Let’s start with the bottomline: Register for the August SAT NOW. Read on to understand the current situation.
Great news: The College Board has made a rare change to their rigid SAT testing schedule. Instead of the January SAT, there will now be an SAT at the end of August. This represents an excellent opportunity for rising juniors to take the SAT early and rising seniors to give another effort before the popular October SAT.
Bad news: There is a severe shortage of SAT test centers for this first August SAT (8/26/17).
How bad is it?
Really bad. For the August 26th SAT, a search in Nassau County Long Island (which is where I teach, but this issue is widespread across the nation) shows 6 schools as test centers. South Side, Manhasset, Long Beach, Uniondale, West Babylon, and Kings Park (which is about 30 miles from the Bellmore/Merrick area).
Let’s get an idea of how few schools this represents for this particular region:
For the June 3rd 2017 SAT, the following schools are test centers: Calhoun, Mepham, Wantagh, Bellmore Kennedy, Plainview Kennedy, Seaford, Massapequa, Division Ave, Island Trees, Plainedge, Bethpage, East Meadow, MacArthur, Oceanside, South Side, Garden City, and 24 other high schools that are within the range of Kings Park (the furthest test center in August). This is a total of 41 test centers in June compared to just 6 test centers in August.
Why is this happening?
It’s quite simple. High schools generally don’t open their doors until after Labor day. In addition to which, to hold an SAT exam, a test center needs a staff of many proctors who are almost always high school teachers who may not be ready to head to work on their final Saturday of summer vacation.
Perhaps the College Board is expecting (or merely hoping) that turn out will be low for this August SAT as it is the first one. Maybe most students and parents are unaware of this brand new option. However my students (as well as anyone reading this) are better informed. Between the students who will be preparing with me specifically for this SAT and those who have worked with me within the past year, everyone is aware of this August SAT opportunity. The 8/26/17 date is printed in the front of their Jake SAT Prep binder.
It will be interesting to see how all this plays out. Maybe next year there will be more August test centers. Maybe the College Board will figure out a way to add a few test centers this summer. In the meantime, our next move is clear: If there is any chance you might want to take the August SAT exam, Register for a seat ASAP!
UPDATE: As of today, 5/23/17, there are no seats available at any of the 5 test center in Nassau county. There are still open seats at Kings Park H.S. in Suffolk county. As expected, in less than 3 weeks all of these test centers went from completely available to unavailable.