Are some SAT/ACT dates harder than others?

By Kevin McMullin


This week, a local news station featured a segment with a private counselor and self-proclaimed college admissions expert who got so many of her facts wrong that it generated widespread criticism on the private Facebook group with thousands of counselors and admissions officers. The most egregious error was the advice that students should avoid taking the SAT or ACT in the fall because the test writers intentionally make those exams more difficult to adjust for the number of seniors (many of whom have completed several AP courses) taking them.

It’s just not true.

“Certain SAT/ACT dates are always easier than others” is a pervasive college planning myth that a number of staunch believers swear they’ve heard from someone reputable. But if it were true, wouldn’t everyone, from students to test prep companies, be capitalizing on it by now?

If you still need convincing, here’s a piece from Bruce Reed of Compass Education Group, one of the most trusted and respected test prep organizations. And if you just want the answer, here it is:

“The concept is complex but the explanation and decision-making can be kept simple: never select a test date based on your assessment of the testing pool on that day. Students don’t influence one another; there is no comparative advantage or disadvantage.”