What is the best time to take the SAT

Are you planning to take the SAT exam but don't know when to take it? Here is a complete guide to help you out!

SAT is an exam that requires a lot of time for preparation. This is why it becomes very important to devise a schedule to prepare for the exam as well as choose a date that will be the most congruous to your timings. For Indian students, it becomes even more crucial to plan out a proper schedule to give your SAT exam because all the preparation for applying to a university abroad is time-consuming and starts months in advance. 

Before you start preparing for the SAT, you must know all the nitty-gritty of it. Click here to read about all the details of the SAT exam.

Why appear the SAT?

SAT needs to usually be given for admission to an American institute or university. It is a standardized test for all students, whether they are Americans or not. One must score enough to meet the eligibility criteria for that university. However, the SAT scores are not the only basis on which a student is granted admission. But it is instrumental in obtaining admission to a good university. 

How often is the SAT conducted?

To begin with, you should know that the SAT exam is officially conducted six times a year, on the first Saturday of the months - May, June, October, November, and December. For the month of January, it is conducted on the third Saturday. The deadline for these test dates is at least a month prior to the test dates. It is advisable to register for this exam a few months in advance so your registration is confirmed and there is a sure seat for you to take the test. It also lets you get your desired test centre. However, one main issue that arises is the test date. Which date should you take your test on? 

How much time does it take to prepare for the SAT?

To start off, you must know that you need to give around 2 months for the preparation of SAT, which would approximately be 39 hours. You can prepare for it along with your college work or during vacation. During college, make sure that you work around a schedule wherein you have no exams close to your time of preparation for SAT. However, there will be no better time than a vacation to boost your preparation for the test. 

When should you appear on the SAT?

You must give it before your first half of 12th standard gets over. This is so that you can get your SAT results on time and you can send them/attach them to the application for the universities that you will be applying to. Although some universities do allow you to submit your SAT scores a few weeks after submission of your application, and some even allow you to submit it after months of sending your application, you must not take that risk. Steer away from that idea. You may never know whether the university will actually accept the scores, or you might miss the deadline for submitting your SAT scores, or the policies of the university may change and you may never get to even submit your application. Therefore, it’s important to not give the test at the last minute. If you plan on making multiple attempts, organize your test dates such that you know you will definitely get the results of your SAT test sometime before the application deadline of universities. 

Out of the six available dates, the best way to choose a date would be to work out a schedule and see how much time you will have for preparation before the test. So the test date could be after a vacation or during college when you know that you won’t be too tied up with a lot of work. It will be a bad idea to take the test somewhere around your college exam since that will not give you enough time for preparation. If you are sure that you will be able to excel in your SAT exam in the first attempt, it is advisable to take it in June i.e. just before your second year of junior college begins. This will give you enough preparation time (the summer holidays). If you’re not too sure about clearing the test with an excellent grade in the first attempt, it might be better to take the test in January. You could consider this as a practice test. This will help you gauge how much more preparation you need. You can then re-attempt the test in May, which leaves you with another month’s time if you want to appear again.

The last two chances you could take would be in October and November of your 12th grade. December is strictly not recommended because you could miss out on your application deadline.

Read the article carefully so you know exactly how to place your test dates and how to strategize your preparation for the SAT exam. It can be a difficult one to crack and more than one attempt is recommended to ace it. Good luck with the planning!