Good news for students in the graduating classes of 2018 and beyond…Last month the College Board, the organization that owns and administers the SAT, discreetly released the exam schedule for the next three years. In a surprising new addition to its annual testing calendar, beginning in 2017, students will have the option to take the SAT in the summer.

That’s right. For the first time since the 1970s, the College Board will offer the SAT in late August. The move will surely come as a financial boon to not only the College Board itself, but also test prep companies, who will no doubt unveil new offerings for teens eager to prepare intensively in the relatively quiet summer months.

Currently, the SAT is not offered between June and October, forcing the bulk of test prep to take place during the academic year. For students, the new August test will be a welcome opportunity to take the SAT at a time when they are not simultaneously burdened with homework assignments, extracurricular activities, and college applications. This is undoubtedly a brilliant marketing move by the College Board, which has clearly seized upon students’ (not to mention parents’) desire to make efficient use of their summer vacation.

Crucially, the new August test date offers students an extra shot at the SAT in their final year of high school before Early Decision and Early Action deadlines in early November. With scores from the August test coming out mid-to-late September, students will have the ability to refine or alter their early application strategy based on these scores – something that is not possible when taking the SAT in October. Sometimes, due to score delays, scores from the October SAT do not even arrive at universities in time to be considered for Early Decision / Early Action, forcing candidates to be rolled to Regular Decision. To the relief of many students, issues like these will largely be solved with the addition of the August test.

Over the last twelve months, I have seen many students gravitate toward the ACT due to concerns over the revamped SAT, which launched this month in the US. Indeed, I myself have encouraged students to avoid an exam about which we have limited information and preparation materials. However, with the new summer option becoming available from 2017, I think we might very well see a swing back in the other direction, with a greater number of students opting for the SAT once again. The ball is now in the ACT’s court, and here’s hoping that it, too, improves its offerings for students.