During Which Month is the SAT or ACT Easiest?

No SAT or ACT administration is ever predictably easier or more generously scored than any other.

For as long as the College Board has been administering the SAT, people have been trying to game the system by figuring out if one administration might be easier than another. Typically, this assessment would center around the number of test takers on a given date. For example, many once believed that the December test was better for a strong test taker than May, because the smaller pool of December test takers would curve to a strong tester’s benefit. Some may still believe this myth or something similar.

While that calculus may sound at least somewhat persuasive, these wishful attempts at advantage ignore the very purpose of the SAT and ACT. Colleges find value in SAT and ACT test scores because of the assiduously standardized nature of these exams. Despite their flaws, you’re unlikely to find tests more carefully calibrated and controlled than these. Both exams are paragons of standardization.

And what does “standardized” even mean in this context? Quite simply, a standardized test is designed to be the same every time it is administered and every place it is administered.

This means that the SAT in New York is no easier than the one in New Jersey, New Mexico, or New Delhi. You cannot find advantage in your test venue.

This also means that the SAT in December is no easier than the one in May or June. If it really were, colleges would discount December tests, probably to the extent that they wouldn’t even accept them.

The role of the SAT is primarily to provide valuable data to college admissions offices. Consequently, the College Board takes every pain to ensure the strongest levels of standardization from test to test. Sure, some sections of some administrations of the SAT or ACT vary in difficulty, but you should never be able to predict when.


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