The Needed Debate: When is the right time to take the SAT?

A lot of parents and students have this confusion about the right time to take the SAT exams- to ensure a smooth career graph. Though there is no hard and fast rule about the timing of appearing on the SAT, the academic experts opine that preparation for SAT should always start earlier. Instead of hurrying up at the last minute and getting overwhelmed with the syllabus, and test prep strategies, starting early highly increases the chances of scoring high on the SAT.

Before deciding on when is the right time to take the SAT, here are some important facts every student needs to know about the examination:

  • SAT is conducted seven times a year: September, October, December, February, April, June, and July.
  • However, the SAT exam is not conducted in Feb and June in New York state.
  • Many of the states offer an additional ACT that is the part of state testing process. This will have to be checked by the student whether their respective school has this option.

Selecting the right test date for SAT exam:

This can depend on various factors including personal preferences, learning speed, the duration student can give for the test prep and of course- the ideal time to appear for the exam- from the college board and admissions point of view. Academic experts always suggest taking the SAT as early as possible to make sure that time doesn’t get wasted and that career progress can happen seamlessly. There is also a big confusion regarding whether to take the SAT or the ACT. This will again depend on the university the student is aiming for and individual career aspirations.

How many times can I attempt the SAT?

A common question that arises in the minds of students and parents is answered interestingly. The College Board has not imposed any limit on the number of attempts one can appear for the SAT. However, this doesn’t mean the student can appear as many times as they like- as it can cause a wrong impression on the student’s profile during the college admission process. The experts recommend taking SAT not more than 1-3 times to ensure efficient results. The main reason for this number of attempts is- it may not be possible for every student to ace the SAT with the highest scores in the first attempt alone. Giving yourself ample time to understand the strategies, planning the practice tests, and understanding the tricks to ace the exam would take a maximum of three attempts.

The Big Question: When Do I Appear for the SAT?

A plethora of high schools strongly recommend taking the SAT in the spring of your junior year because the content of the Math test includes topics some curricula do not cover before then. However, these topics appear in only a handful of questions, and many juniors take their first ACT in the fall or winter.

Early preparation is always secure and safe for the student to ace the exam, and they can manage the time properly for preparation, along with strong profile building and making an overall good application- for the college admissions.

Take the SAT for the first time in the spring of junior year so you’ll have an opportunity to take it a second time in the fall of your senior year before college application deadlines if you decide to. This gives sufficient time for the student to not just score high on the SAT, but also plan for college admissions by building an appealing profile that can bring out fruitful results.

The big 5 factors in deciding when to take the SAT:

Five crucial factors should be taken into account for considering the ideal time to take the SAT. Here they are:

  • Choosing the test center locations: The SAT is conducted in many testing centers spread across the US, but one must note that not all the centers conduct the exam on the same dates and the number of seats is dependent on the test center’s location.
  • Individual Preferences: Understand your schedule and how long you can focus on working on the test prep, covering the syllabus, and how long you can give time for practice tests. Remember, SAT exam cannot be excelled without ample practice test appearance, and the more you practice, the more confident you can become for the final exam. Also, look for your skillset- and ask yourself questions such as:
  1. Which is my strongest subject? Math or Language? What strategies can I apply to become stronger in them?
  2. What are my weak areas of learning? Is there any difficulty in solving these areas? How do I take the help of the right mentor who can give the perfect guidance for improvement in these areas?
  3. How can I plan my time to make maximum use of practice tests? How do I evaluate myself better to improve my overall score?
  • Time Management for Test Prep: Every competitive exam needs time management and it is something that cannot be ignored. Know your time management capabilities and understand how quickly you can get into mastering a subject and completing each test section. Look for strategies to improve on time management and get better at answering the questions- with accuracy and speed.
  • Possibility to Retest: Think of the possibilities of whether you can take a retest at least thrice to make sure you get the highest scores. The dates in August, October, and November are popular for retaking the SAT before your college application deadlines.
  • Know the College Deadlines: Writing the SAT itself is not the end of the academic journey. After scoring high on the SAT, the student will have to be prepared for making a good profile, selecting the colleges, and getting counseling guidance for better admissions. Hence, know the individual college deadlines and plan the exam date.

Conclusion:

The right time to take the SAT is highly subjective but also has its preferences depending on the individual. Consider all the above factors well and then plan the test date accordingly, along with the test preparation time.