Many High School Students Sat Out The New SAT® This Weekend, Citing Concern Over Big Changes In The Test

What should students do next?

NEW YORK, March 8, 2016 /   First reviews are in for the first administration of the new SAT, taken by 277,000 students this past weekend. "The College Board is working to make the test less stressful for students and more reflective of what they've learned in high school," stated Jonathan Chiu, National SAT/ACT® Content Director, The Princeton Review. "However, the first administration of the test caused many additional stresses. In a recent survey conducted by The Princeton Review and Seventeen Magazine right after Saturday's first administration of the new test, 40% of students who would have taken the March test decided to sit this one out, since the unknowns about it scared them." Enrollments reflected this nervousness about the new SAT as The Princeton Review saw 40% growth in ACT enrollments year over year.

Chiu suggests the following steps for students who are trying to figure out what to do next:

  • Applying Early Decision or Early Action?
    Chiu says take the test early and often; you only have three more chances to take the test, so start now so you can take it as many times as you need to so you can get a great score.
  • Carrying a heavy academic load?
    You might want to focus on your schoolwork and getting great grades through the academic year, skip May and sign up for the June SAT. If you took the March test, think about what felt super hard to you and focus on improving in that area for your next shot at the test.
  • Should you take the ACT instead or in addition to the SAT?
    If you are not comfortable doing math without a calculator, you should take the ACT. Students who feel they need more time should know that on the SAT, you'll have, on average, 39% more time to answer questions.

Students who aren't sure whether they would do better on the SAT or ACT can sign up at to take free practice tests of each and determine which one suits them best.

From a survey conducted by The Princeton Review and Seventeen Magazine this weekend, 50% of the students who had taken the test previously, felt the new exam was easier than the previous version. By far, students felt that Math Without a Calculator was the hardest section of the test (70%).

Other findings from the survey:

  • 30% of students are planning to take the ACT instead of the SAT
  • 50% of students thought the new exam was easier than the previous one
  • 30% were surprised at how easy the reading section was
  • 55% of students compared the test to being DIFFICULT like naming all 50 states

And how did students prepare?

  • 70% of students used online prep materials vs. 30% that took a course
  • 80% of students studied alone
  • 70% of students studied for the test at home

"We know that test strategy is teachable and helps students achieve their best score," explained Chiu. "Knowing that students like working online, in addition to our courses, we offer 24/7 online help to students who are taking any of The Princeton Review's programs. Our student portal includes hundreds of additional online tools including lessons, engaging videos and practice questions. The portal is an efficient and personalized way for them to get the help they need, when they need it, wherever they are, even last minute before test day," explained Chiu.

This data was pulled from a national survey issued by The Princeton Review and Seventeen Magazine over their networks and social media, and represents the attitudes of over 300 high school students that completed this survey between March 5 and March 7, 2016. Test names are the registered trademarks of their respective owners, who are not affiliated with The Princeton Review. The Princeton Review is not affiliated with Princeton University.

About The Princeton Review:  

The Princeton Review is a leading tutoring, test prep and college admission services company. Every year, it helps millions of college- and graduate school-bound students achieve their education and career goals through online and in person courses delivered by a network of more than 4,000 teachers and tutors, online resources, and its more than 150 print and digital books published by Penguin Random House. The Princeton Review is headquartered in Natick, MA  and is an operating business of Match Group (NASDAQ: MTCH). For more information, visit The Princeton Review. Follow the company on Twitter @ThePrincetonRev.

About Seventeen Magazine:

Seventeen ( is the largest monthly teen media brand, reaching more than 15 million readers in print and online every month. For over 70 years,  Seventeen has helped generations of girls navigate the tricky terrain of adolescence, giving them the confidence they need to become strong, self-assured young women. Never losing sight of the importance of delivering her world her way,  Seventeen is a leader on the digital front with —the largest teen magazine website, the Seventeen Now app for her iPhone and Droid as well as with the monthly edition of the magazine across all platforms.  Seventeen continues the conversation on social platforms, connecting with millions of girls via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr. In addition to its U.S. flagship, Seventeen publishes seven editions around the world. Seventeen is published by Hearst Magazines, a unit of Hearst, one of the nation's largest diversified media and information companies. With 21 titles in the U.S., Hearst is the leading publisher of monthly magazines in terms of total paid circulation (AAM 1H 2015), reaching 78 million readers (Spring 2015 MRI gfk) and 70 million site visitors each month (comScore). hosts 9.6 million unique visitors each month (Adobe Analytics). Follow Seventeen on TwitterTumblr and Facebook.