A guide to the most important and common questions about the SAT including whether you should take the SAT, when the 2022 SAT test dates are, when the 2022 SAT scores will be released, and how to understand your SAT test scores.
If you have additional questions about the SAT or your SAT scores that we did not answer here, please contact the team at Powerful Prep.
- Should I take an SAT or is it optional?
- Should I take an SAT or ACT test?
- When do you take the SAT?
- Best SAT Prep Method to Improve Your SAT Score
- SAT dates 2022-2023 (Updated 11/03/2022)
- When do SAT scores come out?
- What Time Are SAT Scores Released?
- How do I get my SAT scores?
- What is a Good Score on the SAT?
- What is the Average SAT Score?
- How To Understand Your SAT Percentile
- How many times can you take the SAT?
- What are SAT benchmarks?
- How to improve sat scores
- Schedule a FREE Consultation
Should I take an SAT or is it optional?
There are three basic situations in which you should take the SAT:
- If you feel that your college application needs a more competitive edge
- If you can score competitively for your target school
- When the school you’re applying to requires the SAT (a few but growing number do, now that the pandemic has enabled testing again)
In our experience, most students fall in this category, especially those trying to get into competitive schools such as the Ivy League.
If you aren’t sure what applies to you or if you are simply interested in knowing more, we go into more depth about whether or not you should test in our guide: Do I Need To Take an SAT or ACT Test?
Should I take an SAT or ACT test?
When deciding between the ACT vs SAT, you only have to pick the test which is better for you. There are no colleges or universities that prefer one test over the other, so you do not need to worry about your admission chances being affected because you took the SAT instead of the ACT.
To figure out if you should take an SAT or ACT, start by looking at our guide and take the quiz: ACT vs SAT: Which Test Should You Take.
To confirm the recommendation, take both tests in a practice setting and then focus on the test in which you have a better starting score.
We don’t recommend skipping this step, but for a very quick recommendation:
- the SAT is better for students who are strong in Math, especially advanced algebra.
- the ACT is generally better suited for students who do well in English and Reading and who do not struggle with working under strict time constraints.
If, on reading this, you think the ACT is the better test for you, then you should read the partner article of this one, 2022 ACT Test Dates & When To Expect Your SAT Score.
When do you take the SAT?
You can take the SAT as early as you like or as late as December of your Senior year, though this is not recommended. Ideally, you should take the SAT and be done with testing by early Senior year. So plan on registering for at least one SAT date before your Senior year.
Most students take the SAT in the Spring of their Junior year or the Fall of their Senior year.
But, as we will explain, you should take the SAT whenever you feel prepared.
Here are three very important rules of thumb to help you determine when the nest SAT test date for you is:
- You should take the SAT when your practice score matches your target score.
- Do not take the SAT, “just to see where you’re starting.”
- And do not take the test hoping to score higher than you have been scoring in practice. Most students score lower in the actual test than they do in practice.
Additionally, you will have likely seen all the material on the SAT in your high school classes by your Junior year. You want to make sure that you have taken at least Algebra 1 and Geometry.
Remember, if you are not sure whether or not you are prepared, then be sure to take a practice SAT and see if your SAT score is where you want it before registering for an official SAT test date.
Do I need test prep before I take the SAT?
You need to prepare if your SAT practice score is not in at least the 50th percentile of your target school’s accepted score.
For example, Harvard has a 50th percentile accepted score of around 1540 (the SAT is out of 1600). This means 50% of the students they admit have a higher score, and 50% have a lower score. If your target school is Harvard, you should score at least a 1540.
If your practice score is not there, then you should plan to prepare.
When should I start test prep for the SAT?
If you know you will need to prepare for the SAT, keep that preparation time in mind when thinking about your future test date.
Most of our students prep with us for about three months, and see a growth of about 100 points per month.
So, if you know you will need to gain a lot of points, plan for a longer prep time, and if you only need to gain a small amount of points, you can plan for a shorter prep time.
Should I Start Preparing for the SAT before Freshman Year?
The only reasons to start prepping for the SAT before freshman year would be:
- you were targeting one of the talent-search programs for 8th-graders, which use the SAT as a qualifier.
- you were dead set on achieving National Merit recognition, in which case additional prep might be warranted
For high school students looking to use the SAT as an admissions test (as most do) Sophomore year makes sense to start SAT test prep because:
- Most sophomores will be learning the math needed for the SAT/ACT (Algebra II and Geometry)
- It allows you to start prepping before the intensity of Junior year sets in
If you will not be taking the math you need for the test during sophomore year, then you might want to wait, or budget some additional prep time to learn the math you will encounter on the SAT math section
Best SAT Prep Method to Improve Your SAT Score
One-on-one SAT test prep, group SAT test prep, and self-study SAT test prep are three ways students can work to improve their SAT scores.
One-on-one SAT prep tutor
With a good one-on-one tutor you should be able to improve your SAT score by about 300 points within 3 months.
- Powerful Prep students gain an average increase of 15 points per tutor session
- On average, Powerful Prep students improve their SAT score by 150 points
- Some star pupils have increased their SAT scores by as much as 300 points
- Minimum point gain guarantee: 100*
Our proven approach creates higher SAT scores, guaranteed.
At Powerful Prep, we guarantee outstanding results for the students we work with. With the average point gains listed above, our elite instructors help students achieve real results that propel them to better schools and brighter futures.
Group SAT tutoring
With a good group tutoring program, you should be able to improve your SAT score by about 150 points in 2 months.
For group tutoring, we recommend Prep Expert.
Self Study for the SAT
With self-study, you will have a lot of flexibility, but you could gain points more slowly. Still, this is a very affordable option, and perhaps a good place to start.
Be sure to check out the following resources:
- How To Get a Good SAT Score on Your Own (Plus a bonus SAT Study Plan)
- These Are The Best SAT Prep Books To Help You Achieve Higher Scores
What is a good SAT prep schedule?
If you need more help deciding what your test prep schedule should look like, read our article which goes into more detail on the subject:
- When Do You Take The SAT? How To Pick The Best Test Date
- How Long Should I Study For The SAT or ACT?
We also recommend not waiting until the last minute to take the SAT.
If you put all your hopes in the October/November tests of your Senior year, then you had best brace for disappointment: if you do not get the score you want or need by then, then you will have practically no time to do so before college applications are due.
Powerful Prep recommends that you try to get all your SAT testing done 2 months before your college application deadlines. Otherwise, your scores may not be available in time for college consideration.
SAT dates 2022-2023 (Updated 11/03/2022)
Here are the upcoming SAT test dates for the 2022-23 and 2023-24 school years as outlined on the CollegeBoard’s website:
|SAT Test Date
|Deadline for Changes, Regular Cancellation, and Late Registration
|Aug 26, 2023
|Paper: Jul 28, 2023
Digital: Aug 11, 2023
|Aug 15, 2023
|Oct 7, 2023
|Paper: Sept 8, 2023
Digital: Sept 22, 2023
|Sept 26, 2023
|Nov 4, 2023
|Paper: Oct 6, 2023
Digital: Oct 20, 2023
|Oct 24, 2023
|Dec 2, 2023
|Paper: Nov 3, 2023
Digital: Nov 17, 2023
|Nov 21, 2023
|Mar 9, 2024
|Feb 23, 2024
|Feb 27, 2024**
|May 4, 2024
|Apr 19, 2024
|Apr 23, 2024**
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When do SAT scores come out?
SAT scores generally come out 2-4 weeks after you take your test.
SAT scores come out closer to 2 weeks if you take your test on a weekend or 3 weeks if you are taking your test on a weekday.
If you took the SAT test with the essay, then your SAT essay score will come out a few days after you receive your multiple choice score.
The College Board will send you an email when your SAT score is ready.
SAT score release date for SATs taken in school on a weekday
At many schools, students can now take advantage of an SAT School Day, which allows students to take the SAT at their school on a weekday.
If you took the SAT on one of these dates, you can expect your SAT scores to be released on:
|Most Scores Available
|Oct 12, 2022
|Nov 2, 2022
|Oct 27, 2022
|Nov 17, 2022
|Mar 1, 2023
|Mar 23, 2023
|Mar 22, 2023
|Apr 14, 2023
|Apr 12, 2023
|May 3, 2023
|Apr 25, 2023
|May 18, 2023
What Time Are SAT Scores Released?
According to the CollegeBoard, the time SAT scores are released will be staggered among students:
On score release day, about half the students will be able to see their scores online by 8 a.m. ET; the other half will typically see them no later than 8 p.m. ET. We’ll email you when your scores are ready so you won’t need to check throughout the day.Collegeboard
If you specified a college to send scores to on your SAT form, the College Board will send your SAT score within 10 days of when you received your score.
How do I get my SAT scores?
The easiest way to get your scores is to create an account on the College Board Website, then go to “Student Score Reports.”
The College Board will mail you a paper score report if you do not have an online account and if you signed up for the SAT by mail.
Outside of this circumstance, however, an online CollegeBoard account is the only way to get your score report.
Understanding Your SAT Score
Your Total Score will be a number between 400 and 1600 and represents your overall performance on the SAT. So, 1600 is the highest possible score you can receive on the SAT.
Your SAT score is also the most important number on your score report and the one colleges will be most concerned with.
SAT Section Scores
You will also receive two Section Scores:
- Evidence-Based Reading
- Writing and one in Math
Each of these will be a number between 200 and 800.
In fact, your Total SAT Score was calculated by adding these two Section Scores together.
Understanding your SAT Score Range
If you are viewing your Score Report online, then you will likely also see a Score Range for your Total Score and Section Scores.
Your Score Range represents the range of scores you might have gotten if you were to take the SAT multiple times on different days without additional preparation. In other words, it represents what could have happened to your score had you taken it on a “better day” or a “worse one.”
The difference between your Score Range and your Total or Section Scores will be minimal at best: plus or minus less than 50 points.
So if your Total Score was 1010, you could expect your SAT Score Range to be 970 – 1050.
Some colleges will look at your Score Range when considering your application, but not all.
SAT Scores, Cross-Test Scores, and Subscores
You may also notice a few other sections on your score report detailing your Test Scores, Cross-Test Scores, and Subscores.
These highlight your abilities in certain areas of the test, such as your mastery of basic algebra or comprehension of scientific concepts.
These scores are a great way of figuring out what areas you need to improve in.
What is a Good Score on the SAT?
A good score is one that meets or exceeds the average accepted SAT score of the school to which you are applying. Just because your score may not be competitive at the likes of Harvard does not mean that your score is “bad.”
In general, schools like Loyola Marymount look for a score of 1300 or above; schools like UCLA look for a score of 1400 or above (note that even though the UC schools no longer accept SAT scores, this is still an accurate target for similarly competitiveness schools).
This is by no means an all inclusive list, so you should be sure to research what the average accepted SAT scores for your target schools are. Finding out is as easy as a simple Google search.
What is the Average SAT Score?
The average SAT score in 2021 was 1060.
The average Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score was 533, and the average SAT Math score was 528.
How To Understand Your SAT Percentile
On your SAT score report, you can see your Percentiles listed underneath your Total Score and your Section scores.
Your SAT Percentile is a way of comparing your performance on the SAT to other students who took the test.
It represents what percentage of other students scored the same as or worse than you. So, if you scored in the 70th percentile, then you scored the same as or better than 70% of students.
You will see two different percentiles next to each score:
- Nationally Representative Sample Percentile
- Your Nationally Representative Sample is an estimated percentile which compares you to typical high school students in the US, even those who did not take the SAT.
- SAT User Percentile
- Your SAT User Percentile compares you to other students who took the SAT.
In general, colleges care more about the SAT User Percentile than the Nationally Representative Sample.
That said, while SAT Percentiles are a useful metric for seeing how you stack up against other students, colleges ultimately care more about your Total SAT Score.
You can see what percentile to expect based on your score in the table below:
|SAT Total Score
|SAT User Percentile (2021)
|Nationally Representative Sample
|99 and above
How many times can you take the SAT?
You can take the SAT as many times as you want.
We recommend that you take the SAT test twice if you can, as your score is likely to improve during your second attempt (even if your preparations between sittings were minimal).
This piece of advice is not unique to Powerful Prep.
Most sources, including the CollegeBoard itself, recommend trying to take the test more than once.
That said, we recommend that you take the SAT no more than three times. Even if you prepare seriously, your score is not likely to see a significant improvement after the third attempt, and your energy would be better spent on other parts of your college application.
What are SAT benchmarks?
On your SAT score report, you may notice a College Readiness Benchmark for your Total and Section Scores.
According to The CollegeBoard, if your score meets or exceeds the benchmark, then you have a 75% chance of earning a C or higher in your corresponding first year college courses. In other words, they tell you if you are “ready for college.”
You do not need to worry about whether or not you reach a particular benchmark: as we have said before, colleges are more interested in your Composite SAT Score.
If your SAT score is within or above the average SAT score range they accept, then colleges will not care if you meet The College Board’s criteria for college readiness.
Instead, just like the Detailed Results section of your report, benchmarks are better used as a guide for helping you determine what academic areas you need to improve in.
How to improve sat scores
In all seriousness, the SAT is a heavily formulated, and you can easily improve your SAT score by learning its tricks and reviewing the necessary material.
We, at PowerfulPrep, have dedicated ourselves to helping students improve their SAT scores, and if you are interested in improving your score quickly, you can book a consultation with us.
Schedule a FREE Consultation
Marc Gray, Client Success Manager
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Learn how our expertise can help your student get into their dream school using a customized test prep program.
Schedule a consultation using the calendar to the right.
Need answers now? Call us at 805-876-4687 now to discuss.
Schedule a FREE Consultation
Learn how our expertise can help your student get into their dream school using a customized test prep program.
Schedule a consultation using the calendar below. Need answers now? Call us at 805-876-4687 now to discuss.