About the SAT Administration and Test

SAT Administration and Fees

The SAT is currently offered 7 times per year in the United States: October, November, December, January, March, May, and June. Beginning in the 2017-2018 academic year, an administration in August will replace the January test. SAT test dates in other countries are similar, with only the March test omitted. Advance registration is required and can be completed online, by phone, or by mail. Registration fees range from $43 (without the essay) to $54.50 (with essay). There is an additional charge for taking the test outside the United States ($35-$53, depending on region). Photo submission is required with registration. Further charges apply if a student wishes to send more than four score reports, and there are also fees for late registration, change of registration, and waitlist registration. In some cases, fee waivers are available, which are generally based on family income.

Taking the SAT

The majority of students take the SAT in either their junior or senior year of high school, with many students taking the test in both years in an effort to boost scores. Juniors generally take the exam in the spring semester, while seniors take it in the fall semester. Most students improve their scores on subsequent test attempts, highlighting the importance of practice and preparation. Independent research has shown that SAT prep classes and/or private tutoring can significantly enhance performance. SAT preparation services help students learn test-taking strategies and time management skills, and also provide guided practice and a higher level of knowledge of test questions and methods of assessment. These services give students confidence in their abilities, which furthers their benefits.

SAT Administration Policies

Test-takers should be familiar with the rules and regulations associated with administration of the 2016 SAT. The SAT is three hours (required sections) and 50 minutes (optional essay section) of actual testing material. With breaks, the overall length of the test's administration is between four and four and a half hours. In order to be admitted to the testing center on test day, students are required to present both a photo admission ticket (provided with registration) and a valid photo ID (e.g. driver's license, passport, or school ID). The name on the identification must exactly match the name used for registration. Students should bring a calculator, at least two no. 2 pencils, and an eraser. Students are also allowed to bring a watch, drinks and snacks, and extra batteries. Cell phones, laptops, tablets, and other electronic devices are not allowed, and students who are late will not be permitted to take the test.

SAT Administration for Disabled Students

Accommodations are available for students with disabilities. Students seeking accommodations must secure approval from the College Board's Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD). Applicants for these services should note that local school board designation of disabled status does not automatically confer entitlement to accommodations while taking the SAT; each student must complete the College Board's own approval process. In most cases, a student must have a documented long-term disability, such as blindness or motor impairments, although the College Board will consider requests based on short-term medical issues. Students must also demonstrate that their handicap affects their ability to take the SAT, that the requested accommodations are necessary, and that they have received these accommodations in the past. Common accommodations for disabled students include Braille or large print exams, extra exam time, extended breaks, and use of a computer for essays.

Academic Honesty and the SAT

The College Board has taken a variety of steps to prevent cheating on the SAT. When creating the test, materials are never posted online and never emailed, and the computers used to write the test are never connected to the internet. Transportation of the tests is secure, and educators who handle the tests, such as school principals or exam proctors, are thoroughly trained in security protocols. Security is also helped by the fact that the SAT, unlike most standardized tests, is still taken in hard copy rather than electronically, but all of these security practices have not completely eliminated cheating on the SAT. As a final countermeasure, the College Board has been known to deploy "investigators" posing as test-takers in order to observe and report suspicious activity. Generally speaking, violation of any test security policies results in dismissal and cancellation of scores. These include use of unauthorized electronic devices, sharing information with other test-takers, misrepresenting one's identity, consulting prohibited resources such as textbooks, reading test materials without completing an answer sheet, leaving the testing room during the test, or attempting to access test materials before or after the testing period. The College Board fully investigates all allegations of academic dishonesty, and refers any violations of applicable laws to the appropriate authorities.