Admissions Testing Planning for College

Timelines for Taking College Admissions Tests

Written by CB Experts

Make sure you register for the right college admissions tests at the right time and prepare for your SAT, ACT, and even your PSAT.

The Official SAT and ACT Test Timeline

Grade 10

Sept/Oct: Register for and take the PSAT if your school offers this opportunity and if you have completed geometry. You can never start too early!

Spring: If you have finished a one-time course such as Molecular Biology and/or US History, register for and take the SAT Subject Test for this area. Yes, you may need it when you go to apply for college, and it’s better to take it now while the material is fresh!

Summer: Practice for both the PSAT, which you should take again, and for the SAT by attending an SAT Prep Workshop.

Grade 11

Sept/Oct: Prepare for the PSAT by taking a prep course. Register for and take the PSAT. This is required to be eligible for the National Merit Scholarship competition.

Late Winter: Register for the SAT and/or ACT. Also register for SAT Subject Tests, as required for colleges you’re applying to.  Continue practicing for the SAT and ACT tests.

Spring: Take the SAT and/or ACT.

Late Spring: Take SAT Subject Tests that you’ve registered for.

Grade 12

Late Summer: Re-enroll in a Test Prep class or continue studying on your own if you plan to retake the SAT/ACT in the fall to improve your scores.  Register for the SAT and/or ACT October test dates.  Register for the SAT Subject Tests, if required by colleges, November test dates.

NOTE: Even if you have chosen to take only the ACT, some schools will still require you to take the SAT Subject Tests.

October: Retake SAT and/or ACT. Register again for both the SAT/ACT or SAT Subject Tests for December just in case you are not satisfied with your scores. You can take them again one last time!

November: Take the SAT Subject Tests you are registered for.

December: If necessary, retake the SAT/ACT and Subject Tests for the last time.

About the author

CB Experts

Content created by retired College Admissions consultants.