Standardized Tests

Some juniors have recently had the 'joy' of taking the March SAT exam and feel relief to have one standardized test out of the way.  Unfortunately, testing is a part of the admission process and it is not going away any time soon.  SAT, ACT, SAT Subject tests, PSAT- how does one sort all this out given that there are different tests and every school seems to have a different requirement?  I have many junior students ask me whether colleges prefer the SAT or the ACT in the admission process.  Fortunately for students, in this current admission climate, college admission officers do not have a preference, and students should focus their testing preparation on just one standardized test- the SAT or the ACT. 

The SAT was redesigned by the College Board in 2015 and this 'new' SAT was introduced about a year ago.  With these changes the SAT and ACT look more similar in content, but differences do remain, and I often encourage sophomores to take a diagnostic test prior to junior year in order to find where their testing strengths lie in order to focus preparation on just one of the tests.

There are certainly a growing number of colleges that are test optional, and students can learn more about that list at, a great website that breaks down the various testing policies at test optional schools.  However, even if a student will likely only apply to test optional schools, I always encourage students to take the SAT or ACT which might be required for placement once a student enrolls at a particular college.

Some of the more competitive universities also require additional testing in the form of SAT Subject Tests.  These tests are designed to allow students to demonstrate achievement in a particular academic subject.  It seems that every college or university has a different policy regarding which Subject Tests are required and how many.  Although many schools do not require any Subject Test, the Ivies and other competitive colleges do.  Therefore, it is important that students do their homework so that they meet all of the testing requirements of each school.

Finally, it is also important that students (and parents) keep track of deadlines.  The SAT is offered six times throughout the school year, and for the first time this year, the College Board (the group that puts out the SAT) will provide an SAT sitting to students in August.  To counter that, the ACT will begin to offer an ACT exam in the summer of 2018.  Below you will find test dates, registration deadlines and score availability dates.

2017 SAT Test Dates

Test Dates                   Registration Dates      Score Delivery Dates

March 11, 2017           February 10, 2017       April 13, 2017

May 6, 2017                April 7, 2017               June 8, 2017

June 3, 2017                May 9, 2017                July 12, 2017


2017-2018 Anticipated SAT Test Dates

Test Dates                   Registration Dates      Score Delivery Dates

August 26, 2017          TBD                            TBD                                     

October 7, 2017          TBD                            TBD

November 4, 2017      TBD                             TBD

December 2, 2017       TBD                            TBD

March 10, 2018           TBD                            TBD

May 5, 2018                TBD                            TBD

June 2, 2018                TBD                            TBD


2017-2018 ACT Test Dates

Test Dates                   Registration Dates      Scores Posted Online

April 8, 2017               March 3, 2017             April 18, 2017–June 2, 2017

June 10, 2017             May 5, 2017                June 20, 2017–August 4, 2017

September 9, 2017      TBD                            TBD

October 28, 2017        TBD                            TBD

December 9, 2017       TBD                            TBD

February 10, 2018       TBD                            TBD

April 14, 2018             TBD                            TBD

June 9, 2018                TBD                            TBD

July 14, 2018               TBD                            TBD

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