015

Test TimeThe SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) is going to be given in a brand new format, starting in the Spring of 2016.

Stay away from it! 

At least that’s what our guest blogger, Amir Mousavi is advocating.

Juniors will face a unique dilemma, as they will have two SAT formats to choose from during their upcoming junior year. The last exam date for the current version of the SAT will be January 23rd, 2016. The first time the new SAT version will be offered is March 3rd, 2016. The natural question is:  “Which exam should my child take?”

My advice is simple: DO NOT TAKE THE NEW SAT!  Here are my reasons why…


1) Limited Data: There is not enough data on the new exam format to adequately prep for it. Unlike the current SAT or ACT, which both have lots of practice exams/sample questions available, the new format has almost nothing except for a limited amount of practice problems on the college board website. This is especially important for SAT tutors because they rely on old practice exams to figure out patterns of problem types/strategies in the exam to teach to students.  However, we don’t have enough data to figure that out yet. The College Board has been poor at best in terms of releasing information on the new format. It’s like studying for a school exam without a review guide and little knowledge of what’s actually going to be covered. Don’t fall into the College Board’s trap. Until there is adequate data on the new SAT, it’s not worth taking.


2) Don’t Let Your Child be a Guinea Pig: Back in 2005, the College Board changed the SAT’s format and there were a lot of kinks for the first several exams. This is always the case with new exam formats. There are always kinks and test makers will use the first several exam dates to make necessary tweaks. For the new SAT, the first three exam dates will be March 2016, May 2016 and June 2016. Why would you want your child be a guinea pig? A good analogy is getting the very first version of an iPhone release. You don’t want to buy version 1 because there are probably going to be bugs and hardware/software issues. It’s best to wait until these bugs are fixed.


3) Don’t Believe the Hype: The College Board said it is changing the SAT to make it more “fair, straightforward and relevant to class room material being taught today.” The real reason for the change is because the SAT has consistently been losing market share to the ACT. In fact, this is the third year in a row that more students have taken the ACT than the SAT. The main reason the College Board is switching formats is not fairness but rather monetary gain.


Avoid the new SAT format if you can.  I would recommend taking either the current version of the SAT or the ACT. If you’re asking, “Which exam should my child take?”,  I will discuss that topic in my next post.


You can follow Amir at The ANA Project and on Twitter @TheAnaProject1

You can learn more about how to integrate Standardized Testing (or not!) in your student’s college search by clicking here.



Hey Class of 2017: You Have New FAFSA Deadlines!

by Todd Weaver on September 14, 2015

The (In)Famous FAFSA The (In)Famous FAFSA

Changes are coming to the FAFSA!

The Base Year is moving on up – from the current “one year prior” to the student entering college, to “two years prior.”

Current high school Seniors (Class of 2016) don’t need to worry, though.

All of the talk in Congress has been drowned out! The White House announced today, that current high school Juniors will be able to use the family’s 2015 tax data to file their FAFSA form for the start of college in the Fall of 2017.

That’s right, students in the Class of 2017, will now be required to file for financial aid, using really old tax data!

Well, it might not appear to be that old, but the fact of the matter is the financial aid eligibiligy for a student entering college in the Fall of 2017, will be based on income the family made in 2015… two years prior.

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

The Good – theoretically, families will not have to log into the FAFSA form multiple times (like they have to now) in the Spring of Senior year of high school, to obtain an accurate read on their financial aid eligibility.

They will only have to file once, and that should allow for a speedy review and establishment of their financial aid award letter.

The Bad – For families where income fluctuates dramatically from year to year (i.e. a salesperson, or small business owner), this requirement to show income from two tax years pior to entering college, could create a terrible situation for a student. If a family’s income dropped 20% from 2015 to 2016, they would still be expected to pay for college in 2017 based on their 2015 income. Not a good outcome.

The Ugly – Situations will arise that don’t even exist. A few examples could include the fact that colleges are not very agile when it comes to updating their costs of attendance each year. Oftentimes, a student will receive an award letter in May while the college or university may not set their budget for the upcoming academic year, until July!

As with all major changes from the Federal Government and the college financial aid system, the advice is to remain vigilant. Know what your family should be expected to contribute, and establish your family’s strategy for paying for each year of college – before your student’s Sophomore year in high school.

That’s what we believe every family should do. Learn more about how to get your game plan in place by joining our membership site. You can try it for free for 60 days!



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Summer and Getting Started on the College Essay

July 9, 2015

Tweet Tweet Summer brings a needed break from the stress of high school. It’s time for students to relax a bit! Enjoying some ice cream with your friends when the sun sets; reading a good book without having to analyze it; hitting the beach, or even taking a hike with with your dog. Don’t forget […]

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