SAT test location may be a detail you overlook when going through the process of preparation. And although it seems unimportant, it can actually make a big difference in your score. Even if you know all of the material and feel well practiced, you could still get a low score if you become stressed out by your surroundings on test day. So analyze all of your test location options and make sure you are picking the best one for you. There’s no reason why you should let this arbitrary factor lower your score.
Where is the SAT offered?
The test is offered seven times a year in the US and six times a year internationally. The College Board can help you find the test centers closest to you. You can also find these test centers when you register for the SAT. Make sure to stay updated on test center closings and find out all of the makeup information.
How many SAT testing sites are out there?
There are thousands of testing sites worldwide, but you’ll be able to find higher numbers of testing sites in countries and states with higher populations. For example, California has around 450 sites, while South Dakota has under 10.
If test centers are limited around you, or if you have your heart set on one particular one, register for the SAT EARLY. Test centers do fill up.
Where should you take the SAT?
The more familiar the testing location, the better. You don’t want to take the SAT in a place where you feel uncomfortable. Ideally, you would want to find a testing site in your town, a short drive away.
When determining where you’ll take the test, also consider which people you’ll see at each location. Do you want to take the SAT amongst friends, acquaintances or strangers? This completely depends on your personality. Will seeing people you know cheer you up? Or will it stress you out?
What if you don’t live near a test site?
If you live fairly far away from every available test site, then you’ll need to do some extra preparation before test day. Get to sleep even earlier than you usually would before the SAT. On test morning, pack a breakfast for the lengthy car ride. You’ll want to be energized and ready for the test. Also, make sure the car ride is as relaxing as possible so you don’t start freaking out before you even enter the testing room. Avoid too much loud music and talking.
Now that you’ve learned about SAT test locations, you might be curious about when exactly you’ll have to arrive at these locations. Check out my post about when the SAT starts.
What if you are REALLY far away from an SAT test site?
If you live more than 75 miles from the nearest test center, the College Board might open a new testing center for you. You can request that on their website. But if you would like to do this, make sure to put in your request well in advance, and don’t count on it. Have a backup plan.
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About Nadira Berman
As a Summer Marketing Intern, Nadira is excited to help high schoolers prepare for the SAT and ACT. As a freshman at the University of Pennsylvania, she is considering studying economics. In her free time, she reports for the school newspaper and styles photo shoots for the school's fashion magazine. Besides fashion and journalism, her passions include bagels, smoothies and Netflix.
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