How do I register for the SAT?

  1. To register for the SAT, you first need to create a CollegeBoard account for yourself, as neither your parents nor your guidance counselor can register for you. 
  2. Once you’ve created an account and signed in, you’ll need to provide your full, legal name and other identifying information. This information should match what is shown on your photo ID. 
  3. You’ll have the option of answering additional questions about yourself, which you should do if you want colleges and scholarship organizations to find and contact you.
  4. You can then decide whether to register for the essay portion of the SAT. We strongly recommend all students write the optional essay, as some schools require it, and doing well on the essay could strengthen your application for all schools.
  5. You’ll then upload a photo of yourself that meets the CollegeBoard’s photo requirements.
  6. As you go through the process of signing up for the SAT, you might also need to follow a few more steps. For example, if you’re using a fee waiver, you’ll have to enter the identification number on a fee waiver card. If you’ve been approved by the CollegeBoard to test with accommodations, you’ll have to enter the SSD number on your eligibility letter. If you’re homeschooled, you should enter 970000 when asked for a high school code.
  7. Finally, you can check out, pay for your exam and print your Admission Ticket. 

How do I register for the ACT?

  1. To register for the ACT, you first need to create a MyACT account. As is the case with the SAT, your parents and guidance counselor cannot register for you.
  2. Once you’ve created an account and signed in, you’ll need to provide your full, legal name and other identifying information. This information should match what is shown on your photo ID. 
  3. As you go through the registration process, you’ll need to provide your high school course details and a headshot photo.
  4. Similar to the SAT, you’ll also need to decide whether you want to take the ACT with the optional essay. Whether you take the SAT or ACT, we strongly recommend all students write the optional essay.
  5. You might also follow a few more steps, which will be indicated on your MyACT account, if you requested accommodations or a fee waiver.
  6. After filling everything out on your MyACT account, you can check out, pay for your exam and print your Admission Ticket.

How do I request accommodations for the SAT and ACT?

For the SAT, you can submit a request with or without your school; however, the CollegeBoard encourages students to submit a request through their school for a variety of reasons.

For the ACT, you can only submit a request with the help of a school official. Additional information about requesting accommodations for the ACT is available here.

How do I request a fee waiver for the SAT and ACT?

You can find out if you’re eligible for a fee waiver here (SAT) and here (ACT). If you think you’re eligible, your guidance counselor or a representative of an authorized community-based organization can help you obtain a fee waiver. If you’re homeschooled, you can request a fee waiver by contacting a local high school guidance counselor and providing proof of eligibility.

Should I sign up for both the SAT and ACT?

We recommend sitting for the exam with which you feel most comfortable rather than sitting for both exams. Prior to signing up for either exam, you should take one SAT diagnostic test (available for free here) and one ACT diagnostic test (available for free here). After grading the tests and considering the differences between the exams, you should choose and prepare for the test that you feel best suits your strengths.

What sections are on the SAT and ACT?

The SAT has four sections: Reading (65 minutes for 52 questions), Writing and Language (35 minutes for 44 questions), Math – No Calculator (25 minutes for 20 questions), and Math – Calculator (55 minutes for 38 questions).

The ACT has four sections plus an optional essay portion: English (45 minutes for 75 questions), Math (60 minutes for 60 questions), Reading (35 minutes for 40 questions), Science (35 minutes for 40 questions), and the optional essay (40 minutes).

How many Reading passages are on the SAT and ACT?

There are five Reading passages on the SAT and four Reading passages on the ACT, four Writing and Language passages on the SAT and five English passages on the ACT, and six to seven Science passages on the ACT.

How many questions are on the SAT and ACT?

There are a total of 154 questions on the SAT and 215 questions on the ACT.

When and how many times should I take the SAT or ACT?

You can take the SAT/ACT as many times as you need to reach your goal score — keep in mind, though, that some colleges will ask you to send them all of your scores, so a good rule of thumb is to only sit for the exam if you feel prepared. We generally advise students sit for either the SAT or the ACT two to three times following a few months of focused preparation either their sophomore or junior year; however, we recommend creating an individualized testing timeline based on your skillset, goals, and schedule. If you are having trouble making or following a testing timeline, we can help — our tutors are trained to guide you through every step of the standardized testing process.

What are the SAT updates that the College Board announced in January?

The College Board announced that they will no longer administer SAT Subject Tests or the optional essay portion of the main SAT. The organization will also be making changes to the main SAT in the coming months.

How will the SAT updates affect college admissions?

Now that Subject Tests are no longer offered, the quantitative elements of college applications that remain — GPA, the SAT/ACT, and AP exams — will likely each be weighted more heavily in colleges’ evaluation of your academic skills, meaning that you should make sure to take your classes and the SAT or ACT seriously. There will also likely be a stronger emphasis on the qualitative elements of college applications, including extracurricular activities and passion projects, which will be crucial in helping you to stand out among your peers with similar GPAs and SAT/ACT scores.

What is considered a good SAT or ACT score?

All colleges post their 25th to 75th percentile SAT and ACT score ranges on their websites, and you should aim to score above the 50th percentile scores posted by your top choice colleges. While there is not a single minimum score you need to achieve to be competitive for all highly-ranked schools, we recommend aiming for a 750+ on each section of the SAT (the equivalent of roughly a 34+ on the ACT) if you are planning to apply to some of the most competitive schools in the country. 

Keep in mind that colleges aren’t looking for perfect scores; they want to see how proficient you are as compared to other students. If you score a 750 and not an 800, that doesn’t mean your application isn’t strong. Your scores are an important aspect of your application, but they do not dictate the quality of your whole application. That being said, in light of the recent changes the College Board made to their standardized tests, it will be important for you to score high on the SAT or ACT, as there are now fewer ways to stand out academically in the college admissions process.

If I don’t feel prepared for a test date I signed up for, how can I cancel my registration for that date?

For the SAT, if you want to cancel your registration without requesting a refund, you can just not show up to the test center on your test date. If you want to cancel your registration and request a partial refund, you can contact the CollegeBoard’s customer service. Instead of canceling your registration, you can also opt to change your test type, test center, or test date, which can be done online through your CollegeBoard account or by phone through the CollegeBoard’s customer service.

For the ACT, you can also either not show up to the exam or change your test date through your MyACT portal. If you decide you do not want to sit for a test, you cannot receive a full or partial refund on your basic registration fee or any additional service fees. You can request a refund on optional service fees, including score reports for 5th and 6th college codes, test information release, and the ACT writing test. To request a refund, you can email [email protected] with “REFUND” in the subject line.

If I don’t feel confident in my performance on the SAT or ACT, how can I cancel my score?

For the SAT, cancellation includes scores on all tests you take on one day, unless your equipment malfunctions. You can cancel your SAT score up until 11:59pm ET on the Thursday (sometimes Wednesday) after you sat for the exam. You can cancel your scores at the test center or after you leave the test center. The College Board provides additional information on how to cancel your scores here.

You can only cancel your ACT score at the test center on the day of the exam. To cancel your score, you have to tell your exam proctor to void your score.

What’s the difference between Score Choice and superscore?

Score Choice, which is now available for both the SAT and ACT, refers to your ability to decide which test scores  to send to colleges by test date. For example, if you scored high on the Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section of the SAT on the March test date, scored high on the Math section of the SAT on the May test date, and received lower scores on both sections on the June test date, you can choose to only send your scores from the March and May test dates. 

Superscoring refers to many colleges’ policies of only considering your highest score on each section of the SAT or ACT across all test dates. 

Note that not all colleges honor Score Choice or practice superscoring, so be sure to check the websites of the colleges to which you’re applying for school-specific testing policies.

How do I use Score Choice?

You can use Score Choice for any SAT score reports you send online or by phone, but you can only select tests that have already been scored. CollegeBoard offers a video explanation of how to use Score Choice here.

For ACT score reports, you choose the test date(s) you want reported to each school on your MyACT account. The ACT has recently started superscoring, or averaging your four best subject scores from all of your ACT test attempts. The ACT will now send your superscore, along with at least one full composite score and all the scores from the tests that are part of the superscore, to colleges.

What should I bring to the test center on the test date?

Both the CollegeBoard and the ACT have published test day checklists of items that you should and should not bring to the test center. The SAT checklist is available here, and the ACT checklist is available here.

What kind of calculator should I use on the SAT or ACT?

The SAT calculator policy is available here, and the ACT calculator policy is available here. The SAT and ACT have different policies on calculators, so please make sure to double check that your calculator model is allowed for the exam you are taking. We also recommend students bring extra batteries on the day of the test, as some of the older calculators don’t display their battery percentage.

Should I buy the ACT watch?

We generally do not recommend students buy the ACT watch; however, we suggest bringing a watch to these exams. It’s important to note that the watch you bring cannot have an audible alarm or make any noises — if it goes off during the exam, your test will be canceled.

Is it safe to take these tests during the COVID-19 pandemic?

All test centers must adhere to local public health guidelines and follow the College Board or ACT requirements in order for tests to be administered. The College Board and the ACT have canceled tests at many test centers due to the pandemic. If your test is not cancelled, the College Board or the ACT considers it safe to take the exam; however, if you are not comfortable taking the test or are not feeling well on test day, you should stay home. The College Board cannot cancel a test within two weeks of the test date; however, test centers can cancel until the date of the test, so be sure to check your Admission Ticket and the closed testing center list, both of which are available on the College Board’s website. 

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