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When should you take the SAT?

Written by Shefali Sundram

Updated on: 03 Jan 2024

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Many colleges in the United States require an SAT score for admission. Colleges use standardized entrance exams to determine your readiness for college in addition to your GPA.

  • The College Board administers the SAT seven times a year: in March, May, June, August, October, November, and December.
  • The College Board recommends taking the SAT for the first time in the spring of your junior year and again in the fall before college application deadlines. 

Your coursework and SAT score decide whether you get admission to a college or not. SAT is for your math, English, and reading comprehension skills. However, the most important question is “When do you take the SAT?” 

According to the College Board, most students take the SAT in their junior and senior years of high school.

What are SAT dates 2023-24?

The College Board conducts the SAT seven times a year. It happens in August, October, November, December, March, May, and June.

The deadline to register for the SAT is about a month before the test date. so it is important to plan. Early registration ensures you get the SAT date you want and the testing center that’s most convenient for you.

It costs $60 to take the SAT. You may be eligible for a fee waiver. If you sign up for the SAT date after the registration deadline and before the late registration deadline, you must pay an additional $30.

SAT dates 2023-24:

SAT: Test Date^Registration DeadlineDeadline for Regular Cancellation
Aug 26, 2023Domestic: Jul 28, 2023
International: Aug 11, 2023
Aug 15, 2023
Oct 7, 2023Domestic: Sept 8, 2023
International: Sept 22, 2023
Sept 26, 2023
Nov 4, 2023Domestic: Oct 6, 2023
International: Oct 20, 2023
Oct 24, 2023
Dec 2, 2023Domestic: Nov 3, 2023
International: Nov 17, 2023
Nov 21, 2023
Mar 9, 2024Feb 23, 2024Feb 27, 2024 ^^
May 4, 2024Apr 19, 2024Apr 23, 2024 ^^
June 1, 2024May 17, 2024May 21, 2024 ^^
SAT dates 2023-24

^ You will have fewer options for registering if one of your main goals is not to take the SAT.
Subject to change.

SAT School Day

Many schools take part in SAT School Day, which lets you test at your school during school hours on dates in October, March, and April.

Ask your counselor if your school plans to administer the SAT on a school day.

SAT School Day will be offered digitally in the spring of 2024, most probably between March 4 to April 26, 2024.

Test DateMost Scores Available
October 11, 2023November 1, 2023
October 26, 2023November 16, 2023
Before December 2023 school day dates

When should you register for the SAT?

Once you have selected your ideal date, then you need to register online. The test dates are grouped to match the academic school year. The College Board test dates are grouped to match the academic school year, so Fall 2023—Spring 2024 dates cover tests from August 2023 to June 2024.

New registration dates open by Summer, so once you have taken your Spring test in your junior year, you will receive an email when registration for the new academic year is released which would happen in your senior year.

Late registration

Every SAT administration has a regular registration deadline and a late registration deadline.

The regular deadline is roughly four weeks before the test date and the late deadline is about two weeks before the test date.

There’s an extra fee for late registration which is $30. The later you register, the fewer choices you will have for your testing location and date combinations

How to choose the best SAT date for you?

The College Board recommends taking your first SAT during the spring of your junior year. Again in the Fall before college application deadlines in your senior year.

By the second time, you should have learned most of the major concepts of the test and will have enough time to retake the SAT one more time or more.

You may wait to take your first SAT until the fall of your senior year. If you do, you will have fewer opportunities to retake the SAT before your college applications are due.

SAT test center location availability

The SAT is conducted at thousands of testing centers across the country. But, not every test center is open for every test date and they don’t offer the same number of seats.

Students often feel more comfortable taking the SAT in a familiar location near them.

Changing your SAT test date or location

If you need to change your SAT dates or location after you have registered. You have to pay a fee of $25 to change your date or location unless you have a fee waiver, in which case it’s free.

At times, changing your registration date may require you to change your test center and vice versa due to seat availability.

If the deadline hasn’t passed yet, you can change your test location through your MySAT account or the SAT customer support line. 

Things to keep in mind about “When you should take SAT?

How much prep time do you need?

Make sure you allow adequate time for study when selecting an SAT date. Many students begin the SAT preparation 2-3 months before the test.

Make a study plan if you are aware that you must put in significant study time to achieve your desired SAT score. For instance, you might want to prepare for three months for four hours each week.

Also, you should practice for the SAT before the test. It can be helpful to track your progress and determine your strengths and weaknesses by taking a practice exam at the start and end of your preparation. Prioritise taking official SAT practice exams since they will be the most representative of the real examination.

Will you take the SAT more than once?

The College Board recommends all test takers retake the SAT since, according to them, most students do better on the second attempt.

According to a 2018 paper published by the National Bureau of Economic Research, retaking the SAT was found to often lead to “substantially” higher scores, along with an increase in four-year enrollment rates.

If you get your ideal score on the first attempt, you’re done! But allow yourself time to retest before the deadline for college applications, just in case.

When are your college applications due?

You are eligible to apply to the college of your choice if you have a strong SAT score. You might find it useful when you apply for scholarships.

Regular deadlines for college decisions are often around January 1. Early action and early decision deadlines, which allow you to submit applications to colleges earlier, are often in November. Check your schools’ college application processes, as deadlines and requirements vary.

Remember that the College Board needs time to process your SAT results before sending them to colleges. After you take the SAT exam, your results are typically available online for about two weeks. The time it takes for institutions to receive your scores at that point is roughly ten days.

Recommended reading: When do SAT scores come out?

What other commitments do you have?

When selecting an SAT test date, take your obligations and responsibilities into account. Is it simpler for you to schedule study time during the summer and take the exam in August, for example? Or is a summer test date impossible due to obligations in your personal or professional life?

Additionally, consider extracurricular and academic pursuits such as AP tests.

High school may be a busy time of life. Consult with your high school guidance counselor if you’re having trouble finding time to prepare. They may assist you in creating and adhering to an SAT study schedule.


The SAT offers seven test dates throughout the year.

The College Board recommends taking the SAT for the first time in the spring of the junior year and again in the fall before college application deadlines. This allows students to have ample time for preparation and potential retakes if desired.

To ensure a preferred test date and a convenient testing center, early registration is crucial. Registering about a month before the test date increases the likelihood of securing the desired SAT date and location. Early registration also helps students avoid additional fees associated with late registration which is $30.

Things to keep in mind about When you should take the SAT? The prep time do you need, Will you take the SAT more than once, When are your college applications due and What other commitments do you have?

With proper planning, students can approach the SAT with confidence, maximizing their chances of achieving their desired scores.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

When should I take the SAT for the first time?

It is recommended to take the SAT for the first time in the spring of the junior year.

Is it too late to take SAT in senior year?

No, it’s not too late. October SAT works even for early action/ decision applications.

How many times can you retake the SAT?

Students can take the SAT as many times as they want. We recommend that they take it at least twice—in the spring of their junior year and the fall of their senior year.

Written by

Shefali Sundram

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