General SAT Questions
When should a student take the SAT?
Students should take the SAT their junior year. Even in the fall, most juniors will have covered enough English and math in school to take the SAT. (SAT math doesn’t go past Algebra II and most SAT concepts are covered in Algebra I and Geometry.)
Most students will want to take the test more than once to improve their scores, but students who are pleased with their initial scores do not need to retake the SAT.
I have a learning difference. Can I get accommodations on the SAT?
Yes, students with documented disabilities can receive accommodations on the SAT, but you need to contact College Board directly and present appropriate documentation. The process can take weeks and not every student is approved. For additional details see the College Board’s Services for Students with Disabilities page.
How do colleges look at scores when a student takes the SAT more than once?
Colleges expect students to take the SAT more than once. Don’t panic that schools may see lower scores; they are looking for and focus on a student’s best score. Colleges will determine “best score” in one of two ways:
- Best total score from a single test date, or
- Best reading, math, and writing scores even if individual scores are taken from different test dates. (This method is called “superscoring.”)
Can my son keep taking the SAT until he gets the score he wants?
Taking the test over and over will not increase scores. Before a student takes the SAT for a third or fourth time he or she should change preparation strategy — take a prep course or refresher, study new material, or implement a new approach. With proper preparation, it may be a good idea to re-take the SAT if a student is unhappy with previous scores.
When I sign up to take the SAT they ask for four college or scholarship codes. I’m not sure where I will apply; should I send scores?
When registering for the SAT or ACT students are given four free score reports which can be sent to any college or scholarship program. If these free reports must be requested when registering for the test. Additional score reports requested later will cost a student ($9 ea for SAT and $7 ea for ACT.) Because of the additional cost, students are encouraged to use the four free reports included with test registration. It is acceptable to send scores to a school and later decide not to apply.
I’m on reduced lunch at school. Is there a discount on SAT/ ACT registration fees?
Students who qualify for free or reduced lunch can receive a fee waiver to cover the cost of testing. Students who use a fee waiver to take the SAT/ Act qualify for three waivers of college application fees. See your high school guidance counselor for more information.