You may be wondering when to register for the ACT or SAT so you can send scores along with your college applications. You may also be curious about retesting. Here's the rundown of when to take (or retake) these tests and how to report scores.
The SAT is actually called a "suite of assessments" because it consists of a series of tests. Here's a breakdown of the different exams and when they are administered:
- Eighth and ninth-graders take the PSAT 8/9.
- High school sophomores typically take the PSAT 10.
- Tenth- or eleventh-graders take the PSAT National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT).
- The SAT is typically taken by eleventh- and twelfth-graders.
All tests in the suite assess language, reading, writing, and math skills.
When Are the PSAT and SAT Administered?
Schools decide individually when to administer the PSAT 8/9. Students can take the PSAT 10 only in the spring. The PSAT/NMSQT is administered nationally on the same dates, with the primary test date falling sometime in mid-October, and an additional Saturday test date and alternate test date soon afterward. The SAT is administered seven times a year across the US: August, October, November, December, March, May, and June. Participating schools can administer the test on specific dates in the fall and spring, too.
Students usually only take the PSAT once, but you can take the SAT 7 time a year. Most students take the SAT for the first time in the spring of their junior year. That way, they can retake it in time to apply for college if they want to try to improve their scores. Most colleges require scores to be submitted in November for early-decision admission, and December and January for regular decision. Check the application deadlines to be sure you submit scores on time.
The PreACT and ACT
If you want to get an idea of how well you will do on the ACT, you can take the PreACT in the tenth grade. As with the SAT, most students take the ACT in the spring of their junior year. If you want to try to improve your score, you can take it again in the fall of your senior year, since early-decision applications are usually due in November or December, and regular-decision deadlines usually fall in December or January. Check and keep track of the application deadlines for the colleges you want to attend to ensure you submit scores on time. You can take the ACT as many as 12 times.
How to Submit Scores
When you register, you can request free score reports to be submitted to the schools you're applying to. You can have additional ACT and SAT scores sent to other schools after you test, but you'll have to pay for them unless you're eligible for a fee waiver.
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