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The summer months are all about relaxing and recharging. That includes sleeping late and cold iced tea under a hot sun (wearing adequate sunscreen!) and disconnecting from the world of the school year. But it also means having a moment to take a look at next year’s milestones and goals without the busyness of competing responsibilities. Summer is a great time for making a test plan to be sure that testing dates don’t sneak up when the school year is back in full swing.
Grab a delicious snack, pop open your Google calendar, and let’s take a leisurely stroll through some important dates related to the SAT and ACT in the upcoming school year.
When should the SAT and/or ACT scores be ready to send to colleges?
Working backwards, we can start with the month when you’d like to have your scores in hand (or email inbox). This will vary for students in different grades, but ultimately students will want their scores before finalizing their college lists (spring of junior year/fall of senior year) and well before they submit their applications (November – January of senior year).
When should students take the SAT and/or ACT?
Our advice is to identify the month by which students need their scores, and then count one to three months back to establish when they should take their last-of-the-school-year SAT or ACT (since scores usually take two to four weeks to become available). Once a student has identified their testing month, they can look at the schedule of tests for the 2022-2023 school year, which thankfully are released well in advance.
Let’s say that Katherine is enjoying the summer before her junior year while also thinking ahead toward her busy school year and the upcoming college application process. Katherine knows that it’s in her best interest to have her SAT and/or ACT scores in hand well before finalizing her college list next spring/early fall. By knowing where she falls in the range of accepted students’ test scores, Katherine will be better poised to create a balanced list of safety, possible, and reach colleges. To stay on track and enjoy the college application process (rather than feeling stressed and behind), Katherine decides that her testing month will be March 2023.
With her testing month in mind, Katherine should check the upcoming test dates.
Here is the schedule of SATs for the 2022-2023 school year:
|SAT Test Date||Registration Deadline|
|August 27, 2022||July 29, 2022|
|October 1, 2022||September 2, 2022|
|November 5, 2022||October 7, 2022|
|December 3, 2022||November 3, 2022|
|March 11, 2023||February 10, 2023|
|May 6, 2023||April 7, 2023|
|June 3, 2023||May 4, 2023|
Here is the schedule of ACTs for the 2022-2023 school year:
|ACT Test Date||Registration Deadline|
|September 10, 2022||August 5, 2022|
|October 22, 2022||September 16, 2022|
|December 10, 2022||November 4, 2022|
|February 11, 2023||January 6, 2023|
|April 15, 2023||March 10, 2023|
|June 10, 2023||May 5, 2023|
|July 15, 2023||June 16, 2023|
Katherine notes that although she planned to take the ACT in March, it won’t be offered that month (each test not being offered every month is a great reason to look at test dates early). She will plan to take the February 11, 2023 ACT.
What about registration?
Registration deadlines are about a month before the test date, and it’s an important date for students to add to their calendars. Trying to register after the deadline may result in a $30-$35 late fee (yikes!) or missing the test entirely (double yikes!).
To make sure not to miss her registration deadline, Katherine should set a reminder for the deadline for her February test (January 6, 2023) and also for about a week beforehand, to warn her that the date is upcoming.
When should students fit in test prep?
Since the SAT is a reasoning test with no need to memorize material, students can take a prep course whenever it fits into their schedule, rather than cramming a class in just before their test.
While reviewing at home or taking The Answer Class can be done at any point before an SAT or ACT, we recommend that students attend a prep class within six months of when they plan to take the test. Some students prefer to take a class at their home high school, but others may prioritize the timing of the class and schedule a class at a different high school or participate in one of our many live, virtual classes.
Katherine may choose to schedule a prep class sometime in January to have enough time to review and practice the strategies learned in class. Or, she may prefer to register for a course in December to give herself time during winter break to perfect her testing skills.
How should students plan to take a test more than once?
Working backwards is still a helpful strategy for students looking to take the SAT or the ACT more than once during a school year – which most students do. Once a student decides on their testing month, they can count back about three months and select an additional test date. The time between tests will allow for about a month to receive scores and two months for review and practice.
If Katherine decided that she wanted to try the ACT before her February deadline, she might look at taking the test on the October 22, 2022 test date and register for one of the prep classes being held this summer. She will receive her scores by late November and still have time to review before her February test.
Students should also be sure that they’re allowing time for breaks and holidays in their school year schedule to ensure that they’re not feeling burnt out by the time they need to take one of these important tests!
We hope that all of our students and families have a fantastic summer break, and we encourage everyone to take time to recharge and be kind to themselves.