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Making Sense of the New Testing Landscape: A Guide for Schools

In September 2023, LEAP offered school counselors an opportunity to learn about upcoming changes to the ACT and SAT. We are sharing the recording and have a summary below. 


1. The New Testing Landscape

The SAT and ACT, two of the most recognized standardized tests for college admissions, are undergoing significant changes.

SAT Changes

  • Digital & Adaptive Format: Starting March 2024, the SAT is shifting to a digital adaptive format. The last paper SAT will be in December 2023.
  • Content: Though the tested concepts remain consistent (English, Math, Reading), the style is changing. For instance, there will be a stronger focus on vocabulary.
  • Transparency: One notable change is that SAT is no longer releasing their tests for public review, which may impact preparation.

ACT Changes

  • Online Option: An online ACT is debuting, but it's the same test as the paper version. Students will have the option to take either.
  • Stability: The ACT remains largely unchanged in content and structure.

2. Recommendations for Students

  • Focus on ACT: Given the uncertainty around the new SAT, students might benefit more from focusing on the ACT.
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Students should familiarize themselves with the online test format, especially if your school chooses to administer the ACT online.
  • Stay Updated: Encourage students to register for tests early and stay informed about any changes.

3. How Schools Can Help

  • Communicate: With the shifting landscape, it's crucial for schools to maintain clear communication with students and parents.
  • Offer Online Options: Schools can consider offering the online ACT, ensuring they have the necessary infrastructure.

4. Test Optional Schools

While some colleges have transitioned to test-optional admissions, it's still beneficial for students to take these exams. The decision to submit scores can be made later based on the colleges they decide to apply to.


In these changing times, preparation and adaptability are essential. Let's work together to ensure our students are well-informed and well-prepared to navigate these changes.

Thank you for your dedication to education and your commitment to your students' success. If there are further questions or insights you'd like to share, please reach out! Remember, we're all in this together.

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