One explicitly stated purpose of the SAT is to predict how students will perform academically as college freshmen. But the more practical purpose of the SAT is to help college admissions officers make acceptance decisions. When you think about it, admissions officers have a difficult job. It’s not easy to figure out how one student’s GPA in New Mexico correlates with that of another student in Florida. Even though admissions officers can do detective work to fairly evaluate candidates, they benefit a great deal from the SAT. The SAT provides a single, standardized means of comparison. After all, virtually every student takes the SAT, and the SAT is the same for everyone.
So the SAT is an important test. But it is not the be-all, end-all.
Keep it in perspective! It is only one of several important pieces of the college admissions puzzle. Other factors that weigh heavily into the admission process include GPA, difficulty of course load, level of extracurricular involvement, and the strength of the college application itself.
When You Should Take The SAT
Many students like to take the test in March of their junior year. That way, they take the SAT several months before final exams, proms, and end-of-the year distractions. Taking the test in March also gives students early feedback as to how they are scoring. If they are dissatisfied with their scores, there is ample opportunity to take the test again in the spring or following fall.
When you decide which schools you’re going to apply to, find out if they require the SAT. Most do! Your next step is to determine when they need your SAT scores. Write that date down. That’s the one you really don’t want to miss. You do have some leeway in choosing your test date. The SAT I (that’s the basic test) is offered on one Saturday morning in October, November, December, January, March, May, and June. Check the exact dates to see which ones meet your deadlines. To do this, count back six weeks from each school’s application deadline, because that’s how long it takes to score your test and send out the results. What if you don’t know which schools you want to apply to? Don’t panic! Even if you don’t take the exam until December or January of your senior year, you’ll probably have plenty of time to send your scores to most schools. When you plan to take the SAT, there is something even more important than the application deadlines of particular schools. You need to select a test date that works best with your schedule. Ideally, you should allow yourself at least two to three months to prepare. How Many Times Should You Take the SAT
Different colleges evaluate the SAT I in different ways. Some will take your highest math and verbal scores, even if they were earned on different test days. So if you nailed the math portion in March and the verbal portion in October, they will combine those two numbers to maximize your overall score. Not bad, huh? But many other schools don’t do that. Some pay most attention to your highest combined score on a particular day. Many others will average all of your scores or lend equal weight to all of them. So what does this mean? It means that you should only take the SAT I when you are truly prepared. Because no matter what each school’s individual policy tends to be, every single SAT I score you earn is part of your permanent transcript, so colleges see them all. How to Register for the SAT
You should register for the SAT at least six weeks before your testing date. That way you will avoid late registration fees and increase your chances of taking the exam at your first-choice testing center. You can register through the mail by completing the SAT registration form found inside the annual SAT Bulletin. Your high school guidance office should have plenty of extra copies of the SAT Bulletin. If you’d like, you can also register online or if you have taken the SAT before, you can register by phone: 800-728-7267. Registration Dates
|Test Dates||Registration Deadlines|
|June 5, 2004||April 29, 2004|
|October 9, 2004||September 7, 2004|
|November 6, 2004||October 1, 2004|
|December 4, 2004||October 29, 2004|
|January 2, 2005||December 20, 2004|
|March 12, 2005 (The New SAT)||February 7, 2005|
|May 7, 2005 (The New SAT)||March 25, 2005|
|June 4, 2005 (The New SAT)||April 29, 2005|