SAT Test Dates 2020: Strategizing Your Sittings

Padya Paramita

SAT Test Dates 2020: Strategizing Your Sittings

In the years leading up to your junior year of high school, you’ve probably heard about how you have to take the SAT at some point in order to apply to colleges. Now, the dreaded year has finally arrived. Whether you’ve been preparing for months or you’re gearing up with your prep books now, you first need to know the exact SAT test dates 2020.

Understandably, the most effective way to prepare for the SAT is to practice. You’ll need to carefully organize yourself to make sure you have ample time to learn, practice, and register. To help guide you through the next few months, I’ve outlined the upcoming SAT test dates 2020, the timeline you should be looking at for preparing and taking the exam, as well as some strategies to ensure that you maximize your efforts during testing and the broader college admissions process. 

SAT Test Dates 2020

The following table features the schedule for SAT test dates 2020 that College Board has announced so far. Make note of the date when you believe you’ll be ready to sit for the exam, as well as the registration deadline to ensure that you aren’t late. 

SAT Test Date Registration Deadline Late Registration Deadline Subject Tests Offered?
March 14, 2020 February 14, 2020 February 25, 2020 (for mailed registrations); March 3, 2020 (for registrations made online or by phone) No
May 2, 2020 April 3, 2020 April 14, 2020 (for mailed registrations); April 21, 2020 (for registrations made online or by phone) Yes
June 6, 2020 May 8, 2020 May 19, 2020 (for mailed registrations); May 27, 2020 (for registrations made online or by phone) Yes
August 29, 2020 TBA TBA Yes
October 3, 2020 TBA TBA Yes
November 7, 2020 TBA TBA Yes
December 5, 2020 TBA TBA Yes

If you miss a registration deadline, the late registration date exists to still allow you a window of time (with a late fee of $29 in addition to the regular registration fee of $49.50!) to ensure that you’re set to take the test for that particular sitting. But if you miss the second deadline, even though you had been well-prepared, your planned preparations will have been in vain and you’ll need to review all the material again for the next date. So, you should aim to have everything cleared up by the regular registration date while you start studying. 

Timeline for Taking the SAT

Ideally, you should first take the SAT at some point during your junior year of high school. You might want to aim for as early as the fall semester of 11th grade, around the August or October test dates while there isn’t an overwhelming amount of pressure on you. During your senior year, you’ll be busy with a long list of things that you need to get done for your college applications such as filling out your Activities List, perfecting your personal statement, and drafting all your supplemental essays. With so much to get done, the last thing you want is also to be studying for the SAT. If not by the fall, then you absolutely should sit for the SAT at least once in March, May, or June of your junior year.

Of course, it’s understandable if things don’t go according to plan and you need to retake the SAT in the fall of your senior year. If this is the case, it’s okay - as long as you can still take it before you’re required to submit scores to colleges. But for such circumstances, you need to make sure you take advantage of chunks of free time. For example, you could block off a couple of hours every day to study over the summer. If you’ve got an internship, use the evenings to your advantage. If you’re attending a summer program, see whether you’d be able to study for a couple of weeks before or after the program dates. Once school starts, you’ll have your hands full with homework and extracurriculars, so it’s best to get SAT preparation under control while you have plenty of time.

Strategies for Deciding Your 2020 SAT Test Dates

Think About the Number of Sittings 

As you plan for the SAT test dates 2020, you need to remember that admissions officers can see your total number of SAT sittings. And while it’s more than okay to retake the exam if you didn’t score as high as you’d hoped for the first time, you need to draw the line somewhere. You could stretch up to three, but that’s where you should stop. A score of 1550 after five SAT sittings and an excessive amount of super scoring will not add a boost to your application. So, when thinking about the dates that you can potentially take the SAT, don’t plan to sit for the test every single time in 2020. Make informed choices about when you want to take it for a final time.

Consider Your Application Deadlines 

Look through the SAT test dates 2020 and carefully consider your school list to see when test scores are due. If you’re applying in a school’s early action or early decision round and you plan on retaking the SAT at the end of the year, then you must finish taking the test by November. (For regular decision deadlines, you should have all your scores by December). You need to check the “dates and deadlines” section on each college’s website to ensure that you’re registered for the right test date. A few schools will allow you to send a December SAT score and still apply early, but it depends entirely on the college policy, so don’t take the final possible 2020 date for granted when it comes to your early school. 

Don’t Forget Other Parts of Your Application 

While your SAT results are undoubtedly important, remember that your score only makes up one part of your application. As you strategize around the SAT test dates 2020, you must also think about striving for leadership in your extracurriculars, going over multiple drafts of your personal statement, and keeping your grades at a consistently high level. Even though SAT results do matter, admissions officers understand that it’s the product of one particular test date. Also remember that if you lack impressive extracurriculars or have a poor GPA, a strong SAT score won’t get you too far. Plus, lots of students achieve good SAT scores, so you must find other ways to stand out. Don’t spend all of your time studying for the SAT and disregarding other important elements that could help your profile.

If it’s your first time taking the SAT, it can be quite nerve-wracking. Choose one of the SAT test dates 2020 that enables you to optimize your preparation time. If you’re retaking it, make sure you can still send scores to your colleges on time. Either way, register in a punctual manner and prepare in a way that still leaves you plenty of time to develop more distinguishable parts of your college application profile. Good luck!

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