SAT Test Dates

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

the SAT written on an exam sheet

SAT Dates in the Time of Coronavirus:

The SAT, or Scholastic Aptitude Test, has gone through many changes in dates, format, and length since its initial beginnings in 1926. With students consistently achieving higher scores each year, it is imperative for students to stand out.

This academic year, dates have experienced several dramatic changes attributed to the recent Safer-at-Home orders issued across the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The two remaining SAT Dates for the 2019-2020 academic year were:

  • May 2, 2020
  • June 6, 2020.

These dates, however, have either been cancelled or postponed by the College Board organization due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Students who registered for the May date will be issued refunds, as well as those whose tests were postponed in March.

Students who registered for the June session have been rescheduled to several tentative dates beginning in August of 2020. They include:

  • August 29, 2020
  • September 26, 2020
  • October 3, 3030
  • November 7, 2020
  • December 5, 2020

College Board has also provided a temporary help center for students and parents which provides COVID-19 updates, schedule changes, and several emails for additional resources and support.

With a variety of curriculum taught in classrooms across the country, the SAT serves as one of the great equalizers during the application process for many students who wish to apply to colleges or universities. Even in uncertain times, the College Board website has provided SAT dates for upcoming academic years up to the 2023 academic session, further solidifying the endurance and durability of the test.

The Scholastic Aptitude Test is accepted by a majority of public and private universities across the country. The scores and results are often viewed in comparison with grades, extracurriculars, and the coveted Personal Statement.

While the circumstances and dates of the test may change over the coming years, the list of colleges and universities requiring the SAT remains strong and comprehensive.

SAT scantron test

Registration and Preparation for the SAT:

Registration for the newly rescheduled SAT dates will begin in May, with a promise from College Board to confirm these dates no later than May 26th, 2020. While testing dates remain subject to change, College Board has already released anticipated registration dates well into the 2023 academic year.

Students who already registered for the SAT by June of 2020, or those part of the 2021 graduating class who have not yet received their SAT scores, will be given priority registration for the new dates beginning in August and continuing through December of 2020.

These extended dates and deadlines allow students additional time to access resources and study materials available on AdmissionSight website to help improve test scores and strengthen their applications.

The registration dates for the 2020 SAT tests began as early as July of 2019 and continued throughout February of 2020. While registration dates for future tests are only anticipated, their schedules are similar to those listed during the 2019-2020 academic year, allowing prospective students to plan accordingly. The dates also coincide with the Saturday-specific schedule of the SAT.

The registration process is outlined extensively in the College Board’s Student Registration Booklet. There are several specific requirements worth noting. While certain prerequisites differ whether a student is registering for the SAT through mail or online, students are required to submit their:

  • Full Legal Name, as well as their:
    • Date of Birth
    • Gender
    • Mailing Address
    • Current Grade Level
  • High School Code
  • An Acceptable Photo ID
  • Test Type, Test Date, and Testing Center
  • An Acceptance of College Board’s Terms and Conditions
  • Payment or Fee Waiver

College Board also allows for students to register for several dates in the same application, allowing students the opportunity to take multiple tests to improve scores.

High school students taking the SAT on paper

With rapidly developing adjustments to already scheduled test dates, it may be in students best interests to register for multiple SAT exam dates so as to not miss out on testing opportunities while simultaneously improving their scores. While there is normally a penalty or late fee for missing a scheduled registration date, many of these penalties are currently being waived due to the Safer at Home policies issued throughout the country.

Beyond the registration process, there are also additional opportunities to tackle practice tests beforehand to secure higher scores and better prepare for the test.

College Board also offers the PSAT-10 as well as the PSAT, or Preliminary Scholastic Aptitude Test, which retains the same subject-based structure as the SAT. Completed in classrooms and educational facilities around the country, it allows students to familiarize themselves with both the testing environment as well as its format, which can decrease the stress that may arise during the proctored exam.

The PSAT-10 can be taken in the Spring of 10th grade, while the PSAT can be taken in the fall of 10th or 11th grade. Testing dates for the PSAT began in February and March of 2020, but have recently been extended into late April of 2020.

While the scores for the February and March PSAT were released and distributed by April, results for later PSAT tests are expected to roll out beginning in April until mid-June of 2020.

The PSAT is combined with the NMQST, or the National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

With a similar structure and grading curve to the SAT, the PSAT / NMQST not only prepares students for the SAT, but also allows them to qualify for additional scholarships, including the National Merit Scholarship.

Requirements and policies for the PSAT /  NMQST are similar to the requirements for the SAT and can be found on the College Board website.

Around 3.5 million students take the PSAT / NMQST each year, a  larger figure than the average 2.2 million students who take the SAT each year. This distinction makes for tougher competition for the National Merit Scholarship, but does give the students an edge by the time they take the SAT.

Additional information on preparation and practice can be found on the AdmissionSight website.

college students taking an exam


There are three main subjects covered on the SAT:

  1. Math
  2. Evidence-Based Reading
  3. Writing

There is also an additional 50-minute essay, which as of 2016, was updated as an optional section of the test. The test is administered over a period of 3 hours with an additional 50 minutes provided for the essay. Beyond the standardization of the test, there are also additional Subject Tests available. For the 2020-2021 academic year, subject specific test are unavailable on:

  • September 26, 2020
  • March 13, 2021

For the 2021-2022 year, Subject Tests are available on all SAT exam dates except March 12, 2022. A similar structure exists for the anticipated 2022-2023 year as well, with the only unavailable subject test date being March 11, 2023. A further list of future schedules for the Subject Tests can be found on the College Board website.

The subject-specific tests include five general subject areas:

  • English
  • History
  • Languages
  • Mathematics
  • Science

Each subject-specific multiple choice test is about an hour in length and is graded on a 200-800 point scale, allowing for students to improve their overall scores based on certain subjects that might not be covered on the standardized SAT.


Results for SAT tests are typically distributed online though the College Board website as early as 13 days after the exam date, often 15 days for Essay-specific scores. The average range of SAT scores varies by school, but with Ivy League consideration, the average scores for the top universities include:

  • Harvard:
    • Reading and Writing: 730-790
    • Math: 730-800
  • Yale:
    • Reading and Writing: 730-780
    • Math: 730-800
  • University of Pennsylvania:
    • Reading and Writing: 700-770
    • Math: 720-790
  • Princeton University:
    • Reading and Writing: 710-780
    • Math: 720-790
  • Columbia University:
    • Reading and Writing: 700-780
    • Math: 710-790

Unlike the similarly structured ACT test, College Board has no restrictions on how many times students can take the SAT. College Board also provides the Score Choice feature during the application process which allows students to select and choose which scores to send to colleges. Certain restrictions to the Score Choice feature apply based on specific college and universities application policies. College Board only keeps the 6 most recent scores for the SAT.

The PSAT / NMQST has more specific guidelines, allowing students to take the test 3 times during their high school career. Regardless of when the PSAT / NMQST was taken, only the score reported and taken during the students junior year will be counted towards scholarships.

There is also no limit on the number of subject-specific tests students can take for the SAT, allowing for an easier process while navigating the college admissions landscape.

If you are happy with your results from the generalized SAT test, College Board also gives students the option to take only the Subject-Specific tests to try to improve scores in certain subject areas. These subject-specific tests also have no date restrictions.  If you are a student fresh out of an AP course in History or Science, you have the option to take that subject test prior to the SAT, while the material still remains fresh in your head.

Students attending tutors and completing SAT prep books in order to score well in the SAT test.

History and Future of the SAT

In order to better understand the integrity of the SAT as part of the application process and its corresponding dates, it is important to look back at the history of the test and see how it has altered but persisted throughout the years.

The SAT first became standardized by College Board in 1926 as a replacement to the College Entrance Examination created in 1901. The first issued test was on June 23, 1926 and was given to 8,000 students. It contained 315 questions, covering nine different subjects and allowed students 97 minutes to complete the exam.

During these early exams, students were encouraged to guess as no points were taken off for wrong answers. This policy changed in the 1950’s, but in the recent 2016 updates, the original policy was restored, eliminating the penalty for guessing incorrectly. Other restorations to the test during its 2016 overhaul included the return to the 1600-point scoring system. Other changes included in the SAT revision were:

  • A cut of more “obscure” vocabulary words
  • The limiting of calculators for certain math sections
  • The ability to take the test with either pencil and paper or computers in certain situations

Additional revisions, some that are state-specific, can be found on the College Board website.

Despite the recent news that the University of California has suspended the SAT and ACT requirements as well as certain Letter Grades for its 2021 applications due to the Coronavirus, many other state schools and universities have kept their requirements in place. Some states have even agreed to multi-year contracts with College Board, using the SAT for federal accountability. These states include:

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Maine
  • Michigan
  • New Hampshire.

College Board has kept up its scheduling to meet these requirements, also allowing for many students to plan accordingly for their academic futures. The anticipated schedule for the 2020-2021 admission dates follows the Saturday-specific testing schedule and includes the dates:

  • August 29, 2020
  • September 26, 2020
  • October 3, 2020
  • November 7, 2020
  • December 5, 2020
  • March 13, 2021
  • May 8, 2021
  • June 5, 2021

College Board also provides the projected 2021-2022 schedule for the SAT as well which includes the dates:

  • August 28, 2021
  • October 2, 2021
  • November 6, 2021
  • December 4, 2021
  • March 12, 2022
  • May 7, 2022
  • June 4, 2022

With May 12th, being the only date to exclude subject-specific testing.

For eager students just beginning to enter their high school careers, College Board also provided the anticipated dates for the 2022-2023 academic year. These dates include:

  • August 27, 2022
  • October 1, 2022
  • November 5, 2022
  • December 3, 2022
  • March 11, 2023
  • May 6, 2023
  • June 3, 2023

Similar to previous academic years, the subject-specific testing is available on each of the testing dates excluding March 11th, 2023.

In order to keep up with the recent social-distancing measures, College Board has also reached out to a variety of schools and educational institutions to create additional testing spaces to avoid any instances of overcrowding.

While the SAT continually undergoes changes, ranging from scheduling dates to curriculum requirements, the future schedules and commitments from certain universities shows the durability of the Scholastic Aptitude Test and its importance and integrity in relation to the college and university admissions process.


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