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If you’re a member of the class of 2017, you’re aware that the SAT will be changing. You’ve also probably read that the redesigned format will do away with point reductions for incorrect guesses and that the essay will be optional.  But do you know when the new SAT will replace the old? And did you know that figuring out the answer involves some of the same skills the SAT tests?

Knowing which version of the exam to prepare for is obviously the first step to preparing well. So, which testing dates will offer the old exam and which will offer the new exam? If you visit the homepage of the redesigned SAT,  you’ll find that the College Board clearly states that the new exam is set to debut spring 2016:

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However, the College Board offers two exams each spring: one in May and one in June.  So which will it be? A Saturday in May or a Saturday in June?

Probably neither.

Despite their fussiness about you using words properly, the College Board is playing fast and loose with the term “spring.” Although spring spans from March 20th to June 20th,  if you look on the right side of the College Board’s homepage, you’ll notice a box labeled “Taking the Current SAT?” This box reads:

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Here, on a highly visible and heavily trafficked webpage, the College Board suggests that March, not May or June, will be the transition point between the old SAT and the new. Digging deeper, I confirmed my suspicions on a less popular College Board webpage (aimed at a smaller group of educational professionals), which offers anticipated SAT testing dates for the 2015-2016 school year. This website clearly states that “The redesigned SAT will be offered beginning in March 2016”:

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If the College Board has already decided on an inaugural March date, why not simply promote it openly to the public instead of talking vaguely about spring? Perhaps, with the administrative logistics involved, they anticipate a delay in rolling out such a vast redesign.

Regardless of the “why,” it’s apparent that the plan is to offer the current/old version of the SAT for the last time in January 2016 and to introduce the new SAT in March 2016.

And this is where the irony comes in. Because the March SAT falls before the vernal equinox each year, technically this means that the March SAT is a winter exam, not a spring one. So while the College Board rewards knowledge of precise definitions on the SAT, it seems like they don’t quite hold themselves to the same standard of clarity.