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When should I take the SAT exam?

The SAT is an important standardized test that colleges use as part of their admission process. You typically want to take the SAT at the end of your junior year and/or beginning of your senior year. However, there are some additional factors to consider when deciding when to take the exam that this blog post will elaborate on.

When should you take the SAT?

When is the exam offered?

The SAT is offered 7 times per year, so you will want to look up the exact testing dates, which you can find on the college board website and listed below. Additionally, there are registration dealdines, meaning typically you need to register for the exam at least one month before that testing date. Therefore, you can’t just decide today you want to take the exam and then take it tomorrow; there are a few more steps needed. Typically there is one exam in each of the following months: March, May, June, August, October, November, December.

SAT Test Dates for 2023-2024 School year

Does your school offer an SAT school day?

In addition to the 7 times a year that the SAT is offered nationally, some high schools will offer and SAT school day. This is a a day where your school will host the SAT during school time Monday-Friday, in which they provide the SAT for free. You will want to ask your school if they offer this so you can make sure to study for that exam date and prepare adequately.

How much preparation do you need?

The SAT requires preparation, and the amount of time you’ll need will depend on your current knowledge and skills. However, on average, most of our students prepare for 2-3 months prior to their exam, which encompasses meeting with a tutor 2 times per week and also studying on their own. Therefore, you want to make sure you have enough time to prepare for the exam and understand all the materials, tips, and tricks.

What is your high school math curriculum?

The math section of the SAT is very dependent on what classes you are enrolled in within school. Meaning, since there is geometry, algebra 1, and a small amount of algebra 2 on the exam, you should consider taking the SAT soon after you’ve finished studying the relevant material in school. For example, if you have not taken geometry yet, it wouldn’t make sense to sign up for the SAT until you have completed that class.

How many times do you want to take the exam?

Typically most students take the SAT 2-3 times. Thus, you need to factor this into your plan to make sure you have enough time to take the exam multiple times before submitting your scores to schools. Some students only take the exam once; however, it behooves you to take the exam multiple times as The College Board reports that 55 percent of high school juniors improved their scores when taking the test a second time. Many students feel more comfortable and know what to expect during their second attempt, causing their scores to rise.

What other obligations do you have?

Keep in mind the other obligations that you have. If you participate in spring sports and March is your busiest time of year, then it might not be smart to take the March SAT exam. Many students take the exam in August as they then do not need to worry about academics, sports, or any other extra curricular activities. However, playing devils advocate, if you have a lot of vacations planned of the summer and will have disjointed studying, then the August exam might not be best for you.

When are your applications due?

Most importantly, when are your college applications due? If they are due November 1st, then you will not be able to take the November 4th exam. Also, keep in mind it takes 2-3 weeks to receive your officially scores from College Board, so taking it on October 7th, would even be cutting it very close to your application deadlines.

When do you want to take the test?

Ultimately, the best time to take the SAT is when you feel confident and prepared. If you need more time to study or prepare, take the test when you’re ready, rather than rushing to take it when you “should” take it. However, if you feel that you are struggling to prepare for the exam, never hesitate to reach out to a tutor that can help provide guidance and direction in your studies. They will know all the tips and tricks that are specific for this exam!

In conclusion, when you should take the SAT depends on several factors, including your high school schedule, college application deadlines, time for preparation, retake opportunities, test availability, and personal preference. Consider these factors carefully when deciding when to take the SAT, and make sure to sign up well in advance to secure your spot on the desired test date.

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About our SAT tutors

Prep For Success has a team of amazing SAT tutors, who have all scored in the 99th percentile. Additionally, all of them have been rigorously trained on all of our tips, tricks, and strategies to obtain a high score! Each tutor takes the time to understand your specific strengths and weaknesses so you don’t waste time in your studies and have the most effective study plan! Feel free to reach out to get assistance on the SAT or College Admissions.

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