Today, it is tougher than ever to be accepted into a good college. And with increased competition at home and abroad to attend the best colleges out of high school, students are preparing, studying and taking the SAT exam earlier and earlier. Unfortunately, some students over prepare for the college boards test, or take it too early and often, and burn themselves out from the testing process and the SAT exam in general.
Of course, that pattern is counterproductive and unfortunate, but that doesn’t have to be the way that your student approaches the test.
How Many Times Should I Take the SAT Exam?
Generally speaking, most students should plan to take the SAT exam twice. The first time, in the spring of their junior year of high school, and the second time, during the fall semester of their senior year of high school, typically with the best times to take the test coming in May (junior year) and then October (in senior year).
There’s reasoning behind this schedule; in May, the SAT exam and college boards directors offer a question and answer service, where for a small fee, students can petition the testing board for an annotated copy of their answer sheet. Doing that is a phenomenal way to study and prepare for the October SAT exam, and provides a great time to prep and build knowledge about the exam itself, as well as the process of taking it, over that five month period to October.
For those who plan to take SAT Subject Tests, which are required by some colleges and programs, June is the ideal month to take them. Advanced Placement tests typically also take place in June, and scheduling your SAT Subject Tests for this month allows you to study simultaneously and cover a great deal of knowledge efficiently and effectively.
When Should I Retake the SAT Exam?
Over the summer after the May and June tests, you have the opportunity to review your scores, re-study and prepare for the October SAT exam while you apply to colleges and submit applications. This provides a great opportunity to improve your score from the May testing period, though if you do need another improvement after May and October, you have options in November, December and January for retakes, as well.
The SAT Exam Requires Serious Commitment & Focus!
Studying for the SAT exam, just like preparing for any major test or event, requires planning, structure, and commitment. It isn’t something that can be done in a single weekend, nor is it something that one can prepare for in just a week or two of cramming. After all, the SAT exam covers much of what you learned in high school for nearly four years… Do not try to wing it!
Create a Plan of Action for the SAT Exam
To truly succeed on the SAT and receive a good testing score, it’s imperative that you plan ahead, know your testing schedule, and give yourself several options to take the test. Between the May and October exams, you’ll surely have one strong score to use, while still knowing that you can re-take the test several more times in order to apply and be accepted to the college of your dreams.
Related Reading About the SAT:
SAT Exam Home Page
SAT Exam Dates (Find test dates and registration info for SAT exam)
What is the SAT – General info about the SAT Exam (Wikipedia)
SAT vs. ACT (Should You Take the ACT or the SAT?)
SAT and ACT College Entrance Exams Resource Page
College Planning Calendar for High Schoolers