SAT / ACT Prep Online Guides and Tips

SAT Test Dates: Full Guide to Choosing (2017, 2018)

Posted by Dr. Fred Zhang | Aug 16, 2017 9:00:00 PM

SAT Logistics, SAT General Info

 

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The SAT is offered seven times a year, but which SAT test dates will work best for you and your schedule? What essential factors should you consider before creating an SAT schedule? What are the best SAT dates for juniors? For seniors?

In this comprehensive guide, we offer you the most current info on SAT test dates (domestic and international) for the 2017-18 school year. We also give you our top tips for choosing the best SAT test dates for you, as well as tons of resources you can use to assist you in navigating the complicated web of SAT/ACT test dates.

  

SAT Dates and Deadlines: 2017-18

In general, the College Board administers the SAT on Saturdays, with more tests offered in the fall. If you can't take the test on a Saturday for religious or other reasons, Sunday alternate dates are usually available.

Below, we give you all SAT test dates, normal registration deadlines, late registration deadlines, and score release dates for the 2017-18 testing year. All 2017-18 dates have been officially confirmed by the College Board, while the score release dates are estimates given by the College Board.

I’ve listed international test dates in separate tables since the SAT is administered on fewer dates outside the U.S. Note that in the U.S. (and abroad, as of 2018), SAT Subject Tests are available on all SAT dates except March.

 

SAT Test Dates 2017-18 (U.S.)

In 2018, there will no longer be a January test date. This date is instead being replaced by an earlier August test date (starting in 2017) which will only be available in the U.S. Additionally, from the 2017-18 testing year onward, the international November and June test dates will offer only SAT Subject Tests.

Test Date

Normal Deadline

Late Registration*

Online Score Release

August 26, 2017

July 28, 2017

August 15, 2017

Mid-September 2017

October 7, 2017

September 8, 2017

September 27, 2017

October 20-26, 2017

November 4, 2017

October 5, 2017

October 25, 2017

November 17-23, 2017

December 2, 2017

November 2, 2017

November 21, 2017

December 15-21, 2017

March 10, 2018**

February 9, 2018

February 28, 2018

March 23-29, 2018

May 5, 2018

April 6, 2018

April 25, 2018

May 18-24, 2018

June 2, 2018

May 3, 2018

May 23, 2018

July 11, 2018

*The late registration deadline is one week earlier if you are registering by mail.

**Regular SAT only.

 

SAT Test Dates 2017-18 (International)

Test Date

Registration Deadline

Online Score Release

October 7, 2017

September 8, 2017

October 20-26, 2017

November 4, 2017*

October 5, 2017

November 17-23, 2017

December 2, 2017

November 3, 2017

December 15-21, 2017

March 10, 2018**

February 9, 2018

March 23-29, 2018

May 5, 2018

April 6, 2018

May 18-24, 2018

June 2, 2018*

May 3, 2018

July 11, 2018

*SAT Subject Tests only.

**Regular SAT only.

 

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SAT Test Dates: Visual Calendar and Trends

When it comes to choosing SAT dates, you don't want to simply register for the next available date. To help you select the best SAT test dates for you personally, we've created an easy-to-use visual calendar for the 2017-18 SAT test dates. This infographic allows us to look at trends in SAT dates and see whether certain dates and deadlines overlap with others.

testdates20172018-SAT.png(C) 2017 PrepScholar Inc, Use with Link to PrepScholar.com Allowed 

As you can see on this visual calendar, SAT test dates are tightly clustered in the late summer and fall. This is due to the fact that most college application deadlines are in the late fall and early winter. Essentially, the College Board is giving seniors multiple shots at hitting their SAT goal scores right before their applications are due.

In the spring, SAT dates are more spread out, with the exception of May and June. This is, again, due to the fact that there are fewer college application deadlines in spring than there are in fall and winter. These dates are also geared more toward juniors and other students who'd like to take the SAT early.

Next, we can see that because of the high number of test dates in the fall, it's difficult to take two SATs in a row. By the time your score for one test comes out, the late registration date for the next test will have often already passed!

So even if you were to go ahead and register for another test without knowing your scores, you might end up ultimately wasting money on a retake if your scores are higher than you thought they'd be. Likewise, if you don't sign up for the following test, you may miss your only shot at raising your scores before your application deadlines.

Taking back-to-back SATs also doesn't give you enough time to make the most out of your retake; you'll likely see little, if any, improvement in your scores due to the lack of adequate prep time in-between tests.

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Choosing the Best SAT Test Date for You: 5 Essential Factors

It’s critical you choose an SAT test date that’ll work well for not just anyone but you specifically. Below are five major factors you'll want to consider before committing to a test date.

 

#1: When Are Your College Application Deadlines?

By far the most important factors are your college application deadlines. In the U.S., most of these deadlines fall around January 1 (for regular decision) and November 1 or 15 (for early action/early decision).

The College Board sends SAT scores to schools (for your four free score reports) beginning one day before online score release, or approximately three to five weeks after the exam. However, not all schools process scores straight away; on the contrary, some may take a week or so to report scores. As a result, you may have to wait at most around six weeks after your test date for your schools to officially process your SAT scores! 

And this doesn't even include the extra time required to process orders for additional score reports (if you have more than four schools to which you'd like to send scores). Ordering these reports will add at least another week or two once scores are released.

Therefore, as a rule, don't take the SAT less than five or six weeks before your college applications are due. If you'll be ordering additional score reports after your scores come out, stick with test dates more than seven or eight weeks before your deadlines. Remember, if your schools don't receive or process your SAT scores in time, your application may be disqualified! So always plan accordingly.

 

#2: Are You Applying for SAT Scholarships?

Another factor is SAT scholarships. Generally, school-based SAT scholarships will use the same deadlines as college applications. If you're not sure when your SAT scores are due, contact your schools directly to ask whether your SAT scores should arrive earlier than or with your application.

 

#3: How Many Times Will You Take the SAT?

You should also consider whether you may want to retake the SAT if you're not hitting the scores you need for college. We at PrepScholar typically recommend taking the SAT at least twice, possibly three times, depending on your score goals. Here's our suggested SAT schedule:

  1. Take the SAT in the fall of your junior year
  2. Take the SAT a second time in the spring of your junior year
  3. Take the SAT a final time in the late summer/fall of your senior year

If you took your first SAT in the spring of your junior year instead of in the fall, you still have plenty of opportunities to take the SAT once or twice more. You could, for example, take the SAT a second time in June or August and a third time in October or November.

That said, avoid registering for back-to-back SAT test dates, especially in the fall of your senior year. Squeezing in too many SATs gives you barely any time to study and probably won't raise your SAT score by any noticeable margin. Furthermore, attempting to balance so much SAT prep during the school year — and as you’re applying to college, no less! — is an incredibly stressful endeavor. So spread out your tests as best you can.

 

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#4: How Much Study Time Will You Need?

Before you register for the SAT, decide how much time you'll need to dedicate to studying. We normally recommend setting aside three to six months for SAT prep. This amount of time allows you to space out your study sessions so that you're studying consistently without burning yourself out.

But more importantly, you'll want a sufficient number of study hours. The number of hours you'll have to spend studying depends on the number of points by which you’d like to improve your baseline SAT score. (A baseline score is the score you get on an official SAT practice test before beginning any SAT prep.)

Below are the (approximate) numbers of study hours required to make the following total point improvements on the SAT:

  • 0-30 point improvement: 10 hours
  • 30-70 point improvement: 20 hours
  • 70-130 point improvement: 40 hours
  • 130-200 point improvement: 80 hours
  • 200-330 point improvement: 150 hours+

As you can see, the bigger the point increase you want, the more hours you’ll have to studyUnfortunately, not everyone has a ton of time to devote entirely to SAT prep. So at a minimum, try to clock in at least 10 hours of prep.

If you only have a month or so before test day, you can still make large score increases — so long as you’re willing to put in the effort. You can also use our last-minute SAT tips and strategies to help you get the score you want.

 

#5: Will You Have Any Obligations or Conflicts?

Finally, consider your own obligations: is there anything you can't reschedule that'll be taking place on a certain test date? Are there any ongoing commitments (school or otherwise) you'll have that may prevent you from being able to focus on your SAT prep? Remember, obligations can be anything, from school plays and AP tests to sports tournaments and family vacations.

So before you choose a test date, make sure you're keenly aware of your schedule. I suggest using a planner to take note of any large chunks of time you'll be too busy to study for the SAT. Ultimately, if a certain test date feels overwhelming for you, choose another one for which you'll have far fewer obligations in the period leading up to it.

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Quick Guide: What’s the Best SAT Test Date for Juniors? Seniors? Early Action?

In reality, the "best" SAT test date varies for each student; however, sometimes you just want to know what a good test date is, generally speaking. Here, we give you a brief look at the best SAT test dates for four common scenarios.

 

Scenario 1: You’re a Junior

Best Dates

  • For 1st SAT: October, November, December
  • For 2nd SAT: March, May, June

You should always take your first SAT as a junior, ideally in the fall. The October and November test dates offer a ton of flexibility and plenty of time to study and prepare for round two should you want to take the SAT again.

In the spring, try to take the SAT in March or May — latest, June. These dates ensure you'll have the entire summer to evaluate your scores, finalize your list of colleges, and decide whether you’d like to take the test again in August or autumn.

 

Scenario 2: You’re a Senior

Best Dates: August, October, November
Riskier Dates: December

As a senior, you have up to four possible SAT test dates (for regular decision deadlines): August, October, November, and December. As with all college prep, the earlier the better! So try to take your SAT in August, October, or November. These three test dates should have little trouble getting your scores to colleges in time, assuming your earliest deadline is somewhere around January 1.

Although you can opt for the December test date, too, I would only do so if your deadlines are January 10 or later. December scores aren't usually released until late December, so January 1 may be playing it a little too close.

If your regular decision deadline happens to be especially early, like the University of California's November 30 deadline, opt for the August or October test dates instead.

 

Scenario 3: You’re Applying Early Action/Early Decision

Best Dates: June, August
Riskier Dates: October

Most early-action deadlines are around November 1 or 15. So a June or August test date (before your senior year) is an excellent choice, as scores from either test should definitely get to your schools in time. These dates also allow you to focus entirely on your college applications instead of on test prep in the fall of your senior year.

The October deadline is a bit riskier, though, as its scores aren’t normally released until the end of October. So if your deadline is November 1, October probably won't work. If your deadlines are November 15 or later, however, October should be fine!

 

Scenario 4: Your College Applications Aren’t Due Until February or Later

Many schools maintain deadlines in February, March, April, May, June, July, August, and even September. But which SAT test dates will work for these late decision schools?

Below are the latest SAT test dates you can choose depending on your (later than usual) college application deadline. The latest recommended dates should all but guarantee your SAT scores get to your schools in time, whereas the riskier dates may or may not deliver your scores before your deadlines.

College App Deadline

Latest Recommended SAT Test Date

Riskier SAT Test Date

February

December

March

December

April

December

March

May

March

June

March

May

July

May

June

August

June

September

June

August

 

 

Warning:

SAT Test Dates May Change 
Sign up to Receive Free Updates

 

 

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Additional Resources for Info on SAT Test Dates

Need extra assistance with choosing SAT test dates? Our top resources below will help you pinpoint the best SAT dates for you.

  • Can I Get an Alternate SAT Test Date?If there's a conflict with your current SAT test date, you may be able to schedule an alternate test date for the following week. Read our guide to learn everything you can do to ensure your request is successful.

 

The Final Word: What to Know About SAT Test Dates

Although exact SAT test dates change each testing year, the exam will always be administered a total of seven times across the following months (in the U.S.):

  • August (This is a new test date that's replacing the January one!)
  • October
  • November
  • December
  • March
  • May
  • June

For the most part, international test dates are similar to U.S. ones. Here are the only major differences:

  • There is no August test date outside the U.S.
  • As of the 2017-18 testing year, the international November and June test dates will only offer SAT Subject Tests — no regular SAT

To choose a test date that’s right for you, you must consider when your college application and SAT scholarship deadlines are, how many times you want to take the SAT, how much time you're willing to study, and whether you'll have any outside obligations that might prohibit you from taking the SAT on a certain date.

Hopefully, after reading this guide, you now have a clearer and more confident sense as to which SAT test dates will work for you!

 

What's Next?

Planning ahead for 2019? 2020? Then take a look at our handy (and updated!) compilation of future SAT test dates.

You've chosen an SAT test date — your next step now is to get online and register for the SAT! Our detailed guide offers easy-to-follow instructions to help walk you smoothly through the registration process.

Ready to get a great SAT scoreConsider the many different ways you can prep for the exam by reading our free ebook. And if you're hoping for a perfect score, check out our in-depth guide to getting a 1600 on the SAT — written by an expert full scorer!

 

Disappointed with your scores? Want to improve your SAT score by 160 points? We've written a guide about the top 5 strategies you must be using to have a shot at improving your score. Download it for free now:

Get eBook: 5 Tips for 160+ Points

 

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Dr. Fred Zhang
About the Author

Fred is co-founder of PrepScholar. He scored a perfect score on the SAT and is passionate about sharing information with aspiring students. Fred graduated from Harvard University with a Bachelor's in Mathematics and a PhD in Economics.



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