When Is the Best Time To Take the SAT? – Frequently Asked Questions

In today’s installment, we’ve assembled a list of some of the questions families most often have on the SATs. If your child is gearing up for the SATs, please refer back to the CollegeMadeSimple.com Free Reports section for more helpful insights.

– Scott

Q: When is the best time to take the SAT?

A: If your student takes the test right at the beginning of their junior year, that gives them the previous summer to study and practice at a leisurely pace without interfering with their school work. It allows them to focus completely on the test without being distracted by exams, papers, homework, etc.

In short, acing the SAT essentially becomes their summer job. A good score to start off their junior year also takes a huge weight off your student’s shoulders and can allow them to relax and devote more time to making sure their school grades are the best they can be.

Q: What tip can you offer students who struggle in a particular academic area?

In short, know your strengths, improve your weaknesses.

Here’s an example. On the SAT, it is generally accepted that writing scores improve the most rapidly.

So if your writing score on the SAT suffers (or you’re concerned about this area), focus attention things like learning a new word every day, and taking plenty of practice tests.


Q: How much does the SAT cost, and is it ever subsidized? What is the SAT Fee Waiver?

A: The SAT fee is usually between $45 and $50 per exam. There is an SAT Fee Waiver, which is exactly what it sounds like – an exemption from the SAT Exam fee (keep in mind, it is need-based, and families must qualify.)

Q: How many colleges and universities don’t require SAT scores in their admissions process?

A: Over 830 colleges and universities don’t require the SAT in their applications, to one degree or another.

Remember, though – of the 830+ colleges that don’t require an SAT, a large number of them are distance learning or religious universities.

Q: What is the main difference between the SAT and the ACT?

A: The ACT is test of what you’ve learned in school. Its questions try to give the admissions office an idea of an applicant’s readiness for college. The SAT measures literacy and writing skills as well as analytical and problem solving skills that may be necessary for college coursework.

The SAT is used primarily by schools on the East and West Coast. The ACT is used throughout the Midwest, the Rockies, and the South. More recently, many schools that only took the SAT previously are now accepting the ACT as well. (Likewise, many schools using the ACT are now starting to accept the SAT, so a student can submit whichever scores represent their best ability.)

To your college funding & admissions success,

Scott Weingold

Co-Founder, College Planning Network LLC

Publisher, CollegeMadeSimple.com – The free educational resource of College Planning Network

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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 CollegeStats.org.  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, TheStreet.com, 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.