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 2020 and 2021. We also give you our top tips for choosing the best SAT test dates for you as well as tons of resources to help you navigate the complicated web of SAT/ACT test dates.
NOTE: Because of COVID-19, some 2020 SAT test dates have been canceled. If you're looking for more information on how COVID-19 is impacting SAT test dates, check out our complete guide.
SAT Dates and Deadlines: 2020-2021
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 SAT test dates, normal registration deadlines, late registration deadlines, and score release dates for the remaining 2020/2021 test dates. The test dates have been officially confirmed by the College Board, although some of the score release dates haven't. We've included both confirmed and anticipated test dates for the rest of the year.
I've listed international test dates in separate tables since the SAT is administered on fewer dates outside the US. Note that in both the US and internationally, SAT Subject Tests are available on all SAT dates except March.
SAT Test Dates 2020-2021 (US)
The College Board has added a September test date in 2020 to account for earlier test cancellations due to COVID-19. As of right now, the College Board has not announced plans to make the September SAT date a regular occurrence. For more information about the new September 2020 test date, click here.
Online Score Release**
|December 5, 2020||November 5, 2020||November 24, 2020||December 18, 2020|
|March 13, 2021||February 12, 2021||March 2, 2021||March 26, 2021|
|May 8, 2021||April 8, 2021||April 27, 2021||May 21, 2021|
|June 5, 2021||May 6, 2021||May 26, 2021||June 18, 2021|
*The late registration deadline is about one week earlier if you are registering by mail
**SAT Essay scores are usually released within 10 days of the multiple choice scores.
SAT Test Dates 2020-2021 (International)
Below are the SAT testing dates for international test takers. Keep in mind that the College Board has added the September 2020 testing date to account for COVID-19 test cancellations earlier in the year. The College Board has not indicated that they will add a September test date to future years' testing scheduled.
|Test Date||Registration Deadline||Online Score Release***|
|December 5, 2020||November 5, 2020||December 18, 2020|
|March 13, 2021*||February 12, 2021||March 26, 2021|
|May 8, 2021||April 8, 2021||May 21, 2021|
|June 5, 2021**||N/A||N/A|
*SAT Subject Tests not available on this date
**Only SAT Subject Tests will be offered on this date
***These are estimated dates. SAT Essay scores are usually released within 10 days of the multiple choice scores.
Anticipated SAT Test Dates and Deadlines (2021-2022)
These dates aren't confirmed by the College Board, but are when they current expect the SAT to be held in 2021/2022.
Anticipated SAT Test Dates 2021-2022 (US)
The following test dates are anticipated for 2021-2022. Test dates, registration deadlines, and score release dates are subject to change.
Online Score Release
|August 28, 2021||July 30, 2021||August 17, 2021||September 10, 2021|
|October 2, 2021||September 3, 2021||September 21, 2021||October 15, 2021|
|November 6, 2021||October 7, 2021||October 26, 2021||November 19, 2021|
|December 4, 2021||November 5, 2021||November 23, 2021||December 17, 2021|
|March 12, 2022||February 12, 2022||March 1, 2022||March 25, 2022|
|May 7, 2022||April 8, 2022||April 26, 2022||May 20, 2022|
|June 4, 2022||May 6, 2022||May 27, 2022||June 17, 2022|
Anticipated SAT Test Dates 2021-2022 (International)
The following test dates are anticipated for 2021-2022. Test dates, registration deadlines, and score release dates are subject to change.
Online Score Release
|August 28, 2021||July 23, 2021||September 10, 2021|
|October 2, 2021||September 3, 2021||October 15, 2021|
|December 4, 2021||November 5, 2021||December 17, 2021|
|March 12, 2022||February 11, 2022||March 25, 2022|
|May 7, 2022||April 8, 2022||May 20, 2022|
|June 4, 2022 (Subject Tests only)||May 6, 2022||June 17, 2022|
SAT Test Dates: 2020-2021 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 2020-2021 SAT test dates. This infographic allows us to look at trends in SAT dates and see whether certain dates and deadlines overlap with others.
© 2020 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 early 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!
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 might 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.
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 US, most 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; in fact, some might take a week or so to report scores. As a result, you might 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 needed to process orders for additional score reports (if you have more than four schools you want to send scores to). 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 apps 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 that if your schools don't receive or process your SAT scores in time, your application could get disqualified! So 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 scores should arrive earlier than or with your application.
#3: How Many Times Will You Take the SAT?
You should also consider whether you might want to retake the SAT if you're not getting the scores you need for college.
We typically recommend taking the SAT at least twice, possibly three times, depending on your score goals. Here's our suggested SAT schedule:
- Take the SAT in the fall of your junior year
- Take the SAT a second time in the spring of your junior year
- Take the SAT a final time in the late summer/early 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 score by any noticeable margin.
Furthermore, trying to balance so much 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.
#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.
More importantly, though, 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 you'd like to improve your baseline SAT score by. (A baseline score is the score you get on an official SAT practice test before you begin any SAT prep.)
Below are the (approximate) number 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 study.
Unfortunately, not everyone has a ton of time to devote entirely to SAT prep. 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? Do you have any ongoing commitments (school or otherwise) that could prevent you from being able to focus on your SAT prep? Obligations can be anything, from school plays and AP tests to sports tournaments and family vacations.
Before you choose a test date, make sure that you're keenly aware of your schedule. I suggest using a planner to take note of any big chunks of time during which you'll be too busy to study for the SAT.
Ultimately, if a certain test date feels overwhelming, choose another one for which you'll have far fewer obligations in the period leading up to it.
Quick Guide: What's the Best SAT Test Date for Juniors? For Seniors? For 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
- 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 lots 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—or at the 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! Try to take the 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 might be playing it a little too close for some colleges. Check with your schools directly to verify whether they'll accept SAT scores from the December test date before you register for it.
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 November 1 or 15. A June or August test date (before your senior year) is an excellent choice since scores from either test date should definitely get to your schools in time. These dates also give you the fall to focus entirely on your college applications instead of on SAT prep.
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 have later-than-normal deadlines in February, March, April, May, June, July, August, and even September. So which SAT test dates will work for these late decision schools?
Below are the latest SAT test dates you can choose depending on your college application deadline. The latest recommended dates are pretty much guaranteed to get your SAT scores to schools in time, whereas the riskier dates might not get your scores in before the deadlines.
College App Deadline
Latest Recommended SAT Test Date
Riskier SAT Test Date
SAT Test Dates May Change
Sign up to Receive Free Updates
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:
- When Should You Take the SAT or ACT? Best Test Dates: Our popular guide to SAT/ACT test dates zeroes in on the four most important factors you'll need to consider when selecting a test date. You can also check out our more general guide to the other major factors that come into play when choosing a test date.
- SAT/ACT Test Dates & Study Plan for Sophomores and Juniors: Seeking advice on when to take the SAT or ACT your sophomore or junior year? This guide walks you through a typical SAT/ACT test-taking schedule and offers targeted tips for honing your weaknesses.
- 5 Step SAT/ACT Test Dates & Study Plan for Summer Before Senior Year: This step-by-step guide explains how to structure a personalized SAT/ACT study plan before your senior year.
- The Best SAT and ACT Test Dates for Senior Fall: Looking for a guide geared specifically toward seniors? Here, we lay out the SAT/ACT test dates in autumn and provide you with tips on how to choose the best date for you.
- Can I Get an Alternate SAT Test Date?: If there's a conflict with your current SAT test date, you might 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.
- SAT and ACT Test Date Lists: For more general SAT/ACT test date info, check out our year-by-year guides:
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 US):
- August (This test date has replaced the January one)
- September (2020 only)
For the most part, international test dates are similar to US ones. Here are the only major differences:
- There is no August test date outside the US
- The international November and June test dates only offer SAT Subject Tests—no regular SAT
To choose a test date that's right for you, consider the following four factors:
- When your college application and scholarship deadlines are
- How many times you want to take the SAT
- How much time you're willing to study
- Whether you'll have any obligations that might prevent 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!
Planning ahead for 2022 or 2023? 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 score? Consider 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:
Have friends who also need help with test prep? Share this article!
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.