Tips for Test Taking: When to Schedule ACT and SAT Tests

Last Updated on May 26, 2023

Close up of pencil on answer sheet for college entrance exam.
The SAT and the ACT are standardized college admission tests. The former assesses college readiness by testing mathematical reasoning, writing skills, and critical reading, whereas, latter is an achievement test measuring what a student has learned in the school.If you are dreading the approach of the test season and are confused when to schedule it, look no further. We have compiled some tips for test taking that will help you figure out the best time for planning your SAT and ACT.

Tips for Test Taking for Juniors

During your junior year, you should plan to take the SAT or ACT at least once by the spring. You should also plan to attempt SAT subject tests such as World History, Chemistry, Physics, or Biology E/M as soon as possible after completing the course in the subject. While, it’s not necessary to take SAT or ACT in your junior year, it’s definitely a good idea as it leaves you plenty of time for a second try just in case you are not happy with your score. Moreover, if you are looking forward to apply early to any colleges, having strong test scores in hand by the end of your junior year will make you a competitive applicant.

Tips for Test Taking for Seniors

Scheduling the tests during your senior year can be complicated because there are several factors to be considered. For instance, if you are applying for an early decision or to a highly competitive college, the beginning of the senior year is the best time to attempt. Keep in mind that November and December test scores are too late for consideration with most early application programs. So, the fall of your senior year that is September for ACT and October for SAT is your last chance to ace the test.

Registration for SAT and ACT

The SAT is offered 7 times in a year nationally in October, November, December, January, March, May, and June, whereas, ACT is offered 5 times in a year nationally in September October, December, April, and June. It is also offered in February is select cities. Registration deadlines fall approximately 5 weeks before each test date. To get registration materials, contact your school’s guidance counselor. To register online for the SAT test visit the College Board's U.S. SAT registration page. For the U.S. ACT Test dates and registration please visit the ACT, Inc.'s registration page.

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