Old SAT vs New SAT

Now that the new SAT is only a few months away from launching, high school students have a tough decision: should they study now and take the old SAT in January 2016, the last time this exam is offered, or go for the new exam in March? There is no right or wrong answer for the "old sat vs new sat" question, but it is an important choice to make. Teens need to think carefully about the right choice for their situation and review all the changes made to the SAT before they decide.

Old SAT vs New SAT | Students Retaking the SAT

For teens who have already taken the SAT and want to improve their scores, the old SAT is the way to go. Even though the last exam in this format takes place in January, not leaving much time to study, it will be in the format students know and understand. Trying to improve a particular score and adjusting to a new test at the same time might not end well.

Additionally, the SAT is already a stressful exam. If teens need to boost their SAT scores for this season’s college applications, it may not be a wise move to wait until spring for a retake. With so little time between application deadlines and receiving scores, students may get even more stressed than they need to be.

Old SAT vs New SAT | High School Juniors

The question of which exam to take becomes a little more complicated for younger students. For teens who do not have a crazy school and homework load, it may be wise to do some studying now and take the old SAT in January. There is far more available prep material for the old SAT, so it will be easier to self-study or go through prep books and get reading for the exam over the next few months.

However, some students may not have a lot of free time during their junior year. In this case, it might be better to work on boosting grades and then focus on the new SAT in the following year at school. Students need to weigh what makes the most sense for their situation and grades.

Old SAT vs New SAT | High School Sophomores and Younger

There is no real reason for high school sophomores or below to take the old SAT before the January 2016 deadline. Scholarships for high school sophomores start to be awarded based on the PSAT, which is the nationwide practice test for younger students before they take the SAT the following year or their senior year. Beyond simple curiosity, spending lots of time studying for the old SAT in January may not be a great use of time.

Studying Plans for the January Exam

Students who plan for the new SAT should make sure they review all the SAT changes on the College Board website. In addition to understanding these changes, coming up with a reasonable study timeline is important, since the last SAT in the old format is in January! That only leaves three months of studying, on top of a busy high school schedule and workload.

If students are serious about taking the old exam, they need to go through practice tests and practice questions ahead of the January test date. Creating a study plan and sticking with it will help students get into the best possible test-taking shape for the January date.


Preparation for the SAT does not have to be daunting and exasperating; instead, it can represent an important opportunity along a student’s path to learning mastery. Indeed, the perspectives and abilities acquired during preparation can be transformative and last a lifetime.

Our two-track approach to mastering content and improving test-taking skills means that students will not only thoroughly understand the fundamental concepts and skills tested by the SAT, but they will also excel in using essential techniques to improve attitude, endurance and focus. Our students hone their independent thinking skills while developing a resilient mindset so they can perform on test day in a powerful, resourceful, creative and calm manner. Each student in our program receives the undivided attention and expertise of a dynamic and experienced coach who provides the framework to support each student on his unique path to becoming a master learner.

Please call 917.287.7927 now for a complimentary consultation to discuss how Origins Tutoring can help your child achieve his or her personal best on the SAT.