SAT Registration: Tips for the Test 

Over the years, I have answered many questions about SAT registration, mainly because students and parents sign-up for the exam before having all of the facts. So, I have some important tips for students. Please read everything below before you sign-up for the exam. Make sure to read about the upcoming changes to the SAT.

Important SAT Registration Tips

Tip #1: Select location carefully

It might seem odd, but test at the local high school (rather than a college). Why? Because a college does not have a strong incentive to make the testing location superb (whereas the high school wants students, especially their own, to do well). At colleges, noise complaints are more common from competing events (like Homecoming, Alumni weekends, etc) and desk size can be smaller, especially in auditorium-style classrooms. I believe that the testing sites and proctors are becoming less efficient and less sensitive to the needs of students (at least in southern California). 

The one exception to this rule would be if a student would have to drive 45 minutes longer to avoid the college location. For some students, a college location may be the only option. Also, if you take the SAT test at a location and did not feel comfortable, try a different one the next time.

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SAT Dates 2015-2016

SAT Test Dates

August 26, 2017

October 7, 2017

November 4, 2017

December 2, 2017

March 10, 2018

May 5, 2018

June 2, 2018

**Register By:            

July 28, 2017

September 8, 2017

October 5, 2017 

November 2, 2017

February 9, 2018

April 6, 2018

May 13, 2018

**The date range includes, regular registration. College Board does allow late registration (typically 2-3 weeks after official deadline). To avoid any extra fees, register BEFORE the regular deadline date. 

Tip #2: Register early!

In order to get the best testing location and pay the lowest fee, plan to register at least 6-8 weeks before the actual exam. Typically late registration will kick in about a month before the actual exam. . If you are taking the SAT exam outside the United States, click here for International SAT Registration Dates 2013-2014.

Tip #3: Pay for a Copy of Test with Answers

Although the College Board charges an extra fee for this service, it is REALLY a great tool for analyzing the test results. It is the only way to find out which questions were actually missed on the exam. The College Board gives two options: "Question-and-Answer Service (QAS) and "Student Answer Service" (SAS). One of those options is available for every SAT exam, but if you have the option, always choose "Question-and-Answer Service" (which is typically offered for the October, January and May exams). The fee for this service is approximately $13-$18 per SAT test. The only time I do not recommend ordering the report is if the student does NOT plan to take the SAT again. 

Tip #4: Add "Safety" Schools for Test Reports

When registering for the SAT test, a student can send free test reports to the chosen colleges. Is this a good idea? What it means is that those colleges will automatically be sent your test scores. If you are a senior and you know for sure that you will be sending those results, it is not a problem. If, however, you are taking the SAT test for the first time, you may not want to automatically send scores, especially to the more selective colleges. Although it costs a little more to send those test scores later, you may do better on a later exam or take the ACT, and, in that case, it may be best to hide the scores.

If you want to take advantage of the free test reports, students should submit the names of the "safety" schools (or the ones with the lowest testing averages).That way, if you later perform better on the test, you have not automatically sent the previous (and lower) test scores to the more selective colleges.

Tip #5: Get on the Waitlist

Even though I just said to register early, not everyone does. If you miss the late SAT registration deadline, remember that the SAT registration will allow students to be added to an on-line waitlist. Stand-by testing is not permitted. The College Board no longers allows students to go stand-by (so you cannot just show up on the test date without prior registration or adding name to the wait list).

There are several rules surrounding adding your name to a waitlist, so if you did miss the deadline, please read details about Waitlist Status and the SAT Test.

Worried you do not have a good score on the ACT or SAT? Don't forget to read about colleges and universities that offer test-optional admissions (that's right, these schools do not require students to take the ACT or SAT exams to be admitted).