Q:

My daughter, a junior in high school, took the old SAT in January and got a good score. Now I understand that the new SAT is being given for the first time in March of this year. Does she need to take this test? Is it likely to be easier so she might get an even better score? Will colleges accept either test? -- Hard Choices

A:

Most but not all college admissions offices say they will accept the old SAT scores from sittings in October, November and December of 2015 and January 2016 for the class of 2017. Some are still undecided on this issue. Your daughter should be able to get this information from the colleges where she is thinking of applying. She also needs to be aware that there is also the question of whether or not the "optional" essay will be required for both tests or if schools will accept superscoring for both tests. (Superscore refers to taking the best scores when students have taken the SAT more than once.)

The experts who have looked at the new SAT test are divided in their opinion of whether it is easier than the old one. What they do agree on is that the two tests will definitely be different. The vocabulary component has been eliminated from the reading section, and the essay portion has been redesigned. It is the math section, however, that will be most changed. Fewer questions will be asked, but they will be tested in depth. The math section will be closely aligned to the Common Core Standards. This will be a disadvantage to those who haven't yet been taught these skills.

Once your daughter, who will be applying to colleges soon, determines whether a school will accept the old SAT, there are other questions that she needs answers to. First, if a college accepts the old SAT scores, are hers sufficiently high for her to probably be admitted? Second, if the college will only accept the new SAT, is this the right test for her, or should she take the ACT? She can determine the answer to this by taking practice tests for the new SAT and ACT and seeing which test will give her the higher score.

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