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Important Changes to the SAT & ACT and How It Will Impact You

In an effort to improve test security and curb cheating in international markets, both the SAT and ACT will be bringing the hammer down on cheaters by instilling critical changes that will affect every test taker. Unfortunately, the masses must once again pay for the sins of the few. Here’s what every high schooler needs to know.

Changes to the SAT

The College Board will be limiting the number of SAT Reasoning Test dates available for international students. With immediate effect, the original six dates available for the SAT Reasoning Test  ( October, November, December, January, May, and June ) will be reduced to just four ( October, December, March, and May ). The SAT Subject Tests will also be cut down from six times a year ( October, November, December, January, May, and June ) to five times a year ( October, November, December, May ).

Please refer to the table below and College Board for details.

Test Date

SAT Reasoning Test

SAT Subject Tests

2016/2017 Academic Year



Starting 2017/18 Academic Year







Changes to the ACT

The ACT will be switched to an online, computer-adaptive test in all international test centers in the fall of 2018. This change will not apply to test centers in the United States. Unlike the current ACT, these computer-adaptive tests will adjust to each examinee’s ability level while he or she is taking the test, so not all examinees are given the same questions in the same order. In other words, if a student answers questions incorrectly, the computer will adapt and present the student with less difficult questions, and vice versa. This avoids having students tackle questions that are either too difficult or too easy for them. The format and scoring of the test are expected to remain unchanged, but further details will be released in the near future.

What This Means for Students

At Aegis Advisors, we believe that the best way to tackle these changes is to make sure you are well prepared for them. We encourage families to plan ahead and prepare early. Given fewer SAT test dates available, it may be worthwhile to take the ACT as there are more test dates to choose from. If you do so, be sure to prepare for the computerized version of the test. If you are unsure on whether to take the SAT or ACT, we recommend doing a mock test for both to see which you perform better on and feel more comfortable with. We suggest doing so no later than grade 10. There is no right or wrong test to take but remember, you only need to prepare for one; do not waste time preparing for both!

For those who will be applying to university next year ( i.e. Grade 11/Year 12 students ) and who had originally registered for the SAT Reasoning Test in June 2017, you would have received a notification from College Board in late-February that the June testing date has been cancelled and that you will need to register for another date. This leaves you with three options: ( 1 ) switched your registration to May ( deadline was April 7 ), ( 2 ) fly to the USA to test in June or August ( these dates are only available in the USA ), or ( 3 ) risk testing in October only to meet the early application deadlines in November.

For all other high school students, it is important to note that the significantly fewer test dates and the new computer-adaptive tests will severely impact your testing strategy, so we cannot stress enough the importance of working out your testing schedule and starting your preparation early on. We highly recommend having a tentative plan by Grade 10, if not earlier. For students currently in Grade 10 ( or Year 11 ) who haven’t started preparing yet, sitting for the SAT Reasoning Test this coming October or December will feel rushed, while the May testing date will conflict with AP and IB exams, which leaves March 2018 as the only viable option.

Lastly, don’t forget to seek help from experts to start preparing a solid testing plan – having everything laid out in advance will make life much easier and will ultimately yield better results.

Good luck!


This article was originally published as “Important Changes to the SAT & ACT and How It Will Impact You” on SCMP Education Post.

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