Parents FAQs: SAT

FAQs

How is the SAT different from the ACT?

The SAT gives test takers more time per question than the ACT®. The ACT has a science section; the SAT doesn't. The SAT is the only test to offer free, world-class practice tools to all students with Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy®. Both tests are accepted by colleges, and no preference is given to either test.

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What's the best way for students to prepare for the SAT?

Take challenging courses in high school and work hard. Day-to-day classroom work and homework develops the knowledge and skills students need to succeed on the SAT.

Go to Official SAT Practice at Khan Academy for free, personalized practice by the people who create the SAT. We recommend students practice at least 6–8 hours on Khan Academy to prepare, though many students practice more.

Take the PSAT/NMSQT, the PSAT 10, and the PSAT 8/9 (if your child's school administers these tests). These tests help students get ready for the SAT.

Explore more free practice resources.

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When should students start using Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy?

There's no hard-and-fast rule, but the more time students spend on Khan Academy, the more likely they'll feel well prepared for the SAT.

We recommend that students create their Khan Academy account in the fall of their junior year. If they've taken the PSAT/NMSQT, they can use those scores to get personalized practice for the SAT. If they haven’t taken the PSAT/NMSQT, they can take a few short quizzes to find out what skills they need to practice. Then, they’ll have several months to practice before taking the SAT in spring of junior year.

Help your child create a practice schedule on Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy and stick to it. Like sports or music, the key to feeling prepared is committing to practice.

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How do you link College Board and Khan Academy accounts?

First, your child needs to sign up for an account on Khan Academy at satpractice.org. When they do, they'll be prompted to connect to their College Board account. Watch a video showing you how.

Linking College Board and Khan Academy accounts will give your child a personalized SAT study plan based on their results from the PSAT/NMSQT or the SAT.

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Is Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy as good as expensive test prep?

Yes. In fact, Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy has several advantages over other test-prep companies.

It's the only SAT practice site of its kind that’s officially endorsed by the College Board. We know what’s on the SAT because we make it.

The full-length practice SATs that you’ll find on Khan Academy are official and exclusive—you won’t find them for free anywhere else, except on the College Board's SAT site.

Official SAT Practice is personalized to focus on exactly what your child needs to work on most. As your child's skills improve and grow, their study plan will adapt for them.

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Can students outside the U.S. take the SAT?

Yes. Students can register at one of our international test centers. Learn more about taking the SAT outside the U.S.

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Can students outside the U.S. use Official SAT Practice?

Yes. Official SAT Practice on Khan Academy is available online for all students, including students outside the United States, to get ready for the SAT.

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How can my child make changes to their SAT registration?

Your child can log into their College Board account to make the following changes to their SAT registration:

  • Test date
  • Test center
  • Type of test

For other changes, such as correcting your child’s name or date of birth, contact Customer Service at 866-756-7346 or contact SAT Support. Learn more about making changes to SAT registrations.

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How many times can a student take the SAT, and when should they take it?

Students can take the SAT as many times as they want. We recommend that they take it at least twice—in the spring of their junior year and the fall of their senior year.

Most students get a higher score the second time, and most colleges consider a student's highest SAT score when making admission decisions.

Another reason to take the SAT a second time is that many schools use a process called "superscoring." Superscoring is when a college combines a student's highest Math section score with their highest Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section score, even if those scores are from different test dates, to come up with the student's total SAT score.

If your child only takes the SAT once, it’s best to take it in the spring of their junior year.

For more information to help you decide when your child should take the SAT, visit the College Board Blog.

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To qualify for more scholarships, when should students take the SAT?

Because scholarships have different requirements and deadlines, there's no one right time to take the SAT to improve your child's chances of getting one. Be sure to read each scholarship's requirements closely to find out if your child needs to have an SAT score by a certain date.

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Which scores will colleges look at if my child took the SAT more than once?

Most colleges consider a student's best section scores across all administration dates (a process called superscoring). Some may require you to send all scores; others may ask for just one. Be sure to visit the website of the college that's right for your student and check their score policy.

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Can my child take the SAT with accommodations?

Yes—as long we approve the accommodation. We offer a range of testing accommodations for students with disabilities, including extended time, braille format tests, large-type format tests, MP3 format tests, and more. Requesting accommodations is a process that usually involves the school, and you may need to provide documentation of the disability. College Board must approve an accommodation before a student may test with that accommodation.

When colleges receive SAT scores, they won’t know if a student took the SAT with accommodations. Learn more at our Services for Students with Disabilities site.

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What do colleges look for in an SAT score?

Each college has its own approach and policy when it comes to SAT scores, so don't forget to check their websites. Remember, SAT scores are just one part of a student's college application. Admission officers factor in high school grades and courses, extracurricular activities, application essays, and recommendation letters when making their decision.

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Can my child choose which scores to send to colleges?

Yes. They can select their best score by test date and send it to colleges. They can't send just the Math score or Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score. They must send the full score report. Learn more about sending scores.

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