Test Prep

Simplifying SAT Registration

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On top of all the prep you may already be doing for the SAT, registering for the test can be a big process in and of itself! (Add to that the possibility of taking both the ACT and SAT like 60 percent of respondents on our College Hopes and Worries Survey, and you’ve got yourself quite the to-do list.) So I’ve put together this helpful guide to make sure you don’t miss anything important. With a few of these details ironed out, you can show up much more relaxed on test day.

There are some important dates and pieces of information to remember when deciding how to schedule your test date. The perfect timeline really depends on one thing: you. After all, there are some questions only you can answer, like:


- How much time do you plan to prep?

- How busy is your schedule already?

- Will you want to take the test again if you don’t get your goal score?

Here are a few tips to ensure your SAT registration goes as smoothly as possible.

When Are the Testing Dates?

In 2019, there will be SAT tests in March, May and June. After that, it will not be administered again until August. A complete list of dates with deadlines can be found here, and you’ll also see a suggested prep schedule for each to help set you up for top marks. There’s also the possibility that your school will offer a school-day SAT that doesn’t fit into the previous dates — if you’re not sure whether your school will offer one, ask your counselor!

If your school doesn’t offer a school-day SAT or if you plan to take the SAT at another time (for scheduling reasons or if you simply want more time to prepare for a higher score), you must register for any other dates yourself. The choice to take (or retake) the test on your own timeline is 100 percent okay. (Remember that SAT scheduling is about what’s right for you above all else.)

What Should I Know Before Registration?

- Decide on the SAT Essay. While this portion of the SAT is optional, we highly recommend it (and have some great tips on how to score well!). Some colleges require it, and even if they don’t, the extra score on your report is a good way to make an impression. However, if you know with absolute certainty that none of the schools you plan to apply to require it, you can decline this option.

- Help colleges find you. The College Board offers a Student Search Service, which is free and completely voluntary. If you opt in, you’re giving them permission to share very limited information about you (like your name, GPA and expected graduation date) with colleges and other organizations looking for students that meet specific criteria. The purpose of this is to help scholarship programs and colleges — usually those that a student might otherwise not hear of — reach out to them. Again, this is optional, but it can be another unique way to pay less for college, so why not take it?

- Familiarize yourself with SAT fees. Of course, the SAT with Essay costs more than just the SAT. Then there are fees that come with late registration. (It’s important to be on top of those deadlines!) But other SAT fees can quite often be waived if certain requirements are met. It’s best to look these over before registration just in case any apply to you — you’ll need that info during the process.

With all of this sorted out, you should be well on your way to a speedy SAT registration! Next steps can depend on your own SAT prep plan, but it’s generally a great idea to take a free SAT practice test. Doing so will not only familiarize you with the pacing and the question types of the test, but it will help you to identify the subjects that you should work on. Everyone’s journey to their dream SAT score may be different, so give yourself as wide a set of tools as possible and choose what works for you!

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