Congratulations, you’re done taking the SAT! However, the pressure isn’t completely off yet – now it’s time to wait for the SAT score release date to see how you did. In this article, we’ll tell you exactly when you can expect to get your scores back, how you can view your scores, and when colleges will have access to your scores.

How long does it take to get scores?

If you took the SAT on a day when it was administered nationwide, you can expect to get your scores back within 2 weeks. If you take the test during the summer, you might have to wait a little longer.

Colleges will typically receive scores 10 days after this online release, but it could take longer for the scores to show up on your application, depending on how quickly the school is able to process the scores.

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When your score is released, it will include your total score along with both of your composite scores from the math and the evidence-based reading and writing sections. If you’ve requested more score reports, this might take longer to process.

Back in the day, there was a way to view scores early. Unfortunately, this is no longer an option.

When is the SAT score release date?

You can expect to see your SAT scores around 13 days after your test date. If you took your SAT on a Saturday, scores are usually released the second Friday after your test date. 

There are circumstances where it may take more than 2 weeks to receive your scores that are explained in this blog, but if you’re currently thinking “TLDR,” here are some of the reasons your scores may not be ready in two weeks:

  • You took your SAT in school on a weekday
  • You took your SAT outside of the U.S. or Canada
  • Your SAT scores are marked “under review”
  • Your registration or test sheet had errors
  • You took your SAT during a worldwide pandemic (delays from COVID-19 shouldn’t affect release dates anymore – while this is being written, at least – but we can’t rule anything out at this point)
  • College Board is just running behind!

Need help finding your scores? Check out this link. 

What’s the hold-up?

You might be thinking, for a standardized test with multiple choice answers, why does it take so long to grade? Well, a few reasons actually! You have to remember that this is a huge exam that’s taken internationally; though it seems simple, it’s actually more complex.

College Board has a long score process but some things that take extra time are test audits, analysis of score data, reviewal of any questions that may need to be canceled, etc. 

There are lots of reasons why scoring this test takes so long, but I can guarantee you that emailing College Board “what’s taking so long?” won’t make them go any faster. 

What if I take the SAT on a school day?

If you took your SAT at school on a weekday, there may be more of a delay in seeing your scores. While “normal” SAT dates have a turnaround of about 2 weeks, in-school testing tends to lean more towards 3 weeks. 

I’ll mention this a few times throughout this blog, but getting your results early isn’t an advantage in college decisions. It’s definitely nice to know your scores earlier so you have more time to retake the test if you need to, but in the eyes of college admissions counselors, someone submitting scores before you does not make them a more competitive candidate than you. 

That being said, one extra week of wait time won’t necessarily make a difference unless you’re down to the wire on getting your applications in. Chances are though if you’re taking your SAT in school, they’ve planned it to be far enough in advance to not face any timing issues. 

What time of day do the scores come out?

Scores come out sometimes as early as 5 am, but there’s no guarantee. You can expect scores to be released in waves, so if your friend is blowing up your phone with their score reactions and you don’t see yours yet, don’t worry. 

If you’d like to stay glued to your laptop all day, I won’t stop you, but a watched pot never boils. There’s no set time that scores are released in a day, so don’t feel pressured to reserve your day waiting for them. You’ll get an email when your scores are ready, and most scores are available before 8 pm E.T. 

Rumors have it he, too, was waiting for his SAT scores. Don’t be like him. Go live your life; your scores will still be there when you get back.

How do I get my scores?

On the College Board homepage, sign in and access My SAT. Through the My SAT portal, you’ll be able to see all of your SAT and PSAT scores. 

Don’t see your score? It’s more likely that you don’t see your score yet. Scroll back up this blog if you’re looking for the exact timeline to expect for your scores. 

SAT scores are only available online through My SAT. You won’t receive any results in the mail, by email, or by carrier pigeon. Make sure you remember your log-in credentials so you don’t have any delays in seeing your scores. 

The SAT only releases results online… unfortunately.

When do the scores get to schools?

It takes around 1-2 weeks for SAT score reports to get to schools. You should keep this time in mind when you’re registering for the SAT, you don’t want to risk your scores not arriving at your chosen universities in time. 

There’s no advantage to submitting test scores early, so don’t feel pressured to send them immediately after seeing your scores (unless you’re getting them last minute, then maybe have a little pep in your step). 

After you’ve received your scores, give yourself some time to fully digest them before sending them to your colleges of choice. You want to make sure you’re sending scores you’re confident in, and that you know the university will deem as quality. Once you can see how you performed on the test, make sure your score is high enough for your choice schools, then start the process of sending them out. 

Should I submit my SAT score to a test-optional school?

Test-optional means a university doesn’t require you to submit test scores in your application; it became all the rage during peak COVID times since students couldn’t test in person, but some schools still operate under this application style. 

Now, if the schools you’re applying to are test-optional, don’t consider that a complete test write-off. It’s test-optional, not test-blind. Submitting test scores can still back up your application and make you a more competitive student.

Here’s the deal: if your score is above the 75th percentile (600 Math/610 ERW), you should probably submit your scores. It’s most beneficial to see what the college’s average SAT score is before you apply and work off of that, but if that information isn’t available to you, scores above the 75th percentile are usually helpful for a test-optional application. 

As I mentioned, this isn’t a catch-all for every school. The University of Southern California (USC) is currently test-optional, but normally their test averages are in the 700s for both math and ERW. Submitting a score just over the 75th percentile wouldn’t necessarily help you here, and you’d want to avoid submitting those scores. 

Long story short, should you submit scores to a test-optional school? Maybe! It can be helpful to bulk up your application, but only if the scores are good enough to be helpful for you. 

How to Understand Your SAT Score

Once you have your score, you might be confused about what it all means, so let’s break it down. Your score is presented in two ways, a composite score and two section scores – Math and Evidence-Based Reading & Writing (ERW).

Your composite score will be a number between 400 and 1600 and is a combined score based on your two section scores. This is what most people mean when they are asking for you SAT score. 

Your section scores will be numbers between 200 and 800 and will rank your performance in each section of the test. These are the main scores you will need for your college applications, but the score report goes further into test scores, cross-test scores, and subscores. It all sounds slightly complicated but let me explain. 

These additional scores are more for you to understand how you did on the exam. Heart of Algebra and Problem Solving & Data Analysis are two subscores of your SAT score, and these can tell you how you did on specific kinds of questions that make up your math section score. Does that make sense? Think of your SAT score report like an onion, if the whole onion is your composite score, your section scores, test scores, cross-test scores, and subscores are just layers within that onion. 

If you’re planning to retake the SAT, pay close attention to your subscores and the other layers to that onion – I’m going to drop the analogy now. These subscores are going to tell you exactly what skills you’re exceeding in, and which ones you should spend extra work on before your next go at the test. 

You’ll also get to see your scores  presented as percentiles so you can better understand how you performed compared to other students on a national level. For example, if your report says your ERW score is in the 64th percentile, that means you performed better than 64% of students on the ERW section of the SAT. 

How do I know if my score is good enough?

Even with percentiles, averages, and all the other analytical mumbo jumbo, it can still be confusing to figure out if you’ve met the benchmarks you need to in order to get into your choice schools. There are a few ways to see if your score is “good.”

Start by taking a look at average SAT scores from other students in your area. We’ve already collected all the information, so check this out if you’re looking for your state’s average SAT score. You want to make sure you’re at least on par with other students near you. 

Next, consider the schools you are applying to and research the average test scores of their admitted students. You can find this information pretty easily, by Googling “UCLA average SAT score” for example. Aim to meet or exceed these scores. Test scores aren’t everything in a college application, but underperforming definitely won’t help you get in. 

If you’re good on both counts, your score is probably “good enough!” I’m using quotes here because everyone’s “good enough” will be different. As long as your score will allow you to keep on with your college goals and plans, it’s “good enough.”

What if I want a higher score?

More often than not, when students retake the test, they get a higher score. In fact, 2 out of 3 students will increase their score when they take the exam more than once. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you didn’t get your dream score your first time taking the SAT. 

Feeling Overwhelmed? Get 1-on-1 Help from a Test Geek Tutor

The downside to this is that just signing up to take the test again isn’t all it takes. Before you take the test again, you should consider how much time you studied and how thorough you were in your preparation. Didn’t study all that much? Create a solid study schedule before your next test and stick to it. Consider studying with an SAT prep book, taking official practice tests often, and being more thorough in topics you feel you struggled on.

Felt like you studied hard and still didn’t perform well? It might mean you could benefit from some friendly intervention from a professional. It’s easy to write off SAT tutoring as a scam because at the end of the day it is only one test, but once you consider that one test could be standing between you and your future education and career, it sounds like a solid investment. 

Luckily for you, you’ve come to the right place! Test Geek offers tutoring from the top 1% of tutors.

Wrapping up

I guess the main focus here is to just chill out! It’s totally normal and valid to feel anxious about your SAT score, but you shouldn’t let it debilitate your daily life while you’re waiting to see how you did. The test is over, and your score will still be your score whether you stay up all night waiting for it or not. 

The SAT has made it more simple than ever to receive your scores quickly and easily through My ACT, but should you run into any issues, contact College Board directly. 

Brady Ross

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