03 Jul The SAT: When to Schedule Your Tests
If you want to attend college, you are likely required to take the SAT. A lot of focus in placed on preparing for and doing well on this test. It is very important because many colleges and universities use SAT scores to determine enrollment eligibility. Although you want to study and prepare for the SAT, it is first important to determine when to schedule the test. When doing so, you have a number of options. What should you choose?
What Dates are Available?
There are several options when scheduling your SAT. The SAT schedule does change yearly, but a pattern has developed over the years. Typically, there is a test available in August, October, November, December, January, March, May, and June. Usually, the March tests are for the SAT only, not the SAT Subject tests. You can use the following link to find and exact dates and registration deadlines. https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/register/dates-deadlines.
What Date Should I Choose?
You now know when the SAT tests are usually offered, but how should you choose the best date? You should take a number of factors into consideration.
- Are you a high school senior? If you are a senior, you are on a timeline. Although colleges and universities have different guidelines concerning applications, most recommend that seniors apply for their freshman year of college by December. If you are applying for early decision, you will need it even sooner. Therefore, if you are senior, that automatically eliminates half of the SAT tests available. Remember, college officials determine your eligibility by using your scores. You should aim for August or October. We suggest the August test date because it gives you the entire summer to study and prepare for it without having to worry about keeping up with school work. In fact, this is the only test date that has this advantage.
- Are you a high school junior? If you are a junior in high school, do not get started too early. The SAT covers a wide range of English and math subjects learned in high school, including the junior year. Don’t take the SAT before you are able to familiarize yourself with some of these subjects. For high school juniors, it is usually best to wait until you have completed your 3rd high school level math. So, if you are on a semester schedule and you have math in the fall, you can test in December or January. If you have it second semester, a SAT test in May or June allows you to absorb the information learned in classes and apply it towards your SAT. Also, see the information for high school seniors above to see why August is also a great option.
- Are you a high school freshman or sophomore? If it isn’t you junior or senior year, testing at this point is not for the purpose of sending the scores to colleges. Although the results will become part of your file with College Board, you don’t have to send them anywhere. Your goal should be to familiarize yourself with the test, get a baseline score that you will improve upon, and determine your strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, any test date you choose is fine.
What About the Subject Tests?
If you are interested in taking the SAT Subject Tests, they are designed to test your knowledge in a specific subject area. There are tests for English, History, Mathematics, Science, and Languages. For example, a high school student applying to a college English program will benefit from taking the SAT and the SAT Subject Test for English. You want to take the SAT Subject tests before you send out your college applications, but after you have learned as much information as possible. For example, most students are finished with World History and US History by the end of their junior year. Taking these tests at the end of your junior year is advised, as you just completed the courses in question.
How Do I Make Sure I’m Prepared?
If you want to get the best test score possible. Preparing for the SAT is a process. Be prepared to take the test multiple times. We suggest at least 3 times. Most students rely on the information learned in classes and then just review their notes. With that said, not everyone scores as high as they would like. If the colleges you wish to apply to do consider SAT scores and you did poorly on the test, you may want to retake the SAT. Schedule your first SAT test so that there is time for a retake if your performance was not up to par. Take practice tests, score yourself and see if it meets the requirements of your college of choice. If needed, find a prep course to help you prepare.
What Time and Where?
All SAT tests require students to arrive by 7:45am on a Saturday. This time does not change. If you are not morning person, set your alarm and get a good night sleep. As for location, there are numerous test centers across the country. You should have multiple test centers located nearby. The dates do change, but it is usually offered at public high schools and some private schools. If you live in a small town, do not wait for the SAT test to come to your school, as it may not. Most small town students must travel one or two towns to find a test center. Luckily, you should not have to travel far.
If you have yet to schedule your SAT test, keep the above mentioned points in mind. You want to schedule your tests, especially the Subject Tests, when you are most familiar with the information. As for registration, a specific deadline is given for each SAT date. Typically, it is one month before. Late registration is available, but even that has deadlines and you must pay a late fee.