When Should I take my SAT IIs?

A lot of kids think of the SAT IIs as the ‘chill’ test, the one they can put off until senior year when they’re over the hump with everything else. We’re sorry to say, but we advise against putting off the SAT IIs. Or putting off anything. It was Ben Franklin who said, “don’t put off until tomorrow what you can do today,” and I walked by that quotation etched in stone too many times at Penn to not take his advice. So now we're passing his wisdom to you: get the SAT IIs out of the way.

We sympathize with the fact that, at the end of your senior year, you are already slammed with studying for APs and finals. The SAT IIs actually aren’t all that different from AP tests, so consider that if you study for those two tests in close proximity, you’re actually saving yourself extra work in the long run. A number of kids tell us that they would prefer to take the SAT IIs in August after they’ve had the chance to spend the summer studying. Let’s be real. It’s not like you’re going to know more three months after taking a course than you will right when you finish that course. Take them in June and register for them now. 

Strike a Balance

While for most students this means June of junior year, if you take an AP class earlier in your high school career, schedule the SAT II to follow—yes, that means that if you took AP Bio as a freshman, you should take the SAT II as a freshman, as well. We actually recommend taking one SAT II each year of your high school career to junior-year fatigue.

We also recommend that you strive towards achieving a balance of subjects. Even though you’re a humanities kid, you shouldn’t just take English, US History, and French. You should take an equal number of humanities and STEM subjects.

Secure Your Spot Now

This year was yet another record-breaking year for college applications. The number of kids applying to universities isn’t going down anytime soon. And despite the fact that some schools are opting out of the standardized test requirement, the top tier schools aren't. Yes, there are more test-sites opening up across the country, but the sites are still selling out fast. We recommend registering for two to three SAT IIs today to hold your spot. You can always change your mind and take less, or even opt out altogether down the road, but for now, do your future self a favor and give yourself the option.

Last year, one of our kids, Joseph, waited until May to register for the June test. Joseph lived in Manhattan and couldn’t find an available test site in any of the five New York boroughs. Thankfully, he found a spot in New Jersey, but ultimately, it meant he had to wake up an hour-and-a-half early the morning of the exam to make the commute. Losing sleep can affect your score. Don’t be like Joseph.

Need some help figuring out which SAT IIs are right for you? Contact us here.