Are you or your child about to take the SAT? Here is a step by step guide for registering for the standardized test correctly and on time.
Check the test dates and the deadlines for registration
Depending on when you need the SAT score and the college application deadlines, you should choose the appropriate date for the SAT exam from the official College Board SAT administration dates and deadline website. The website provides detailed information on the date of the test day, the availability of SAT subject tests on that given date, the registration deadline, the late registration deadline for mailed or phone registrations, and the deadline for any changes which need to be made to the registration.
If you are interested in taking the international SAT test, check the webpage for dates, details, and deadlines here.
Choose whether you want to take the SAT with an essay and subject tests
You will find information on the subject tests and tests with essays offered for your particular test date of interest on the same web page of the College Board. It is advisable to check with the admissions offices of the colleges and universities of your choice about whether a SAT with essay or one or more SAT subject tests are required for applicants or not before registering to take the SAT.
Pick a date which is suitable for the SAT prep and your schedule
Even though high school students can start taking the SAT from their freshman year, it is advisable that they have undergone the proper SAT test prep well before the test date. This means beginning to prepare for the SAT from as early as before the junior year in high school.
Prepping for the SAT subject tests may require more time, and you should keep in mind for students applying to more selective colleges, which require SAT subject tests, that students need to register for the SAT and take the SAT subject test separately from the SAT itself. So, make sure that you plan the schedule for the prep and the actual tests carefully to allow for enough time for proper preparation for each, if you want the best results.
Find the appropriate testing center for taking the test
You can search the SAT code list booklet for the US and international testing centers, but it is advisable that you also perform a search in the dedicated search form at the website to ensure that the testing center is open for the dates you are interested in before you register for the exam.
Register for the SAT as soon as you have determined your schedule
As soon as you have determined when the appropriate time for the SAT is, go ahead and register in order to ensure that you meet all deadlines and that you can get a spot at the specific testing center of your choice.
Students can search by country or region, by test date, by state, and by city before they register for the SAT at the College Board website.
Registering for the SAT online
- Students are responsible for registering for their SAT, as parents or counselors cannot register for them.
- The student should sign in to their personal College Board account.
- They will be required to provide their full name and other ID information, which should be the same as the one on their photo ID.
- Students can fill in the answers to the questions, which will get added to the Student Search Service. This service is often used by colleges and universities to search for suitable applicants for their schools.
- If you don’t want to, you can skip this step, as it is not mandatory, but you can miss out on an opportunity of colleges finding you via the College Board Student Search Service.
- Then you need to select whether you are going to be taking the SAT with an essay or not. You can check out which schools currently require or recommend that their applicants take an SAT with an essay.
- Upload a current photo of yourself and be sure to meet the required parameters for the picture.
- After you are done, you can check out and then print out your SAT Admissions Ticket.
In some cases, you may also need to add the following information:
- The ID number of your SAT fee waiver card, if you are using one.
- The SSD number of the eligibility letter if you have been approved to take the SAT with accommodations.
- Add the code 970000 if you are homeschooled when you are asked to add your high school code.
Registering for the SAT by mail
If you need to register for the SAT by mail, you will need to:
- Ask your counselor for a Student Registration Booklet for the SAT and SAT subject tests. In it, there is an included registration form and an envelope.
- Fill out the registration form as required and add a photo of yourself. Make sure you fill out all of the fields which are marked as required and are colored in red.
- You should also add a document with the form of payment for the test.
- If applicable, include your fee waiver card or clergy letter.
Other tips for registering by mail:
- Your test registration form and materials must be postmarked in accordance with the US or International deadlines, depending on where you are taking the SAT.
- The SAT registration deadlines expire at 11:59 P.m. Eastern Time, USA
- Check out the late registration deadline if you are registering in the USA, and keep in mind that there is no late registration for international SAT registration.
The photo requirements for registering by mail include:
- A photo which is between 2 x 3 up to 2.5 x 3 inches in size
- It should not be a laminated photo from an ID card or other
- Write your full name, your date of birth, and the code of your high school on the back
- Tape it over the barcode using clear tape covering all four edges of the photo
- The photo should be clear, focused, full face, and should match your appearance on the test date
Making changes to the SAT registration
If you realize that you have made a mistake or need to make a change to the registered information for the test which you have already sent, then keep in mind the following:
- Print a new admission ticket with the changed or updated information – this is required for the test day.
- If you have registered by mail but need to make changes to the registration, you need to do it in the form of an online registration by signing into your account at the College Board’s website.
- The deadline for changing the information on your registration for the SAT is by 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, USA, on Monday, 5 days before the test date.
- There are no fees for making changes for your registration unless you are switching a registration for an SAT without an essay to a SAT with essay, in which case you will need to pay the difference between the two tests.
Canceling or being absent
If you need to cancel the registration, you may request a refund for the fee if you do not plan on rescheduling the test for another date.
If you are going to be absent on the test date, you can transfer your registration for any other test date during the year without paying a fee.
If you are going to be tested with accommodations at your school and need to make changes, then make arrangements with your SSD coordinator.
If your test happens to be rescheduled, you will get a notification by the SAT program, and if you are registered, you can take a makeup test at the same test center with an updated admissions ticket.
What to do once you have registered for the SAT
Once you are done, you can go on with your test prep, or if you have not started preparing for the SAT, create a study plan with your counselor, private tutor or sign up for an SAT prep course or program.
You may also want to take a full-length practice test to see where you stand, and which sections and areas you need to focus on more in order to achieve your SAT target score.