Don't you wish you could find out how you scored on the SAT right after you finish? Or maybe you'd like to forget all about it and pretend it never happened (better luck next time)!
Either way, your wait time will be the same, at somewhere between three and six weeks. This article fills you in on all the details of score reporting, along with some advice for what to do once you get your scores.
When Do You Get Your SAT Scores?
How long does it take to get SAT scores back? Good question, and one that's on everybody's mind after finishing the exam. SAT scores are released between two and three weeks after you take the SAT, depending on your test date. (An exception is the June 2018 test date, which currently has a listed score release date about 5 weeks after the test, but that could change).
After about a year of having longer waits (between three and six weeks) to receive scores, the College Board has re-vamped its schedule to give you your scores sooner. Yay!
The actual time of score release varies, but sometimes it's as early as 5 AM Eastern Time or 2 AM Pacific Time. I wouldn't advise refreshing your account over and over at 4:59 (or 1:59 for you West Coasters), since the release time isn't always exact.
Note also that if you took the SAT with essay, your multiple-choice scores will be available a couple of days before your essay scores.
Your colleges will get your scores within 10 days of you receiving them if you've indicated them as score recipients. Check out the chart below for exact score release dates by test date, as well as our estimates for 2017 and early 2018 test dates.
Score Release by Test Dates in 2017 - 2018
Check out the chart below to see when you'll be able to see your scores for each test date. All dates are confirmed by the College Board, but the score release dates for the October 2017 test date and beyond are the beginning of a seven day window. It's possible you could get your scores up to one week later.
|SAT Test||Test Date||Multiple Choice Score Release||Essay Score Release By||SAT Scores Sent to Colleges By||SAT with Essay Scores Sent to Colleges By|
These dates are when most students will get their scores, but an unlucky few might have to wait longer. They might sign into their College Board accounts and find that their scores still aren't ready. What are some possible reasons why your scores wouldn't show up on score release day?
Where in the world are your SAT scores?
What If Your Scores Aren't Released?
There are a few possible explanations if your scores aren't released on test day. None are especially common, so I wouldn't worry too much about any of them happening to you! Read on for the four main causes of score delays.
Cause 1: Random Test Audit
The most random would be if College Board decided to do a random audit of tests to ensure scoring accuracy and yours got chosen. If that were the case, you'd have to wait longer, but they'd eventually be sent.
If you didn't get an email or letter from College Board (they're a fan of sending information out by hard copy mail, for some reason), then you could give your regional College Board office a call. Be prepared to be transferred and put on hold for a while. If you can't tell, I haven't had the best customer service when it comes to College Board.
Cause 2: Red Flags on Your Test
Another possible reason is that your test was flagged because you improved by an unusually large number of points, like 400 or 500. If students go up hundreds of points between test administrations, then College Board might hold back your test to check for scoring accuracy or signs of cheating.
I worked with an ESL student whose scores were withheld after he improved a few hundred points. We sent in letters on his behalf about all the prep he'd done between tests, but College Board still canceled his scores in the end.
In addition to helping you solve problems while you're taking the SAT, it's a good idea to show your work in your test booklet in the event that this happens to you. Then you could more easily prove that you didn't cheat. In these circumstances, or if a teacher reported cheating, College Board may compare your answers to the answers of those sitting next to you to try to detect any foulplay.
Cause 3: Irregularities at Your Testing Site
Another possible reason for score delay would be irregularities at the testing site. An example is on the June 6, 2015 SAT, when some students got an extra 5 minutes on what should have been a 20 minute section.
Cause 4: They're Just Being Slow
Finally, there might be no other reason behind your score delay than College Board is running behind. They have a ton of tests to grade from students all over the U.S. and world. Plus, they seem to be running into lots of obstacles this year with all the changes in their exams.
If you know other students from your testing center or even testing room have gotten their scores back, you should take action, call College Board, and try to get to the bottom of it. Speaking of, how do you know if others have received their SAT scores?
Guys, what's the news?
Where to Check If Others Have Received Their SAT Scores
There are plenty of discussion forums of students getting up early (or staying up late, depending on your time zone) and counting down to the exact moment when their scores are released. The best ones can be found on College Confidential, where you can create an account and play your part in the waiting game. Again, release time varies, so there's really no use getting stressed and losing sleep over it. They'll be there when you wake up in the morning.
Most students test at their schools with their peers, so you'll hear through general word of mouth who got their scores (and see whether they're psyched or disappointed). Make sure to have your College Board user name and password on hand so you can easily sign into your account. You'll see right away whether or not your scores are available for viewing.
You can also see whether colleges got your scores. Just go to the "My Scores Sent To" page. If they got sent, the page will say "received" by each college. If not, it will still say "pending."
Once you get your scores, you can decide whether you're satisfied with the outcome or want (and have time) to register for another date and retest.
Do your SAT scores give you a happy face or sad face?
What to Do Once You Receive Your SAT Scores
While you shouldn't stay up all night wondering, "When will I get my SAT scores?" and trying to will your scores to appear on the screen, you will benefit from checking the same day they're released. Why? The sooner you check, the sooner you can figure out whether you're satisfied with your scores or see room for improvement.
If you have time before your deadlines and will put in the effort to prep, then it could be a really good idea to retake the SAT. A lot of colleges superscore your results, so you don't have to worry about potentially decreasing your score in one or more sections. If you're prepping effectively, then this is unlikely, anyway.
You can base your decision to retest on several factors. What's your target score? How much prep have you already put in? How much more time do you have to prepare before your next test? How many times have you already taken the SAT, and what improvement have you seen? Ask yourself these questions to determine whether you would benefit from taking the SAT again in the hopes of improving your scores for college.
Another good reason to check your scores sooner rather than later is to send any additional score reports to colleges. If you haven't already listed your score recipients or have any to add, then you should make sure to send them your SAT scores as soon as you can.
In closing, let's go over the most important points you need to remember about receiving your SAT scores.
Make sure to send your official score reports to all your colleges.
To Sum Up...
After you finish up your SAT, you'll have to wait three to six weeks to get your scores back. This wait time is longer than it was in past years, so you'll have to factor this time into your plans when it comes to college deadlines and deciding whether to retake the test.
After you get your SAT scores, you can decide if you're satisfied or if you want to test again. But what exactly are you aiming to score? This article goes over what's a low score, what's a good score, and what's an excellent score that will make you stand out among other applicants. Check it out and then determine your own target SAT score.
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Rebecca graduated with her Master's in Adolescent Counseling from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She has years of teaching and college counseling experience and is passionate about helping students achieve their goals and improve their well-being. She graduated magna cum laude from Tufts University and scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT.