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David Recine

Does SAT Test Date Affect Scores?

The timing of your SAT exam is very important. And yes, the year, month, and day you take your SAT can affect your scores.

How the year of your SAT test date affects your scores

We’ll start with the most obvious part of a test date that can affect your score– the year of the date! Taking the SAT before junior year greatly increases your chances of a lower score. The SAT measures college readiness, and the further away you are from the start of college, the less ready you’ll be.

So if you take the SAT in your first or second year of high school, consider a retake in your junior or senior year. Even if you get a good score on an early try, you can almost certainly do better on a later retake. And don’t even expect a truly good score if you are taking the SAT in middle school.

How the month of your SAT test date can affect your scores

Months matter too. In general, the students I’ve worked with get lower scores when they test in the month of June. Why? Well, SAT test dates happen early in the month. And early June is a hectic time for a lot of high school students, because it’s the end of the school year.

In late May and early June, most high school students are very busy with final papers and final exams. This doesn’t leave much time for SAT prep in the days leading up to the test. The end of the school year can also get very socially busy for teens– attending end-of-the-year school sporting events, having “school’s out” parties and gatherings, etc…. This is especially true for high school seniors, who also have graduation festivities.

There may be other “trouble months” for SAT you, depending on your school year schedule or upcoming events in your personal life. Make sure you book the SAT at a time when you won’t be worn out or distracted from school projects, family obligations, your job (if you have one) and so on.

How the day of your SAT test date affects your scores

Weekends tend to be a very free time for high school students; this is why the College Board schedules exams for Saturday. Having said that, we all have weekends where we catch up with our “non school” stuff. Weekends are a time for personal projects, family life, socializing, and part-time jobs.

If you are the kind of person who has full, busy weekends, the SAT’s Saturday test dates put your SAT score at risk. Be sure to anticipate this Saturday scheduling well in advance, so you can make sure the Saturday of your SAT is minimally busy. The same goes for the days leading up to it. Arrange your schedule in such a way that you can continue studying for the exam all the way up to the Friday before.

About David Recine

David is a test prep expert at Magoosh. He has a Bachelor of Social Work from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and a Masters in Teaching English to Speakers of other Languages from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. He has been teaching K-12, University, and adult education classes since 2007 and has worked with students from every continent. Currently, David lives in a small town in the American Upper Midwest. When he’s not teaching or writing, David studies Korean, plays with his son, and takes road trips to Minneapolis to get a taste of city life. Follow David on Google+ and Twitter!

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