“A New SAT? Wait a minute, what gives?”

— Changes to the SAT, Spring 2016, SAT vs. ACT —

Well, there’s a lot to talk about, but the bottom line is that the SAT took a backseat to the ACT last year owing to the fact that 1.8 million high school students signed up and took the ACT as opposed to the 1.7 million who took the SAT. In other words, the SAT is losing a little bit of ground to the ACT, so CollegeBoard is adapting, which is smart for its own sake.

CollegeBoard, the maker of the SAT, is changing its test format to be more open-ended and akin to the ACT. Here are just a few of the changes taking place for the SAT in the Spring of 2016:

• Scoring will revert back to the 1600 point plateau (if you choose not to write an essay).

• Wrong answers will not be penalized.

• The Writing Section will become optional.

• Archaic and esoteric words (like Fox Business News mentions here) will no longer be included in the Reading section of the test.

But don’t just take my word for it. Take a look at the entire list of changes that are outlined in detail on CollegeBoard’s website.

This is definitely a big shift in the standardized testing landscape, but one must adapt to stay ahead of the pack.

I’ve already received a few inquiries and questions about this recent news, and the most popular question has been: “Which test should I take then?”

My answer is, “Why not take both?” The SAT and ACT are basically like M&M’s and Peanut M&M’s. It really depends on which of the 2 candies you prefer, and perhaps you like both. If you favor questions that are more open-ended, and you don’t mind a few that are science-based, then take the ACT; or, if you are a strong reader, like finding grammatical errors, and prefer process of elimination, then stick with the SAT, but it never hurts to try both.

Either way, high scores on the SAT and ACT will remain paramount in gaining acceptance to the Top 300 (Top 10%) of US colleges and universities.