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Chris Lele

SAT Test Dates: Your Best Test Date (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)

You might think that signing up for the SAT is a simple matter. Just choose from a bunch of SAT test dates, book a spot, and take the test.

But did you know this: the SAT test date you pick might have a major impact on your score.

How SAT Test Dates Influence Scores

I’m not talking about differences in difficulty levels of different tests (there is a technique called “equating”, which balances out any differences between SATs). Instead, I’m talking about picking an SAT test date that is best given your situation—the prior commitments you have in your life, the amount of time you’ll be able to prep, and that “sweet spot”, when all that hard work comes together on the SAT Saturday morning when you’re well rested and ready to do your best.

So here we are to give you comprehensive, up-to-date information about SAT test dates. We’ll also let you know other important SAT deadlines (such as Ivy League application deadlines) so that you can make the most informed decision.

SAT Test Dates: A Visual Aid

Need a handy, visual reminder of upcoming SAT test dates for your kitchen fridge, office bulletin board, school hallways, whatever? We’ve got you covered on that as well. Print out and share our Upcoming SAT Test Dates Infographic PDF!!

Click the image to open and print the SAT Test Dates PDF.
SAT Test Dates and Deadlines 2016 2017 Magoosh


Here’s what else you’re going to learn in this post:

  • Upcoming SAT test dates for the next several years (for last minute or waaaay advanced planning)
  • Remaining 2016-2017 SAT Test Dates
  • 2017-2018 SAT Test Dates
  • 2018-2019 SAT Test Dates
  • 2019-2020 SAT Test Dates
  • The three most important factors in choosing the best SAT test date for you
  • The best test date to retake the SAT
  • When you should take the SAT if you’re planning on early, regular or rolling admissions
  • When you should take the SAT if you’re planning on applying to a TOP university
  • How to plan the perfect test dates for SAT Subject Tests (SAT II tests)
    ALSO! There is a new SAT test date in 2017. Did you know that?! And it might just come at an opportune time for you, depending on when your school year is over (more on that below). But there’s also a test date that the College Board will phase out after 2017…

    Upcoming SAT Test Dates

    Test DateRegistration DeadlineLate Registration DeadlineScores Released
    January 21, 2017December 21, 2016 January 3, 2017 (by mail)/January 10, 2017 (online or by phone)February 23, 2017
    March 11, 2017February 10, 2017February 21, 2017 (by mail)/February 28, 2017 (online or by phone)April 13, 2017
    May 6, 2017April 7, 2017April 18, 2017 (by mail)/April 25, 2017 (online or by phone)June 8, 2017
    June 3, 2017May 9, 2017May 16, 2017 (by mail)/May 24 (online or by phone)July 12, 2017

    We’ll update this as soon as we get more official information from the College Board.

    You might be looking a little bit further ahead. Don’t worry: we’ve got you covered!

    2017-2018 SAT Test Dates

    SAT Date
    August 26, 2017
    October 7, 2017
    November 4, 2017
    December 2, 2017
    March 10, 2018
    May 5, 2018
    June 2, 2018

    (Note the August test date above! This is huge! For the first time, the College Board will administer the SAT during the month of August. An SAT right at the end of summer, when you are in SAT mode–assuming you’ve taken an SAT prep class during this time. Should you take the new August SAT? )

    Also, notice that, after 2017, the College Board will no longer offer the January test. What does this mean for you as test takers? Getting retakes in under the wire is no longer an option. For regular admission candidates, December will be the last test date available.

    Remember how I told you that this will be a comprehensive post? Well, check it out: we got you covered all the way into 2020. That’s right, sophomores–I’m talking to you!

    SAT Test Dates 2018-2020

    SAT Date
    August 25, 2018
    October 6, 2018
    November 3, 2018
    December 1, 2018
    March 9, 2019
    May 4, 2019
    June 1, 2019
    August 24, 2019
    October 5, 2019
    November 2, 2019
    December 7, 2019
    March 7, 2020
    May 2, 2020
    June 6, 2020

    That’s about as much as the College Board will give us (though that should suffice, assuming you’re not in the 8th grade). If you notice, there’s a pattern that I doubt the College Board will deviate from any time soon: from past SAT test dates, we can tell that the first SAT after the summer is in the first week of October. The next SAT is in the first week of November. And the last SAT of the year will be in the first week of December.

    SAT test dates this week -Magoosh

    A Guide to Finding Your Best SAT Test Date

    The above are just a bunch of dates. They’re important, but really this post is all about you and when your best date is. Here, we have a bunch of FAQs about SAT test dates. But if for some reason we still don’t have you covered, you know the drill: leave a comment below and we’ll get back to you!

    How should I choose my SAT test date?

    Here are the three big things you want to consider:

    What month is my schedule the least full?

    You want one month of solid SAT prep. If that’s simply not possible, then commit yourself to at least two weeks of, at minimum, 90 minutes a day SAT prepping. If you play a sport and you know you have many meets/games, you might consider choosing another SAT test date. Are you taking a long vacation during summer break? Maybe the August test date isn’t right for you. Finding a time when you can commit to an SAT study schedule is most important.

    When are the application deadlines for the schools I’m looking to apply to?

    Two things: Make sure scores are out before college application deadlines. Not so obviously: Give yourself room for a retake before applications are due. Planning to take the test just once is not strategizing; it’s gambling.

    Near the test date, are there any other important tests that I have to take, whether subject tests, AP tests, or midterms/finals?

    Maybe it’s the dead of winter; you aren’t leaving the country and the only extracurricular activity you plan on is eating chocolate ice cream and Netflix binging. But if you have another huge test coming up, don’t double book with the SAT, unless the following months will be even more busy and/or you are trying to meet an application deadline.

    Which SAT should I take for acceptance into top universities (the Ivy League, University of California)?

    The Ivy League

    The Ivies have January 1 as their regular decision deadline, generally speaking, and early action or early decision deadlines on November 1. This means you can take the SAT as late as October for early decision/action (although it’s better if you take it earlier) and as late as November SAT for regular decision. For more information on why Ivy League schools coordinate their timing, check out this page from Cornell.

    University of California System

    Here’s the thing: the deadline is November 30th, which means you can technically take the SAT the first week of November. Scores will be out three weeks later and you can sneak them in just in time–but if those scores take longer to arrive, watch out! October’s your better bet.

    But that shouldn’t be your only strategy.

    If you haven’t already finished your SAT testing Junior year, sign up for both the October test and the November test. Then, if you do well on the October test (you’ll find out towards the end of October), you might still be able to cancel your November test date. If not, you can go to the November test with a cushion, knowing that even if you don’t do well you can just use your October scores.

    And if you don’t do well on the October test, you at least have the November test to do your best.

    Which test date should I take for Early Action? Early Decision? Regular Decision? Rolling Admissions?

    The answer all depends on the colleges you are looking to get into. So do your homework: find out the deadlines for each and then give yourself a two-month cushion. That way you can retake the test if need be.

    In general, Early Decision and Early Action deadlines tend to be between Nov. 1st and Dec. 15th; regular admissions deadlines tend to be between Jan. 1st and Feb. 15th, and rolling anytime (though, if possible, it’s always possible to apply as early as you can). Again, check with the colleges you are interested in, just in case their deadlines are slightly different from the ones listed above.

    But remember: no more January test! You’ll have to have your ducks in a row well before then.

    When is the earliest test day I should even consider taking the SAT?

    There was this show back in the early 90’s — Doogie Howser, starring Neil Patrick Harris — about this super whiz kid who gets a perfect score on his SAT and then goes on to become a doctor at age 12. Most of us are not Doogie Howser, and we recommend against taking the SAT in the 5th grade. In fact, even by freshman year most students haven’t taken the classes that would adequately prepare them for the SAT. After all, how many have been in math classes dealing with higher-level polynomials or English classes in which they’ve read any of the Bronte sisters?

    But…I feel like I’m ready to take the SAT!

    If you have taken advanced classes (Algebra 2, English Honors, or are simply an incorrigible bookworm) and wouldn’t mind seeing just how well you can do on the SAT, taking the SAT as a sophomore might not be a bad idea. But you should wait to take the PSAT first. That score will give you a good idea of how you’d do on the actual SAT. If your score is near the top 10%–you might also want to take one of the full-length College Board practice tests–then perhaps getting the SAT out of the way isn’t a bad idea.

    What is the BEST SAT test date?

    The answer to this question depends, really, on the answer to all of the other questions here. Or, as I’ve said throughout the post: it all depends on you.

    The best SAT date will depend on whatever time you will be able to commit to prepping seriously for at least one month straight. It will be well in time before school deadlines, so that you can retake the test, if necessary. It will likely NOT be when you have other tests, either finals, APs or SAT subject tests. Since ACT test dates typically fall on different months than SAT dates, you can study for both the SAT and ACT back to back–given you have enough bandwidth to prep for two months straight.

    How soon after my SAT test date will I get my scores?

    Traditionally, the answer has been about 2.5 weeks. With the debut of the revised test in 2016, things changed. For the March 2016 test, scores weren’t out until May 10th, over two months after the test debuted.

    Going forward, we are not going to have to wait that long–though students will still have to wait around five weeks after taking the test to get their scores in 2017.

    Only time will tell whether students will eventually get their scores back sooner—which would be particularly crucial for students taking the SAT close to the college deadlines.

    So…how many SAT test dates should I plan for?

    This is a terribly difficult question to answer because it depends on a few variables:

    • The school itself. Some schools don’t mind if you go into SAT junkie mode, taking 10 tests. They only want your best scores. Others — understandably — are wary of such desperation, and might be wondering why you aren’t doing much else with your time besides SAT prep.
    • On the other side of the equation, there are some who believe that taking test more than twice is a mortal sin. The reality is most schools won’t mind if you take the test as many as four times, as long as those times are sufficiently spaced out and there is general improvement.

    How early should I retake the SAT?

    With all that said, it doesn’t mean you should plan on four test dates! You should, though, plan on at least two, giving yourself a few months break in between. The reasoning here is that SAT test taking is a skill that you’ll hone with practice. Taking a month or two off and then prepping for another month before the retake will ensure that those skills don’t become too rusty. (See: How Many Times Should a Student Take the SAT?)

    Evaluating Your Performance

    If things don’t go well on the SAT retake, reassess what’s going on. Did you not have enough time to prep? Were you using a system that isn’t working for you? (if online alone isn’t cutting it, you might want a tutor). Do you have test anxiety? (Check out our advice for handling SAT test anxiety.).

    Step Away for a While

    If you can justify retaking the test again in a few months, then by all means do so. But if you are unsure about whether you should retake the SAT, or if you are still a junior, wait. Allow yourself time away from the test. Granted, coming back to it six months later will mean you are a little rusty. But give yourself six weeks to get up to speed. You might notice that your brain has become more adept at the test and you are able to score higher than during your initial forays.

    What are the dates for SAT Subject Tests (SAT 2 Tests)?

    SAT Subject Test Dates, 2017-2020
    January 21, 2017
    May 6, 2017
    June 3, 2017
    August 26, 2017
    October 7, 2017
    November 4, 2017
    December 2, 2017
    May 5, 2018
    June 2, 2018
    August 25, 2018
    October 6, 2018
    November 3, 2018
    December 1, 2018
    May 4, 2019
    June 1, 2019
    August 24, 2019
    October 5, 2019
    November 2, 2019
    December 7, 2019
    May 2, 2020
    June 6, 2020

    You might have noticed that those are the EXACT same dates as the actual SAT, with the exception of March. There are no subject tests offered in March.

    So if you have multiple SAT subject tests in the hopper, make sure not only to space these out but to also leave plenty of room for the main SAT test as well.

    Finally, note that not all subjects are offered on all test dates, so make sure to double-check with the College Board before registering.

    What about PSAT test dates?

    These are the test dates for the PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10 test in 2017:

    Regular Test DayWednesday, October 11, 2017
    Saturday Test DaySaturday, October 14, 2017
    Alternate Test dayWednesday, October 25, 2017

    Mid-December: Online scores available

    PSAT 8/9 dates for 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 school years:

    This is a little different from the format for PSAT/NMSQT and PSAT 10. For PSAT 8/9, schools determine when they’ll administer the test. There options are as follows:

    A date between September 16th, 2016 and January 27th, 2017, or February 21st and April 14th, 2017. For the 2017-2018 school year, this will shift to a date between September 25, 2017 and January 26, 2018, or February 26 to April 27, 2018.

    What do I need to know about SAT test dates and locations?

    Make sure to register for the SAT as early as possible. When you go to the College Board site, you’ll be allowed to choose from a few locations, depending on your area. Choose the location that is close to you, has convenient parking, and you can get to easily without having to depend on someone to get you there test day.

    What about this new August SAT test date I keep hearing about? Who should take the summer SAT?

    Many students spend the summers taking SAT cram courses. Sure, this might be a masochistic way to spend those warm, idle months. But if you are one of these plucky souls, then you stand to benefit from the new August SAT test date, which will debut later in 2017.

    Even if you study on your own, you, too, should jump all over this test date. The logic is your SAT skills will start to grow slack as soon as September starts and you are immersed in the daily grind of a new school year. I’ve seen students who were at the 1400 mark on the old test in August, not sign up for SAT class September extensions. More often than not, their scores drop quite a bit. Now, however, you can take the SAT when you are at the top of your game!

    What happens if my SAT test date is postponed?

    This is rare. But should it happen, College Board should typically give you the next available date. Or, as in the case of February 2016, if a snowstorm or other event closes a bunch of testing centers, the College Board may offer a makeup SAT test date. If it doesn’t, don’t just sign up for the next date. Make sure that it fits in with your schedule.

    What happens if I have to reschedule my SAT test date?

    You’ll have to pay $28. But if you have a very good reason for rescheduling the SAT, then try not to make that fee the final judge.

    I’m an international student. What do I need to know about international SAT test dates?

    The international test dates are the same as the standard test dates outlined above. If you’ve heard otherwise, then google [home country][SAT test dates]. But to the best of our knowledge, this shouldn’t be the case.

    For SAT subject tests the picture is a little different, see the official College Board international SAT Subject Test charts for which subject tests are offered when for international students.

    Whew! Great job for sticking with us! If you have more questions about SAT test dates, let us know in the comments. And if you’re all fired up and ready to start prepping for your best SAT test date, well, we can help with online Magoosh SAT Prep.

    Improve your SAT or ACT score, guaranteed. Start your 1 Week Free Trial of Magoosh SAT Prep or your 1 Week Free Trial of Magoosh ACT Prep today!

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    About Chris Lele

    Chris Lele is the GRE and SAT Curriculum Manager (and vocabulary wizard) at Magoosh Online Test Prep. In his time at Magoosh, he has inspired countless students across the globe, turning what is otherwise a daunting experience into an opportunity for learning, growth, and fun. Some of his students have even gone on to get near perfect scores. Chris is also very popular on the internet. His GRE channel on YouTube has over 10 million views. You can read Chris's awesome blog posts on the Magoosh GRE blog and High School blog! You can follow him on Twitter and Facebook!

    2 Responses to “SAT Test Dates: Your Best Test Date (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020)”

    1. Laura says:


      are the dates listed above for Melbourne? Victoria? Australia?
      Thank you Laura

      • Magoosh Test Prep Expert Magoosh Test Prep Expert says:

        Hi Laura,

        The international calendar is identical, except I believe the March dates are not offered internationally. 🙂

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