Knowing the 2015- 2016 SAT Test schedule is an important first step in the test taking process. Before you race over to the College Board's website to register for the SAT exam, make sure to read my test-taking tips below before you register for the actual exam.
SAT Test Dates
October 10, 2015
November 8, 2015
December 6, 2015
January 23, 2016
March 5, 2016 (New SAT)
May 7, 2016 (New SAT)
June 4, 2016 (New SAT)
September 3, 2015
October 9, 2015
November 5, 2015
December 28, 2015
February, 5 2016
April 8, 2016
May 5, 2016
Note: The SAT test dates listed above are for test takers in the United States. If you plan to take the SAT outside of the United States, be sure to check the exact SAT Test Dates for international SAT testing.
Use the 2015 SAT Test Schedule above to develop your individualized test plan. But make sure to read the information below to avoid the "Top 5 Most Common Mistakes" that students make when registering for the SAT.
Don't get me wrong. I know that every student (and parent) dreams about taking the SAT once, getting a great score, and being done with it. However, most students need to test 2-3 times to achieve their best score. Many are nervous taking the test for the first time and need a second test to feel more confident.
Also, many college will combine section scores from multiple test sittings (this is known as a "superscore"), so the odds are that when you take the test multiple times, your combined highest scores will be much higher than a single sitting. If you only take the test once and your competition takes it several times, you are putting yourself in a disadvantage.
Sometimes students or parents will tell me that a student is signed up to take a "real" SAT as a "test run", just to see what happens. But if a student has not prepared for the test, I know what will happen. The student will not achieve a very good score. Why is this so bad, especially since I just said above that a student should take the test multiple times?
First, the College Board has a score reporting policy in which the colleges, not the students, choose the type of score report. Many colleges use an "All Score" report, which means that low score might get sent to the college. Most schools will use the best scores for admission, but why send a score if you know it might not be so great?
Second, there are plenty of really good and less expensive options for getting a diagnostic score. So, play it safe and take the SAT only if you feel prepared.
When you sign up to take the test using the SAT Test Schedule, you will have the option to report the score from that test sitting to four colleges for free. Here's the problem. You do not know yet how you will do on that test, so do you want to automatically have scores sent to colleges? But I get it. You want to save some money because sending test reports later can get expensive. So here is what I tell my clients:
Pick four "back up" colleges, the ones that you are pretty sure you will be accepted, and put those on the "free" report list. And then if you take it again, put those same colleges down again (remember the colleges will only receive the scores from that particular sitting). That way, you get some free reports but protect yourself from seining potentially lower scores to more selective colleges.
Well, this seems pretty obvious, but I see it all of the time. Every year, two weeks before the October SAT, I get a ton of phone calls from panicked parents of Seniors, wanting to cram for the SAT, but by then, it is too late to really make a difference in the score. But how early should you start?
Well, let's think about this. If you want to build into your SAT test schedule the opportunity to take at least 2-3 tests, and you need at least 8-10 weeks before the first test to get prepared, then you need about six months head start. For incoming juniors, I typically recommend that the first test be taken in December, then January, then March. If one of those dates does not work, then the student still has May or June and avoids taking the test his or her senior year.
Before I develop a SAT test schedule, I make sure I have diagnostic tests for both the SAT and ACT. Typically, a student will have a PSAT score, which I feel is an accurate reflection of student ability, or can take a practice test from some of the books I recommend. But often I need the student to take an ACT diagnostic test. I wrote a pretty lengthy article on how to get an accurate diagnostic ACT score, so I will just say, that before you invest too much time or resources in the SAT, make sure you know if the ACT might be a good fit.
If you have already taken the SAT or ACT and you would like to compare the two test scores, please read "How to convert my ACT score into SAT score equivalent".
Before you register for the SAT, make sure to read my "SAT Registration: An Expert's Guide", which contains several tips for making sure that you have the best possible experience on the testing day. Learn why colleges are not always the best place to take an exam and what to do if you miss the registration deadline.
Did you know that not all colleges require students to submit SAT or ACT scores to be admitted to college? If you are a strong student, with a GPA of 3.0 or higher, you may be surprised to learn that many colleges, and really good colleges, have become "test-optional". Too many parents and students dismiss "test-optional" as a possible route to college admission. But before you do that, find out more about this growing, "student-friendly" trend in college admission.