When to take the Test

Plan ahead throughout high school

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Most students take the SAT during their junior or senior year in high school. At least half of all students take the SAT twice — in the spring of their junior year and in the fall of their senior year. Most students also improve their score the second time around.

For the SAT Subject Tests™, most students take them toward the end of their junior year or at the beginning of their senior year. In general, you should take tests such as World History, Biology E/M, Chemistry or Physics as soon as possible after completing the course in the subject. Students tend to do better on other tests like languages after at least two years of study.

Select a grade level

  1. Create a high school plan

    • Make sure you know what high school courses are required by colleges and that you´re taking the right classes starting this year.
    • Get to know the levels of courses offered by your school.
  1. Take challenging classes

    You should take at least five solid academic classes every semester. These usually include classes in English (language arts), math, science, social studies, foreign languages, and the arts. Try to take advantage of honors and other higher-level courses to challenge yourself.

  1. Learn about the SAT Subject Tests

    Although most students take SAT Subject Tests beginning in their junior year, there are some tests that you should take as soon as possible after taking the subjects, for example: World History, Biology E/M, Chemistry, and Physics.

 

  1. Read and write as much as you can

    Go beyond your reading and writing assignments in school. Reading books and magazines, keeping a journal or blogging can help you improve your writing skills, reading comprehension and vocabulary.

  1. Explore the Advanced Placement Program® (AP®)

    Try out college-level work, improve your abilities, and, with the right grades, maybe even receive college credit. More than 3,000 higher education institutions award credit based on AP Exam grades. Learn more about the AP Program.

  1. Ask if the PSAT/NMSQT® is offered to 10th-graders

    While it’s usually given in the 11th grade, the PSAT/NMSQT is also often offered in the 10th grade. By taking it this year, you’ll receive a score report to help you improve your performance on next year’s exams.

  1. Think about taking the SAT Subject Tests

    Are you taking any courses this year that are related to an SAT Subject Test? For some subjects, it’s best to take those exams at the end of the year, while the material is still fresh in your mind.

  1. Keep up your participation in school activities or volunteer efforts

    Extracurricular activities can help you develop time-management skills, expand your horizons and find what you are passionate about doing.

  1. Take the PSAT/NMSQT

    Sign up for the test, which is given in October. Taking the PSAT/NMSQT is the best way to get ready for the SAT.

  1. Plan for spring tests

    You can take either the SAT or up to three SAT Subject Tests on one test day. Plan your testing schedule carefully if you want to take both types of tests.

  1. Get ready for the SAT

  1. Get ready for the SAT Subject Tests

  1. Take the SAT

  1. Send scores to colleges and scholarship programs

    If you know which schools you'd like to receive your scores, then consider sending them in the spring of your junior year. Colleges see this as a sign of interest and may use scores to qualify you for special campus visits programs, information sessions in your hometown or for scholarships.

  1. Take the SAT again?

    If you plan on taking the SAT again, the beginning of senior year is the best time. Research shows that students who take the SAT a second time usually improve their score.

  1. Improve your performance

  1. Take SAT Subject Tests™

    SAT Subject Tests measure your knowledge of a particular subject. If you continue to study the subject and take the test again, your score should reflect your increased knowledge.

  1. Send scores to colleges and scholarship programs

    Many colleges and universities have application deadlines in December or January of your senior year. If you haven’t sent your scores to any institutions or if you would like to send more score reports, now is the time.