Menu Close

When is the BEST Time to take SAT?

A question that has been on the minds of most 11th graders and their parents. I have noticed the students go about surfing the internet trying to find the nitty-gritty of this life-changing exam, but nothing really gives you a clear idea as to what test dates will be the best for you. Resources say that you should zero in a test date that gives you ample time to prepare for the test, which in fact, makes sense. However, preparatory time shouldn’t be the only deciding factor while choosing a test date. I would like you to consider a few more factors like;

School Year

Junior Year is preferable because you’re applying for colleges in the senior year. We recommend that students take the SAT prior to their senior year. This is because of various reasons.

  • Senior year is when students are working on their college applications. While it is already a stressful task to research, analyze, compare and finalize an option you do not want the stress of approaching SAT hovering above your head.
  • Additionally, the grades students receive in the first quarter of the senior year are generally the last grades that get sent to colleges. You don’t want your GPA to suffer because you are worried about exams and unable to focus on coursework.
  • Finally, students who are applying for the early decision have less time to prepare their applications, since these are typically due in either October or November of senior year.

Don’t take the test until you are ready for the Math section in the SAT

A common misconception about the SAT is that it features higher-level math, such as pre-calculus and calculus. However, that’s not quite the truth. The highest level of Math that SAT features are Geometry and Algebra 2. If you are taking Algebra 2 in junior year, testing in March (spring) of the junior year is more suitable for you.

There are two things that you need to make note of here.

A. Make sure you’ve taken these particular subjects before registering for the exams.
B. Control the time lapse between the completion of the subject matter and your test date.

Choose a date when workload from school is reasonable

You are likely to take a heavy course load during your junior year, given the tremendous change in the academic curriculum. Practically speaking, your schedule will only get tougher as the school year progresses. Hence, instead of scheduling your SAT when you might already be busy taking your semester papers, it is advisable to schedule your SAT earlier when the school workload is reasonably less.

Choose a date that leaves scope for retaking the exam.

It is often observed that the majority of students, who take the SAT for a second time, see an improvement in their scores. By choosing an early SAT date, you will have enough flexibility to retake the exams, if necessary. Moreover, the benefits of choosing an early SAT dates are multifold. While flexibility in retaking is an option, by actually taking an exam twice, students get to take advantage of what is known as super scoring. Super scoring refers to the process by which schools take into account your highest scores across multiple test dates.

If you’re easily stressed about exams, choose an early date.

Stress is an important factor when it comes to your testing schedule. The seriousness attached to this exam is real. So, instead of waiting for the last date, it is advisable that you start taking the exam early onwards so that there’s more scope for retaking and improvement.

If you’re the kind that gets easily overwhelmed and anxious when it comes to tests or important exams, an earlier test date might lessen the amount of time you spend worrying about the exam.

READ CAREFULLY: Always remember, Do not sign up for a test date simply because it’s when other students/ friends are taking the exam. The selection of dates by different students will be different, and it will depend on the various extracurricular activities they’re part of, their course loads, goals, and personality. Choose the right test date based on your circumstances.

You’ve already taken the first step towards successfully planning for the exam by reading this blog — we wish you all the best for your future higher education!