How To Schedule for the SAT

Dear College Made Simple reader,

Families are often surprised at how quickly students have to plan for the SAT.

In fact, if they wait until senior year, they could be in real trouble.

After all – the first time they take the test will often not be their best. Many colleges require SAT II subject tests – and those happen the same day as the regular SATs – you can’t do both together.

Add to that the fact that there are only seven test dates every year – with the dates coming in clumps, making it difficult to hit them all.

That’s why scheduling for the SAT is so important. Today, I’ll go over an SAT schedule that works well for many students.


How To Schedule For The SAT

1: The PSAT

Most schools only look at a student’s best SAT scores – though some may look at previous, lower scores. This most often happens when your best section scores are from different tests, so schools can see lower sections as well.

For this reason, it’s always a good idea to take a practice test before taking the real thing. While most schools don’t hold an off SAT section against you, none will count a bad PSAT score. So, it’s always good to get the jitters out, and learn the pacing and instructions of the SAT with a practice test.

The best time to take the PSAT is in the fall of junior year. If a student can take it earlier, all the better – though scores will likely be better with more schooling under a student’s belt. The general rule is, each year of school is worth about 100 points on the SAT – so feel free to inflate the scores you receive if you take the PSAT as an underclassman.

2: The SAT

As we’ve noted, the more schooling a student has had, the better a score is likely to be. However, one has to leave time to retake the exam if scores are unsatisfactory – and leave time to take SAT II exams as well.

Balancing all this, early in the spring of junior year is the most common – and best – time to take an SAT. This year, there are tests in January, March, and May.

Should that score be low, there’s always a summer test period as well – this year, in early June. Please note – if you’ve taken your SAT in May, you won’t have the results before the registration deadline for the June test (registrations are due about a month before test dates, with late registration available (for a fee) as soon as two weeks before tests).

In general, you might do better scheduling you SAT in January or March – so you’ll have an idea what your score is (assuming your score is available), and can schedule a retest in the summer or fall of senior year.

In Part 2 of our report, How To Schedule for the SAT, we’ll review the SAT II, including a sound timing strategy that can help ensure you get the best possible scores off to your desired colleges.

To your college funding & admissions success,

Scott Weingold

Co-Founder, College Planning Network LLC

Publisher, – The free educational resource of College Planning Network


Related Articles:

How to Schedule for the SAT: Part 2- the “SAT II’s”

The Fee Waiver: How to Avoid SAT and Application Fees

5 Proven Ways to Increase the SAT Score


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Editor's Note: Scott Weingold has been ranked the #1 “College Financial Aid Expert Worth Knowing About” in the entire country by  He has co-authored the book, “The Real Secret To Paying For College. The Insider’s Guide To Sending Your Child To College – Without Spending Your Life’s Savings.” Scott also publishes a popular free online newsletter, “College Funding Made Simple" which reveals insider’s tips, methods, and strategies for beating the high cost of college.

Scott is the co-founder and a principal of the widely renown College Planning Network, LLC – the nation’s largest and most reputable college admissions and financial aid planning firm. CPN is a proud member of the Better Business Bureau, the National Association of College Funding Advisors, the National Association for College Admission Counseling, the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators and the Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education.

Scott, along with his college funding advisory team, helps thousands of families throughout the country with their college planning needs and offers a series of free educational webinars and workshops on “How To Pay For College Without Going Broke In The Process!” He's been featured or mentioned in The Philadelphia Inquirer, Yahoo News,, Voice America with Ron Adams, Crains Cleveland Business, and on Cleveland Connection with James McIntyre.  Scott has published numerous articles and is a professional speaker who has addressed thousands of audiences online and offline throughout the United States.  His actionable insights and candid, open approach have earned him & his team numerous media interviews, citations, and speaking opportunities, and his free online video workshop is one of the Internet’s most widely viewed pieces in the college funding space.