Timing is important when planning to take the SAT and ACT. When taking standardized tests, you want to plan your test dates such that they will be valid when it comes time to apply to college. In this blog, we’ll answer all questions related to when you can and should take the SAT and ACT.
How long are my SAT scores valid?
Technically, they are valid forever. That said, after 5 years, your scores probably don’t mean a whole lot.
|"If you took the test 5 or more years ago, your scores will be accompanied by a note explaining that they may be less valid predictors of college academic performance than more recent test scores." CollegeBoard|
Furthermore, the SAT has changed significantly in the past year, so if you took the old test, it might be worth it to take it again. Some colleges place restrictions on the length of time between taking a test and submitting your scores, but usually this period is no less than 5 years.
How long are my ACT scores valid?
Like the SAT, 5 years about the cutoff. Technically the scores are never terminated, but ACT suggests using those scores may not be worth it.
|“ACT scores from more than five years ago may no longer be appropriate because they may not reflect your current level of educational development.” ACT|
In any case, you can request to have your scores sent for any test date after October 1, 1996. To receive them go to this ACT webpage.
How late can I take the SAT and ACT?
This depends on the application deadline.
For the SAT it depends.
- If you order free score reports, meaning you determined 4 colleges you'd like to send reports of your grades to by 9 days after thest, the colleges will receive scores between 29 and 32 days after you take the test.
- If you do not order free score reports, the colleges will see your scores between 34 and 43 days after taking the test.
CollegeBoard explains all details needed on this topic here.
In the case of the ACT, colleges receive scores according to the reporting method and schedule they select—at least every 2 weeks. Scores are not released to colleges until all scores are available for reporting. Most multiple choice scores (including the composite score), are available 2 weeks after the test date. Writing scores are typically available another 2 weeks after that. So you could be looking at a total of 4 weeks.
Therefore, you should not plan on taking the tests later than 1-2 months before the application deadline. You can check with the individual colleges how late they will accept scores.
Can I take the SAT and ACT after high school?
Absolutely! While some of the logistics and test prep methods might be different from that of a high school student taking the tests, you are never too old to take the SAT and ACT.
How early can I take the SAT or ACT?
Technically you can take them as early as you want. In regards to the SAT CollegeBoard says,
"Anyone can take the SAT. But the rules are a little different if you are:
These rules include being apart of one of their required youth talent agency, and requests for permanent record keeping if the student does not want the score removed from their records.
Read more about the rules here.
For the ACT, student's younger than 13 are required to register via mail due to internet laws.
|"Due to Internet privacy laws, students 12 years or younger cannot register online or create an ACT web account, even if their parents or guardians assist them or create their account."|
To get a registration packet go here.
If you do take the tests before 11th grade you should definitely expect to retake it in 11th or 12th. With a year or more of education your score should increase.
What it comes down to is that there’s no age limit to these tests. The only thing that can matter in these situations are whether or not the scores reflect your education level at the time of application, and if the school of interest will still accept the scores.
You need to begin prepping for the tests months in advanced, and the best online SAT, ACT and PSAT prep is right here at TestRocker. Give it a try for free and see why it is the award winning SAT/ACT prep program.