Can I Take the SAT as a Senior? YES!

sat applied as a senior

Among the top questions that our readers have been sending is “Can I take the SAT as a senior?

The short answer is: YES, this is possible indeed.

For instance, you could aim to take your SAT in the fall of your senior year. Whatever your reasons may be, it’s to your benefit to lock in your test date as soon as you possibly can. The reason is that there are certain deadlines to keep in mind, and you’re going to want to send your SAT test scores to colleges in a timely manner.

For most colleges, this is going to be in the range between November and January (but again, this can vary from college to college, so make sure to do your due diligence). However, for Early Decision or Early Action applicants, the deadline is even sooner, typically somewhere between October and November.

If you absolutely can’t make it in time, the good news is that certain colleges are now SAT optional. But then again, this might limit your options regarding what college to enroll in. Therefore, the best strategy is to take your SAT preparation seriously and practice using all the resources available to you, including prep books, SAT practice tests, etc. Novel Prep also has SAT prep centers in California for those who need extra help.

For those who already know that taking their SAT before senior year won’t be possible, we’ve prepared some key takeaways and valuable tips to make your SAT planning easier.

Is taking the SAT in your senior year too late?

From a completely formal point of view, you CAN take your the SAT in your senior year. Now, whether you should, is a completely different question. We’d like to encourage you to take it as soon as possible to ensure you catch those college-related deadlines, but at the same time, we understand that life can sometimes throw a curveball and each person’s individual situation may be completely different and unique.

If you already know you’ll be taking it in your senior year, finalizing your scores during the summer before you enter your senior year is a good way to go. That way, you’ll be able to focus solely on the exam ahead. In addition, you’ll have ample time to complete your college application, put together your personal statement, and do everything else your college of choice requires you to do.

If summer is not an option, you could still technically take your SAT in the fall of your senior year; however, in this case, you’ll be piling on such a massive time sink on top of your other responsibilities, so it’s not recommended. Keep in mind you’ll likely be pretty busy with your regular classwork at the time.

On top of that, taking your SAT in the fall could limit your options in terms of retakes if you’re not satisfied with your score. If the latter is the case, Novel Prep’s SAT test preparation can help you.

Do SAT scores still matter in 2024?

Although the answer to this question depends on each individual college, in most cases, the answer is going to be ‘yes’. Keep in mind that:

  • Your SAT score is used as a metric that qualifies you for a scholarship. It’s in your best interest to be aiming for one, as this effectively takes out some of the financial strain during your college years and eliminates the need to secure a student loan.
  • The SAT score can give you an edge over the other applicants. Even though it may be optional, remember that colleges need to rank the applicants somehow to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Colleges that will certainly consider your SAT or ACT score include:

  • University of Florida
  • Florida State University
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  • University of Central Florida
  • Georgia Institute of Technology
  • University of Georgia
  • Georgetown University
  • University of Tennessee in Knoxville

Taking the SAT in your junior vs. senior year

With everything being said, there is actually a solid argument for taking your SAT during your senior year as opposed to your junior year, and that is by opting for the former, you:

  • Give yourself ample time to familiarize yourself with the test;
  • prepare for it better;
  • and ace the score.

You can also take advantage of SAT test tutoring and preparation services offered by Novel Prep.

Below, we’ll give you a back-to-back comparison of each of the options available to you and highlight their respective advantages.

Taking your SAT during the junior year

  • Gives you plenty of time to prepare
  • An opportunity to re-take the exam later
  • Lets you identify the gaps in your knowledge

For instance, you could take your SAT during the spring of your junior year to enjoy the benefits listed above. If you’re not happy with your score, you can always re-take it in your senior year.

Taking your SAT during the senior year

  • A good way to get extra time to familiarize yourself with the test
  • Acts as a backup option if life gets in the way

The drawbacks of waiting until your senior year to take the SAT

Now that you know the advantages of taking your SAT during your senior year vs. your junior year, it’s time to take a look at the other side of the coin – the drawbacks.

The most important disadvantage of delaying it is limiting your options in terms of re-takes if you’re not happy with your score. Through tutoring, you can polish your academic skills to ace your grade in Math and English, arguably the most crucial two subjects.

Keep in mind that college application deadlines are looming, and you’re likely to find yourself under a lot of pressure, since you’ll also need to allocate time to your extracurricular activities, coursework, college applications and getting your credit GPA up.

Note that preparing to take your SAT can be both time-intensive and mentally taxing.

Are there any deadlines you should know?

First of all, there are college application deadlines you need to take into account and plan accordingly. The good news is, in most cases, you’ll know your SAT score 2 weeks after completing the exam, often even less. So even if you choose to wait until fall to take your SAT test, chances are you’ll know your SAT score by December.

While you technically could wait until the last minute to get your ducks in a row, Novel Prep generally advises against it, as doing so tends to create unnecessary pressure on students.

In fact, taking your SAT as early as possible would still likely give you enough SAT prep time to get ready, not to mention giving you an opportunity to re-take the test if you’re not happy with the score.

Note that you should have your SAT score finalized when submitting your college application.


Your SAT score still matters as most colleges tend to consider it when short-listing candidate applications. Moreover, a good SAT score can make it easy to secure a nice scholarship, effectively easing some of the financial burden associated with your student years.

While taking your SAT during your senior high school years is an option, Novel Prep generally advises against it, as aiming to get it done earlier gives you more time to re-take it if need be and improve your SAT results. At the same time, we also understand that sometimes, life gets in the way of things, so if that’s the case, know that the last ship is set to sail in December of your senior high school year.

So note the deadlines and make the best use of your time – after all, you need to submit your college application on time while handling all your coursework all while preparing for your SAT exam. The earlier you get it done, the better. And, as always, get in touch with Novel Prep if you need some extra help – we’re committed to helping you get where you want to be academically, every step of the way.


What is the SAT and why does it matter?

The SAT is a multiple-choice exam, measuring your reading, writing, and math skills. Colleges in the U.S. use it to determine the most promising candidates. A good SAT score can also help you secure the application and a good scholarship.

Is taking the SAT mandatory?

Taking the SAT is optional. However, keep in mind that most colleges will want to see your SAT score, since that’s how they pre-select the candidates. Therefore, a good SAT score improves your odds of being accepted.

How many times per year can I take the SAT?

You can take the SAT 7 times per year, from March to December.

Can I take the SAT as a senior?

Yes, you can. However, Novel Prep generally advises students to take it at their earliest convenience, given that you can always retake it later if you’re not satisfied with the results. In fact, some students even choose to apply for college in their junior years, in which case you’d also need to complete your SAT early.

Can I improve my SAT score?

Yes. If you’re not satisfied with your SAT score, you can re-take the test, provided there are still some SAT test dates available. The highest score from each section will become your highest SAT score. Generally, most people take their SAT exam two times, but you can retake it as many times as you want.

Do colleges care about your SAT score?

This depends on the college you’re applying to. Although the SAT is not technically a requirement, the vast majority of colleges in the US take a look at your SAT score to determine whether you’re a suitable candidate. This is especially true for some of the world’s most highly acclaimed schools like Ivy League colleges.

Is there a formula for calculating the SAT score?

The SAT score is determined based on a 1600-point scale. The final score consists of two sections: reading/writing, and math. In each of the two, you can get a score between 200 and 800. The total score will be between 400 and 800. Speaking of which, it might be a good idea to take online math tutoring services provided by Novel Prep if math is not exactly your strong point.

When is the best time to take the SAT?

This depends on each individual and their needs. A general rule of thumb is to take it whenever you’re ready. To gauge that, it’s a good idea to take a SAT practice exam. Try to take it in your junior year if at all possible.

What is the absolute latest time to take the SAT exam?

That would be in November or December of your senior high school year. However, please be advised that waiting until the last minute carries several risks, including underperforming due to an illness and not being to improve your score later on due to college application deadlines.

Is there a difference between the SAT and the ACT?

In general, the SAT tends to give you more time to answer a question. The tasks involve lengthy problem-solving. In comparison, the ACT has more questions for you to answer, so you’ll be under more time pressure to act (no pun intended). In terms of how long each exam takes, they are about the same at 3 hours each. Also, the ACT uses a different formula to determine the final score.

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