Prepare now for the SAT

By Lwilliams

Are you starting to think about applying to college? One thing that's probably on your to-do list is deciding whether you will take the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), ACT or both. While there are a few differences in how each exam is administered and the content covered, most colleges will accept either exam for admissions. In fact, some colleges will even allow you to submit a ‘super score’ for your SAT. This lets you report the top score in each section of the exam (reading, math, and writing) from all the tests you have completed, but it’s a good idea to review each college’s admissions requirements to determine which score (or scores) will be accepted. Still unsure of what to do to prepare for your first SAT exam? Don't worry, we're here to help!

When to Take the Exam

If you really excel in a particular subject, you may want to consider also taking the SAT Subject Test. Just don't wait too long to take it. Schedule the exam shortly after completing the corresponding course in high school, as you’ll remember more of the content. For the language tests, consider waiting until you have completed at least two years.  If you are a high school junior, you should take the regular SAT in the fall or early spring, as this will give you time to review and prepare for additional exams, if needed. In addition, taking the SAT your junior year may open doors to potential scholarships or spark interest from colleges that may not have been on your radar. During your last year of high school, you should plan to take the exam early in the fall to ensure your scores are available when applying to colleges. The test dates and registration deadlines for this school year are as follows:



October 11, 2014

September 12, 2014

November 8, 2014

October 9, 2014

December 6, 2014

November 6, 2014

January 24, 2015

December 29, 2014

March 14, 2015

February 13, 2015

May 2, 2015

April 6, 2015

June 6, 2015

May 8, 2015

You will need to register for the exam about a month prior to avoid paying a $28 late registration fee, so plan ahead and sign up early on the SAT website. You can send your scores to up to four colleges for free, so have a list of your top choices ready when you register. If you wish to send your scores to more than four schools, there is an $11.25 fee for each additional report. All fees, including your registration fee, are non-refundable.

What to Bring

passing the SAT

Be sure to review the list of acceptable identification cards required for admittance to the exam. Most students bring a state-issued driver’s license or a school ID, but you may also use your passport and other approved forms for entry.  In addition to your ID, you should also bring the following items:

Remember to leave your cell phone, iPod, MP3 players, laptops and recording devices at home, as these are not permitted in the testing area.

Where to Get Help

If this is the first time you are taking the exam, you might want to check out some of the articles and test preparation resources available on the Internet. Here are a few to get you started:

Before you register for the SAT, talk to your guidance counselor to see if you may qualify for a fee waiver. Students who are already participating in the free or reduced lunch program at school are eligible to take the exam at no cost, as well as those who meet other low-income guidelines. If you qualify, you can take up to four exams for free and also send additional score reports at no cost. You will also be eligible to waive up to four college application fees, which could potentially save you quite a bit of money!