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Let Your Confidence Be Your Guide: Scheduling Your SAT

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The Best Time To Take Your SAT

From the first day of high school, you repeatedly hear about the SAT. You find out what you are tested on, you hear rumors of its difficulty and you wonder what score qualifies as a good score. But judging from my own high school experience, there is no real “best time” to take the SAT. Instead, I think the best time to take your SAT boils down to your individual confidence level.

If You’re Nervous…

If you are someone who anticipates taking the test multiple times and are nervous about it, I think you should take it the spring of your sophomore year. At that point, you will have two years of math under your belt and will have completed the PSAT during the fall. If you are unhappy with your score, you will have at least three more chances to improve your score. This includes the fall and spring of your junior year, and the fall of your senior year.

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If You’re Pretty Confident…

On the other hand, if you are moderately confident about the test, I would recommend taking it the spring of your junior year. By this time, you will have completed three years of math (up to trig or even pre-calculus) and will be done with, arguably, the most difficult part of your high school experience. You also might have completed an SAT prep course, which I completely advise everyone to take. When you take the SAT your junior year, all the tricks and shortcuts from the prep course and the knowledge from the school year will be fresh in your mind. And your chance of getting a good score will vastly increase.

That example is actually the choice I made during high school. I was not extremely anxious about the test and remembered all of the details I learned during my classes and prep course. I ended up getting a better score than I had hoped for. However, if you do all this and still are disappointed with the grade, you do still have another chance to ace the SAT during your senior year.

The Moral of the Story

The best time to take the SAT is contingent on your confidence and test-taking skills. However, I would strongly dissuade everyone from taking the test for the first time during the fall of their senior year, unless you have changed your mind about going to college or your are 100% certain the school you want to go to does not require an SAT score for admission and you want to take it “just in case.” If you get a less-than-stellar score, you are stuck with it during college application time. The ideal way to take this test is to measure your own skill level and to ensure you give yourself plenty of chances to increase your score.
This guest post was written by Rachel Montpelier. Rachel is a senior at Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y. and is the editorial assistant at NextStepU. Definitely check them out for advice on navigating your senior year! Register at and customize your path to success.

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About NextStepU

NextStepU seeks to help students find the right path after high school. Read articles, search for scholarships, enter to Win Free Tuition and get step-by-step planning to help you find your path to success!

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