Are you one of the growing number of spring semester juniors/rising seniors who opted to forego the June SAT test date and take a break instead? In years past, you would have read a fiercely motivating blog post from me downright BEGGING you to continue on your momentum and just get ‘er done, despite APs, IBs, Regents, and finals competing for your attention. After all, if you just spent a few months prepping for May, what’s another 4 weeks, right?
But that’s not my goal today. In light of the changing SAT (and ACT) test dates, I’m noticing an important trend: the June SAT test date is no longer a given, critical component of a junior’s standardized testing timeline. It’s now simply one of the many moving parts. Which means for certain students, it might just be optional!
So…WHY would people skip the June SAT?
There are a few compelling reasons why you may have chosen to sit this one out. For the student who has my blessing skipping the June SAT, usually 2-3 of these will apply:
1) You’ve already taken the March and/or May tests.
You’ve already prepped, you feel confident in your understanding of the pacing and all key concepts, and at least part of your score (like your Math or your Evidence-based Reading Writing) is up to your liking…or at least pretty close.
2) You don’t have to take any SAT II Subject Tests.
If you don’t have to take Subject Tests, that means you don’t have to ration the remaining August, October, and possibly November and December test dates between the regular SAT I and SAT IIs. If all you have to take is the regular SAT, you don’t need all of those! So you could take June off and still have plenty of test dates to get the score you need.
3) Your finals and final projects (and other tests, like APs) are in May, not June...and you NEED to improve/keep up your grades!
I get it. Your transcript is THE most important component of your college applications, so you can’t skimp there. But this only works if you know you have the time to devote once junior year is over.
4) You aren’t ready.
You haven’t properly prepped for the SAT and wouldn’t be ready for June. Again, I get it. If you KNOW you aren’t ready, you probably shouldn’t take the test…but again, this only works if you can commit to a test prep plan and really go for it in August and/or October.
If more than one of these conditions describes you, it might very well make sense to sit out the June SAT.
Yes, but I already sat this one out. NOW WHAT?
I’m glad you asked! If you sat out the June SAT, for the reasons above or simply because you weren't on top of your testing timeline, here are the most important things I want to tell you:
1) Though time is not necessarily on your side, you still have plenty to work with, namely the August test date!
Because the College Board (the company that owns and operates the SAT) added an August test date last year, you now have another option that works for Early Decision and Early Action applications. But this only works if you take the time to study for it!
2) Take a breather, but not a “break.”
You technically already took the month of May off, didn’t you? So even though school’s out and it’s summertime madness, that doesn’t mean you can go AWOL. Keep up a consistent study plan. The last thing you want is to forget math and grammar topics that you already learned!
3) Double down for the month of August.
The four weeks leading up to the August test are critical! While you will have stayed connected to your knowledge of Evidence Questions and no-calculator math, treat August a bit like boot camp. If you saw a tutor once a week before (skipping a week here and there for summer vacation), see her twice weekly in August. Try to take 2-3 mock tests in testing conditions the few weeks before. Yes, you can do this by your pool!
4) If you can’t take the August test, get serious about October!
Let’s be real: you need to nail October. So treat it like it's your last chance—because it is—and don't forget to work on your college essays while you're doing it.
A shifting testing timeline can be confusing. I hope these tips help you navigate the changes whether they're something you're thinking about as you consider your plan well in advance (go you!) or whether you're scrambling (breathe, review my archive, and do the best you can with what you're working with). Either way, reach out if you need help making the best plan for YOU.