Upcoming SAT Test Dates and Deadlines

As you’ve probably heard, the SAT (and ACT) is an essential part of your child’s college application. A competitive score can enhance their credentials in the eyes of admissions officers, while results that don’t meet expectations may mean that your child should retake the SAT. While dedicated test prep is the most important factor in your student’s success, thinking strategically about when to take the SAT can also lead to higher scores. In this post, I review upcoming test dates and offer advice about when rising juniors and seniors should plan to take the SAT!

Summer & Fall SAT Test Dates

The College Board offers the SAT seven times a year. Since 2017, students have been able to take the SAT in August. Since this testing date is right before the start of the school year for most students, it can be a great time to take the SAT!

SAT Test Date Normal Deadline Late Registration* Online Scores Released
June 2nd, 2018 May 3rd, 2018 May 23rd, 2018 July 11th, 2018
August 25th, 2018 July 27th, 2018 August 15th, 2018 September 9th, 2018
October 6th, 2018 September 7th, 2018 September 26th, 2018 October 21st, 2018
November 3rd, 2018 October 5th, 2018 October 16th, 2018 November 16th, 2018
December 1st, 2018 November 2nd, 2018 November 13th, 2018 December 16th, 2018

When Should My Child Take the SAT?

Of the seven SAT test dates every year, there are lots of opportunities to take the SAT. This can certainly feel a little bit overwhelming. Here’s the good news: college accept scores from any test date and your child can take the test more than once. I recommend picking test dates with these guidelines in mind:

  • Schedule two or three test dates within three to four months of each other
  • This span of three to four months should occur when your child is relatively free so that he or she can commit to consistent prep
  • Most students should wait to take the SAT or ACT until after Sophomore year. Both the SAT and ACT test content that students don’t learn until sophomore year, including Algebra II and Geometry.
  • Most students shouldn’t wait to take the SAT or ACT for the first time until the winter of Senior year. Most students should give themselves the leeway to take the SAT or ACT two or three times

So how does this work out for your child? Take the test date timeline quiz to get a personalized recommendation.

SAT Planning for Rising Seniors

If your student is a rising senior, they have a busy year of college applications ahead. However, taking the SAT should be a high priority, especially if your child hasn’t done so yet. You should choose a test date based on your student’s readiness. If they’ve been prepping for months, it might be smart to take the SAT in June. This will give you time to evaluate your child’s results and plan for them to retake the test if necessary.

If your student has not started prepping, now is the time! I suggest that they should focus on prep over the summer and take the SAT in August. Early Action and Early Decision deadlines are in November and Regular Decision deadlines are in January. This means that for Early Action/Decision applicants, October is the last chance to take the SAT. While seniors applying Regular Decision can take the SAT in November or December, it would likely be difficult to prioritize test prep in those months. Therefore, I recommend that your student focuses on SAT prep over the summer to earn a competitive score and minimize the stressfulness of college applications.

Seniors: Pick Two Test Dates

Although your child might be able to hit their target score on the first attempt, it would be wise to plan for them to retake the SAT. If your student is applying Early Action/Decision and you haven’t registered them for the June SAT, plan for them to take it in August and October. Regular Decision applicants have more flexibility! There are six possible pairs of test dates if you’re applying Regular Decision:

  • August & October
  • August & November
  • August & December
  • October & November
  • October & December
  • November & December

As you can probably tell, not all of these pairs work for rising seniors. The bolded ones are the most logical combinations, and August & October makes sense for most college applicants. If your student has already taken the SAT, then they can register any of these test dates, though it still makes sense to take it in August or October.

2018 Summer/Fall Timeline for Rising Seniors

August 25th, 2018

  • Early Action/Decision: second-to-last chance to take the SAT
  • Regular Decision: a great time to take the SAT

October 6th, 2018

  • Early Action/Decision: last chance to take the SAT
  • Regular Decision: a good time to take the SAT

November 3rd, 2018

  • Regular Decision: second-to-last chance to take the SAT

December 1st, 2018

  • Regular Decision: last chance to take the SAT

SAT Planning for Rising Juniors

If you’re reading this section, great job planning ahead! Rising juniors have more flexible (and sometimes less busy) schedules, so now is a good time to finish testing before senior year and college applications. If your student hasn’t taken the SAT, they should plan to do in August and in the fall. Prepping early can help your student earn their target scores, and the summer before junior is a great time to prep because students tend to have more free time. It’s also smart to choose a retake date in the fall, since the spring semester of junior year is often busy with AP tests and college visits. Therefore, the window from July to October is an excellent time for rising juniors to finish testing!

Juniors: Pick Two Test Dates

To finish with the SAT before Spring 2019, here are the possible pairs of test dates that you can register for:

  • August & October
  • August & November
  • August & December
  • October & November
  • October & December
  • November & December

Rising juniors are more flexible than seniors, so the “best” pair of test dates depends on their schedules. However, in most cases it makes sense to take the SAT in August before most students return to school. Although it isn’t essential to finish taking the SAT before the spring of junior year, it definitely eases stress and gives your student a head start with their college applications!

2018 Summer/Fall Timeline for Rising Juniors

August 25th, 2018

  • Plan to take the SAT in August

October 6th, 2018

  • An excellent time to retake the SAT

November 3rd, 2018

  • A good time to retake the SAT

December 1st, 2018

  • A good time to retake the SAT

Stay on Top of SAT Test Dates and Deadlines

As SAT test dates come and go, students are prone to falling behind schedule. Of course with a full plate of sports, school work, activities and friends, sixteen- and seventeen-year olds will almost undoubtedly push test prep to the bottom of their priorities. Like paying taxes or going to the gym, prepping for the SAT or ACT is important but not urgent.

The best way for parents to make sure students don’t fall behind schedule is to be aware of upcoming test dates. And we created an email newsletter to alert families of every deadline they need to know.

AUTHOR

Kevin March

Cornell University
SAT SCORE: 2230/2400
Fencer, empire theorist, airbender
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2018-05-11T04:52:30+00:00