PSAT/SAT timeline

Maybe take it sophomore year. Definitely take it junior year!

The PSAT is offered in the fall and your school should notify you of the dates.  Most recommend you take it sophomore year as a "Practice PSAT".  I say practice because only juniors may qualify as National Merit Scholars and potentially earn scholarships.  Use the sophomore year score as a bench mark to study for the next go around.  You will register on the College Board website and receive your scores there.  If the test is not offered to you sophomore year (because of something crazy like COVID in 2020!) or you choose not to take the official test sophomore year, you can also create a College Board account and take an online version.   There are free practice tests that start with your scores and build from there.  I don't recommend paying a bunch of money for SAT prep classes but some kiddos need that structure.  You can find other online formats or go 80's style and buy practice workbooks at Barnes & Noble.  You can pick up a US News Best College finder guide while you are there too!

If you check a certain box on your registration you will accept solicitations from colleges based on your score etc.  Don't forget to use your NEW student email you created when you register so you do not get overwhelmed keeping up with solicitations! See Blog "You've got LOTS of email"

The SAT should be taken by the end of junior year or beginning of senior year depending on when you plan on applying.  You can take the PSAT or SAT at the beginning of junior year.  Just be careful taking it too early because they are testing proficiency, so if you are in a lower level math you may want to wait.   But you may want to see where you are at early.  You can always take it again.  Schools accept your highest score.  I just don't want anyone getting test burn out!  Test dates can be found on the College Board website.

2020 COVID caution:  In some states SAT's in spring 2020 were not offered.  As a result some schools are waving the requirement for SAT/ACT scores for 2020-2021 applicants.  Others made it optional to report scores.  The benefit to this is you can take it and if you don't like your score don't report it.  If they don't use the SAT score for consideration, they will weight the application rubric scores differently and put more emphasis on the other areas. Check college websites for details. Most seem to be making it optional for 2021-2022 also.

Feel free to comment and share your experiences or ask questions.

Thanks for spending time with me!

<> Sandra

College Board

US News College Finder Guide

PSAT prep workbooks 


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