Registering for the SAT sounds like the easiest part of the process. But signing up is much more convoluted than you think, and some things matter a lot more than others. Most of all, you want to avoid classic registration mistakes that can cost you dearly.
In this article, we’ll discuss step by step how to sign up for the SAT. We’ll also cover what parts of the 30-minute process really matter and what parts don’t. Finally, we’ll discuss important tips on how to choose the best location and how to save money.
How to Register for the SAT, Step by Step
1) Visit this page and click on Register on the upper right (this will open another tab so you can follow along with this article). You’ll be asked to log in twice for security reasons. If you haven’t created a CollegeBoard account before, this is a good time to do so.
2) You’ll be at the screen below. The College Board tells you this will take 30-40 minutes (yikes – why should it take this long to register for SAT tests? You’ll find out soon). Click to continue.
3) Now begins the long questionnaire. Some of this is important, and other pages are not. We’ll step you through it with notes on what to skip and what to take seriously.
4) Personal Information: Very Important. This is how they’ll track your test and associate it with you. Make sure every piece of information here is correct!
5) Demographics: Not important. The College Board uses this information to do statistics on its test takers. All of this is optional and has zero impact on your score or college admissions.
6) Create Student Profile: Not important. This entire section takes the most time and energy, but none of this is important to your score! The CollegeBoard shares this information with colleges so they can send you spam mail. If you love mail from colleges or want to learn about schools you might not have known about, then fill this out accurately. Otherwise, this is a big drain on your time – none of this information will raise your chances of getting into college, since that all depends on your actual college application.
7) To reiterate: Each of the following subsections is NOT worth your time: College Board Programs, GPA/Rank, Course Work, Activities, and College Plans. If you’re strapped for time, I recommend you just leave it all blank – save that time to prep for the SAT.
It takes quite a long time to fill out every high school course you've taken.
8) When you get to section 3, “Select Test & Center,” you’re at what really matters. The first page, Terms & Conditions, outlines the things you agree to when you take the SAT. There’s a lot of text, but essentially it boils down to:
- You promise not to cheat on the SAT. You promise not to use a cell phone during the test. You’re not allowed to discuss questions and answers at any time.
- You are who you say you are, and no one else is taking the test for you.
9) Choose Your Test & Date: Next, you’ll choose your test date. If you have testing accommodations or a fee waiver, this is where you enter that information.
10) Choose Your Test Center: Here, I highly recommend that you Search by Zip Code. This shows you all the options that are available close to you, not just your own high school. As we’ve written, your high school may not be the best place for you to take the SAT.
Quick Note: If you're actually planning to register right now, I suggest you read our article on best SAT test locations. You might learn something about how to choose a better location for yourself.
11) Upload Photo: Important. Here you’ll need to upload your best selfie. Note that you should actually follow their directions, or you may have to re-register if they reject your photo.
This actually appears on the official instructions.
And that’s the whole process on how to sign up for SAT tests! If you skipped the pages where I told you, you could cut the process down from 30 minutes to 5 minutes.
Tips on Signing Up for the SAT
Now that you know how to register, here are some important tips:
- Choose the best location. This isn’t an automatic decision – many students take it at their high school, but this might not be the best location! Read this guide for more.
- Register early, well before the deadline. Put a note on your calendar to register at least 6 weeks before your test date. If you don’t do this in time, you’ll be subject to fees, or worse, you won’t be able to take your exam at all.
- Apply for a fee waiver if you qualify. Read here for more details about how to save money when you register.
Now that you know how to sign up for the SAT, you might want to know WHEN you should take the SAT and what the best test dates are.
What SAT score should you be aiming for? What's a good SAT score? Find out more in our detailed guide.
Want to improve your SAT score by 240+ points? Read our free tips on the best ways to improve your score:
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As co-founder and head of product design at PrepScholar, Allen has guided thousands of students to success in SAT/ACT prep and college admissions. He's committed to providing the highest quality resources to help you succeed. Allen graduated from Harvard University summa cum laude and earned two perfect scores on the SAT (1600 in 2004, and 2400 in 2014) and a perfect score on the ACT.