In 2017, for the first time, the College Board is offering an SAT test date in August. This “summer SAT” falls on August 26th, right before the beginning of school. So, while the test technically occurs during the summer, it really functions like a fall test date.
The August test date offers some key, strategic options, primarily for rising seniors. First, seniors now have two test date options in the fall instead of just one (October). In the past, the October date was only one that seniors who wished to take the SAT could use for early decision deadlines. Now, seniors who wish to submit ED applications can take the test in August and use October as a backup, whereas before it was October or bust.
That last fact opens up a new testing timeline for SAT test-takers: prepare over the summer before senior year for the August SAT and plan to possibly retake in October. As a result, there is not as much urgency to complete test prep during a busy junior year, though taking the test during junior year at some point is still vital.
As has been documented by many tutors, summer can be a great time to do SAT preparation because the preparation does not compete with school. Students are rested, relaxed, and usually have more flexibility and free time than they do during the school year. Doing prep during the summer can significantly reduce associated stress.
A final benefit to the August date is that it can be used for Subject Tests. In the past, students who wanted to take the June SAT often encountered conflicts with Subject Tests, which are usually taken at the end of junior year on that June date. Or, if students wanted to take both the SAT and a Subject Test during senior fall, they only had one date (October), and could thus take only one test or the other. Now, these difficulties have vanished.
Not to be outdone, the ACT recently announced its own summer test date, which will begin in July of 2018. It looks like summer testing is here to stay.