New SAT (& ACT) Test Dates: What They Mean For You!

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So, both the College Board and the ACT have made changes to their testing calendars, and this could impact how your structure your junior and senior year testing timelines. New SAT and ACT test dates mean more than you might think—it's not just about when you're going to slot things into your calendar! As always, I’m here to help. So read on for the new schedules, and then I'm going to give you some seasoned test-prep expert insight into what this might mean for which dates make the most sense for you.

For those of you who are visual, here are the new dates:

New SAT Dates 2017-2018

Here's the College Board's NEW calendar for the 2017-2018 SATs. I've pulled together all of the information available, including registration deadline, late registration deadline, and estimated score release date. And watch those footnotes I've put in for you: there are a few quirks to pay attention to!

SAT Test Dates 2017-18 Registration Deadline Late Registration Deadline Estimated Score Release Date
August 26, 20171 July 28, 2017 August 15, 2017 September 14, 2017
October 7, 2017 September 8, 2017 September 27, 2017 October 27, 2017
November 4, 20172 October 5, 2017 October 25, 2017 November 23, 2017
December 2, 2017 November 2, 2017 November 21, 2017 December 21, 2017
March 10, 20183 February 9, 2018 February 28, 2018 March 29, 2018
May 5, 2018 April 6, 2018 April 25, 2018 May 24, 2018
June 2, 20182 May 3, 2018 May 23, 2018 June 21, 2018

1 US only. NOT scheduled internationally.
2 In the US, both the SAT I AND Subject Tests are scheduled on these dates. Outside the US, only the Subject Tests are scheduled.
3 Regular SAT only. NO Subject Tests, either in the US or internationally.

New ACT Dates 2017-2018

Here's the NEW calendar for the 2017-2018 ACT dates, including registration deadline, late registration deadline, and the estimated date for score release. Pay attention, though: not all of these dates are scheduled everywhere! Many of my New York clients find that New Jersey test dates are good options if they REALLY need a date that's not scheduled in NY State.

ACT Test Dates 2017-18 Registration Deadline Late Registration Deadline Estimated Score Release Date
September 9, 2017 August 4, 2017 August 18, 2017 September 19, 2017
October 28, 2017 September 22, 2017 October 6, 2017 November 7, 2017
December 9, 2017 November 3, 2017 November 17, 2017 December 19, 2017
February 10, 20181 January 12, 2018 January 19, 2018 February 20, 2018
April 14, 2018 March 9, 2018 March 23, 2018 April 24, 2018
June 9, 2018 May 4, 2018 May 18, 2018 June 19, 2018
July 14, 20181 June 15, 2018 June 22, 2018 July 24, 2018

1 February and July test dates are NOT scheduled in NY State or internationally.

Did you notice something interesting? I sure did! The test dates have changed! For BOTH the SAT and the ACT! And believe me, this will change how you organize your junior and senior years, prep-wise.



Here’s the deal on the new SAT dates:

There's no longer a January SAT test date. Instead, there's a new SAT test date in late August.

Other than trying to ruin my birthday weekend every year in perpetuity (I'm on call pretty much 'round the clock when my students are approaching their test dates!), these College Board changes will also alter a few things for YOU. Namely, when you should take your first SAT and when you should schedule your Subject Tests.


When should you take your first SAT?

It used to be that your first SAT should be scheduled spring of your junior year, ideally March. Here's one big reason why: since the SAT is graded on a bell curve, your score is determined by the group of students who sat for the same test date you did. If you took your first test date in March, you’d only be competing with fellow juniors—students who are your own age, and who don't have definite advantages over you in terms of prep time. And if you progressed faster than you’d even hoped for, you could always take the January test date and then retake the SAT in March two months later.

However, without the January test date, there is a silent abyss for four months between December and March. If you make a decision in the beginning of your junior year, however, you can use this to your advantage.

Think about this: December is now the absolute LAST test date a senior could take to get scores in for college admissions. And in many cases, they’d have to send these scores in blind for regular admissions, and still be pushing the deadline. In addition, there’s an extra August test date now, meaning that seniors who needed to retake the SAT or SAT II Subject Tests had an extra shot at it before school even started.

So who’s taking the test in December, then? It’s still seniors…the ones who either didn’t get their s*!t together early in the summer/fall or who are applying to schools with year-long, rolling admissions—which usually aren’t as competitive as schools with strict January 1st or 10th deadlines. If you’re what I call a “hot-shot junior”—meaning a junior who’s at the top of your peer group grade- and testing-wise—these seniors will likely not be much competition for you!

So, if you're already high-performing, aim for December as your first SAT test date!  You’ll get your scores before school lets out for holiday break and be able to take your finals in peace, take a real break, and still have 3 months to regroup before the March test if you need to.

If, on the other hand, you have a lot of review to get your SAT score within your target range, you should plan for March still being your first SAT test sitting.


When should you take SAT II Subject Tests?

Here’s the beauty of the new SAT test calendar: since you now have FOUR DIFFERENT TEST DATES to retake the SAT or SAT II Subject Tests during the fall of senior year, you don’t have to worry about using up your May and/or June test date(s) for the regular SAT I. Instead, if your college list requires SAT II Subject Tests, you should feel confident doing what I’ve always advised that few followed through on: committing to taking ALL 2-3 of your Subject Tests on BOTH May AND June test dates!

Think about it: you’ll already be studying for finals, for AP exams, for Regents, or for IB exams. It’s not too much more to just take some practice Subject Tests, too. You’ll have double (or triple!) the reasons to study hard: anything you learn for SAT II prep will reinforce what you need for finals, and anything you study for finals or APs will reinforce lessons to utilize on the SAT II. It’s a pretty brilliant strategy...if I DO say so myself. 

For my international students out there, these ideas still apply to you, too, with one small change: you’ll just have THREE fall test dates to retake any test that didn’t work out according to plan...just try not to take the December test, or my super-ambitious juniors will pummel you! ;)


Remember that this advice is not one-size-fits-all.

Every student's needs are different—and therefore, every student's standardized testing approach needs to be different to get the maximum edge. This is the best advice that I can give without knowing your specific situation. When you need a plan that will take all this expertise and apply it to you, check out my Ace the Test Game Plan