The May SAT tends to get a bad rap. Typically, it falls on a weekend that either precedes or follows the annual two weeks of AP testing (the worst-case scenario is when it falls on the weekend in between the two weeks). For international students taking the British or International Baccalaureate curricula, it tends to coincide with their preparation for A-Levels or IB exams.
But unlike the fall SAT test dates, the May SAT is a sitting that consists largely of Sophomores and Juniors (year 11's and 12's in the British system). Therefore, whether you took the SAT or the SAT Subject Tests, you likely aren't stuck in the peril of “last chance” syndrome – and unlike Seniors in the fall, you have the glorious opportunity to re-take SAT exams in the fall.
Your May SAT scores are available online starting TODAY. Whatever you do, don’t procrastinate – make sure to retrieve your scores immediately. Like most students, you’ll probably be looking at your scores and thinking one of three things:
- 1. “GREAT! I’m done!”
- 2. “Oh no, these suck”
- 3. “Hmm…These are OK, but I wonder if I can do better?”
Whatever your reaction, or even if you didn't take the May SAT, you should aim for scores that are near the high end of your prospective colleges’ average SAT scores and, if yours are falling short, you should strongly consider a re-take (The most credible source of average SAT scores is the College Board’s “Big Future” pages). The summer months present a perfect time for further preparation, so unless your score is perfect, there is always room for improvement.
If you’re taking the SAT, then shoot for the October and/or November test date. Same with SAT Subject Tests – if you take the SAT in October, you can take the Subject Tests in November and then the December test date is open for a re-take of either.
The only caveat is that early applications are due before the November and December test scores are released, so be careful when scheduling in the November and December test dates, especially if you are applying early decision/early action. Just as you should look at your prospective colleges’ average SAT scores, you should also double-check to find out their testing deadlines.
Some colleges allow you to submit scores from exams taken after their application deadlines. You just have to submit them blindly, meaning that you’ll automatically submit scores without knowing what you’re going to get. If you have any questions about these deadlines, there’s a simple solution: call the college’s admissions office and they’ll be happy to give you straight answers.
With all of that said, students’ very highest priority this time of year should be their final exams. So, once you've taken a few minutes to map out your summer SAT plan, get back to studying and have a great finish to the school year!
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