When Do You Take the SAT? | Choosing the Right Grade and Test Date Matter

Are you one of many high schools student wants to take the SAT for the first time?
Decision on when is the best time for taking the SAT is one of the first things that you have to do when you start considering your college options. As this SAT test plays a significant role in universities’ and colleges’ admission process, you definitely can’t just take your first SAT test without proper planning. Your decision whether to take the SAT in your junior year or senior year of high school will have a huge impact on how to do well on the SAT since it can help determine the length of your prep time. We also explained the SAT Reasoning Test so as to avoid the confusion between the two. Also, before you begin, look into all old SAT to new SAT changes here, and learn when to take the SAT. It is also advisable to inform about the college application deadline and SAT cancellation.

studying for the sat

Are you taking the SAT for the first time? When is the best time to take the SAT, Freshman, Junior Year, Senior Year or Sophomore Year of High School?
When deciding when to take the SAT for the first time, there may be a lot of factors that you should consider when choosing an SAT testing date. The best day isn’t the same for everyone, so you will benefit from learning which one is yours.

To help you find the best day for you to take the SAT, we’ve created a quick but informational guide below.

Check it out and you might just be able to get the information you need to choose a good SAT test date for you. When it comes to SAT prep, you should take a look at our top picks in this guide that reviews the top SAT study books to get a good score, and should study SAT vocabulary, too. If you need more accountable check out this post on SAT prep courses reviewed, which details which online classes you'll want to take to maximize your score and percentiles on the SAT.

What You Need to Know About SAT Schedules

The SAT may be a standardized exam but it doesn’t mean that it doesn’t provide certain accommodations for students. In fact, the College Board, the very folks behind the exam, recognizes that there’s one best day for everyone to take the exam. This is why they offer several SAT test days in a year. Get familiar with the list of colleges that require SAT essay.

This actually makes sense because a single test date would also be a nightmare for them. If you have any idea how many students take the SAT each year, you’ll understand why there are several testing dates within a year. As more than 1 million students take the exam yearly (with 2017 having the highest number of students took the test at 1.8 million), it would really be more efficient to break them all up and allow them to take the test at different times of the year. Also, if you are students who plan to take SAT for the first time, you will need to know how to get the best essay score on the SAT and also how to superscore your SAT.

What Grade Should You Take the SAT?

Before you even worry about the exam date, however, you may want to know the answer to the very important question: what grade do you take the SAT? This will help you determine when you should even start planning your preparations for your college admissions applications. Also, it doesn't hurt to know what the lowest SAT score you can get is.

Ideally, the SAT is taken by senior students who are already gearing up for college. However, juniors may also allowed to take the exam. Some students take the SAT as early as their sophomore year. Most of them do this to get a good feel of the test so they can be sure to take the appropriate measures to improve their later results or score.

Taking the SAT After High School

"Can I take the sat after high school?" Yes, the College Board do not limit the test-taking to high school students. If you’ve already graduated from secondary school, you can still take the exam.

taking the sat after high school

To be very honest, you don’t have to take the SAT if you don’t want to. This is particularly true if you’re not planning on going to college right away or at all.

This can also work if the school you wish to attend doesn’t require students the SAT. Most universities abroad may have their own requirements of versions of the SAT so it’s just best to look into those to be sure.

However, if you ever change your mind, you may still take the SAT down the road. This keeps opportunities available to you should you wish to pursue higher-level education later on.

Can you take the SAT in college? Yes, you definitely can. If you’re planning on transferring to a different university, your SAT scores might be required by some schools. This is usually the case if you haven’t fulfilled a certain number of credits yet. Students SAT scores might also be required if they want to move to a higher-tiered institution.

It’s best to first check the requirements of the school you wish to transfer before signing up for an SAT schedule, however. There are some cases wherein the requirement is waived, so you should look into that. With the demands of the SATs, it would be nice if you as students can skip the whole thing entirely.

What are the Available SAT Test Dates?

The SAT is offered to students seven times every year. The College Board has SAT schedules nearly all year round. The test is nationally administered in the months of August, October, November, December, and March, May and June,. Additional dates in the spring of the sophomore year and fall months are also available for participating schools. This gives students a lot of options when it comes to when to take this standardized college admission test.

Note, however, that not all test dates are available nation-wide. Some states do not have test schedules in June.

How to Choose the Best Test Date for You

Each test schedule makes a good case for itself so it’s very important that you as students consider the factors that come with their timing closely. For example, summer test dates will allow you to deal with the exam before the school year starts. Later dates will give students more opportunity to prepare for the test, on the other hand.

By opting to take the SAT before the school year, incoming senior students can cut down the number of stressors that they have to deal with on their final year of high school. It will also take out one of the most time-consuming portions of their college applications. With the SAT out of the way, you can already focus on your college application requirements, coursework, and other extracurriculars that will also help boost your odds in getting good sat score and getting into a good university.

choose the best test date for you

On the other hand, incoming juniors will find this testing schedule beneficial as it will help them start their test season at the least stressful moment of the year.

This testing schedule will let them focus on their SAT prep and even do some advanced studying that should give them a good edge for the upcoming school year.

Summer SAT test dates also promise early SAT results dates.

This means that you can get your scores way before you might need them for your admission applications. This will allow you to apply for early decision or early action admissions which might just help boost your odds of getting into your top choices. Getting your scores early will also give you enough time to re-take the test in case you want higher scores.

June SAT dates are the earliest you can take the said exam during the summer months between your junior and senior year. Incoming juniors are recommended to take the SAT for the first time on this schedule as it can give them a good head start in their college admissions. However, test preps for this exam date would coincide with preparations for your finals and AP exams so it can also be the worst time for some.

The August SAT schedules, however, are also quite popular because they allow students to prepare over the summer without lots of other distractions. It’s also a good time to take the SAT for the second time if you were able to take it for the first time in the previous months. You’ll already have the results by this time and you’ll already know where you should do better to pull up your scores.

The College Board, however, recommends taking the exam for the first time in the spring of your junior year. By this time, you’ll most likely already covered most of the topics that are included in the exam in class including the math topics on SAT. Since Math tends to be a problem for most test takers, we suggest reading our guide to SAT Math practice. This can save you from the hassle of extensive studying just before taking the test. This schedule will also let you make use of the breaks before this time to prepare for the exam like we explained in our guide. Make sure to allocate enough time to practice for the reading section on the SAT.

Other experts, on the other hand, suggest that you take the SAT in the fall of your junior year. This will allow you to prepare for taking the SAT ahead of the other things that you should take care of during this time.

Either way, you should consider SAT Tutoring or SAT Prep course or self-study using SAT Textbooks.

time to prepare the sat

You might find yourself asking, do I have to take the SAT earlier than these suggestions? The answer would really depend on how you intend to take on this challenge. Some prefer doing so but it’s not recommended by a lot of experts. The exam might prove to be too complex for younger students so it might not be beneficial for you. It can also prolong the preparation process which can be too exhausting for a student.

The latest that you should take the SAT would be the fall of your senior year if the test results can come out in time for your college admissions deadline. Those who want to pull up their scores do their re-takes around this time and many benefitted from the additional prep time it provided. Be very particular about the release date of the test scores, however, as these test dates might be too late for some universities’ admissions schedules.

How Many Times Can You Take the SAT?: Basic Rules on Re-Taking

Now, you might be wondering, can you retake the SAT? The multiple test schedules and the information we have provided above should certainly suggest that you can re-take the test. You can re-take this test as many times as you want, so you can always try for a better score. Universities either use the highest score you got or use specific techniques to better process the data from your test results.

On the other hand, it also matters how many times you take the SAT. While the College Board will be more than happy to let you re-take the test as many times as you want, the process will also be taxing for you. It can be mentally, emotionally, and financially exhausting so it might not be the best thing to do.

Do you have to take the SAT multiple times? How many times should I take the SAT to reach my goals? It really depends on your performance, goals, and preparation: get to know the SAT breakdown. If you took the exam early on and you didn’t do too well, a do-over would be great. Just make sure to do ample preparation this round so you can be sure to improve your scores. If you’re still not satisfied with the results you got and you still have time for another re-take, you can still go for it.

You are not required to take the SAT several times, however. Taking it one to three times is the most common recommendation but you don’t really have to subject yourself repeatedly to this test. And if you intend to go over those numbers, it’s best that you do not exceed four times.

Scheduling Your SAT Test Day

Now that you have some idea about the SAT schedules, you’re ready to start thinking of when you should take the said exam. To help you arrive at a good conclusion, we’ve rounded up some questions that should help you decide how to go about this important part of the SAT. Check them out below:

scheduling your sat test day

When can you start preparing for the SAT?

Choosing your SAT test date should always involve the important detail of when you can start preparing for the actual exam. You can’t just sign up for the next exam schedule without checking if you’ll have enough time to get ready. That might not promise good things for your test results.

You should also consider how much time you’re willing to spend on SAT preps when considering the answer to this question. By combining your answers to the two, you can pick out a good target test date.

Do you prefer to focus on your SAT test prep or will you be able to juggle it with other school work and activities?

An important addition to the considerations above is whether you’ll be willing to do your SAT test prep while juggling other school work. If your target date is within the academic year, you will need to map out a solid time management plan for things to work out nicely.

On the flip side, you can also choose a test date on lean seasons. As mentioned above, the summer and early fall test dates are quite popular because they will let you use your entire summer break for test prep. The said schedule can help ease your workload and make your test prep less stressful.

How many times are you willing to re-take the SAT?

The number of times you’re thinking of taking the SAT should also have some weight in your choice of test day. If you want to take the exam thrice, you should take the test early to give you enough time for re-takes. It’s best to choose a very early schedule for this so you’ll have enough time to receive your test scores and prepare for the do-over.

As mentioned above, it would be great to have your first go at the exam in the fall of your junior year. The next one could be taken in the spring of the same academic year. The last one should then be the early fall of your senior year. These dates will already give you enough time to prepare before and in between the exams.

Do you need to take SAT Subject Tests?

If the program you’re applying for requires you to take a SAT subject test, you should also make sure to factor in their available schedules. SAT subject tests are not administered as often as the general SAT so you have to closely consider them when choosing a test date. Make sure that you’ll have enough time to prepare for all of the exams you need to take in order to get the best results.

Are you applying for scholarships?

Scholarships and financial aid programs have specific timelines. So if need to take one, you better stick to their schedule. Make sure that you have your SAT scores ahead of their application deadline so you have a good shot at getting the grant. Indicate their deadlines in your college application calendar and factor it in when choosing an SAT test date.

When is the deadline for your college admission applications?

Most importantly, your test results should also come before your college application deadline so you can actually complete your requirements on time. This means that you should also choose a test date that will give you the results before your application deadlines.

Do you have any particular dates that you have preferences for?

Some test dates might fall on certain days that have significance to you, so it might be best to avoid them entirely. If you have something else that you want to do on a test day, it would be better to just keep it clear. Such things can only distract you and prevent you from doing your best on the exam.

If there’s any chance that you’ll just worry about how many hours the SAT is or if you’ll be able to make it to your next appointment, you will be better off taking a different test date.

Combine all of the factors we’ve noted above and you can determine when will be the best time for you to take the SAT.


Once you’ve chosen the best test date for you, you can proceed to take the necessary SAT prep for the testing day including, reading SAT practice books and study guides online and SAT practice tests. This would be a lengthy process so it’s important to plan for it as well. Strategize on how to effectively tackle the exam but also don’t forget to learn about the smaller details that can also make or break your test-taking experience. Make sure to also know what to bring to the SAT or how to dress on the testing day.

Keep in mind that the right SAT test date can play a huge role in your attempt to get the best results from this standardized college admission test. So be very particular about it and treat it as a crucial part of your SAT preps. If you're considering taking ACT instead, www.studypreplounge.com has a separate article covering the differences between these two popular tests.


1. When should I take the SAT for the first time?

We recommend students to take the SAT or ACT for the first time in the spring of their junior year in high school, so they all have an opportunity to take it a second time in the fall of their senior year before college application deadlines if they decide to.

2. Do you take the SAT in 11th grade?

While all people can take the SAT exam, most students take the SAT in 11th or 12th grade to prepare for college applications. If students are 12 years old or younger or 21 years old or older, read about SAT registration for younger students or SAT registration for test-takers over the age of 21.

3. Do Sophomores take the sat?

Many high school students prep for the SAT exam throughout their sophomore year and the following summer and then take the SAT in the fall of their junior year in high school. This means that popular first-time SAT dates for juniors are in October and November.

4. What is the highest SAT score?

The highest SAT score you could get on SAT is 1600, while the lowest SAT score is 400. The total SAT score is consists of a Math section score and an Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score. Each SAT section is scored between 200 and 800 points.

5. What Do You Need to Do to Get a Perfect 1600 SAT Score?

Here are the steps to getting your perfect SAT Score.

1. Identify your weakness and develop strategies to overcome it.
2. Create a consistent study plan and schedule
3. Test and refine your strategies
4. Read SAT books
5. Practice and read plenty of SAT practice tests online.

Leonard Haggin

I created this site to help students like you learn from the experiences my team had learned during our extensive academic careers. I am now studying Law at Stanford, but I also make time to write articles here in order to help all you fellow students advance in your academic careers and beyond. I hope our efforts on Study Prep Lounge will arm you with the knowledge you need to overcome whatever trial or test you find in front of you.

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