Is the May SAT Right for You?

This year, the May SAT has a regular registration deadline of Thursday, April 8, and will be administered on Saturday, May 8. While May tends to be a popular exam month for high school juniors, it is not suitable for everyone.

Here are some indicators of whether you should or should not take the May SAT.

Why the May SAT May Be Right for You

You are a sophomore establishing a baseline result. All high school sophomores, whether they have prepared in advance or not, are encouraged to take their standardized college admissions exam of choice. This first score acts as a baseline for your future test prep endeavors so that you have a reference point and know what to focus your efforts on.

[Read: When to Take the SAT, ACT.]

Since your first SAT is partially a diagnostic endeavor, you should not be overly concerned about your score. You will have plenty of other opportunities to retake the exam throughout high school after diligent preparation.

You have prepared considerably since your last SAT. If considerable time has elapsed since you last took the SAT and you have studied significantly since then, consider taking the May SAT. The absence of either of these conditions could yield a disappointing test score. In other words, if you have not reviewed enough or at all since your last SAT, your scores may stay roughly the same.

Similarly, if you are reviewing but just took the SAT in March, it may be too soon for significant improvement to show. This is not to advise against testing in March and May consecutively. However, students who plan to do this should ensure they can invest enough quality time in studying betwen the two dates.

You are applying early action this fall. Historically, college e arly action deadlines fall in early to mid-November. If you plan to apply for early action this fall, the May SAT may be one of a handful of last chances to take the test. There is also a June 5 SAT scheduled and the College Board lists “anticipated” dates of Aug. 28 and Oct. 2.

[READ: 3 Signs You Should Delay an ACT, SAT Test Date.]

Getting the exam done in May could alleviate some of the pressure that comes along with college applications during your senior year, and you would not have to worry about receiving your scores in time for deadlines.

Why the May SAT May Be Wrong for You

You will also be completing AP exams in May.This year’s May SAT coincides with the first week of Advanced Placement exams, a particularly stressful time of year for AP students. If you will be sitting for one or more AP exams this spring, also taking the May SAT may be too much commitment at once.

It would be a shame to compromise your score on any one of these assessments because you spread yourself too thin. Avoid illness, exhaustion and stress by thinking about how much testing you can soundly handle this spring.

This has not been a great school year for you. To put it lightly, the 2020-2021 school year has been a significant challenge for students, parents, teachers and administrators because of the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Many students are still taking their courses remotely, and others are struggling to recover from the learning loss the pandemic has caused.

[Read: How to Prep for SAT, ACT Amid the Coronavirus Outbreak.]

If you have battled just to keep your head above water this school year, it may not be the right time to sit for the May SAT. Instead, consider taking the test this fall, when life may feel more normal again and you can concentrate better on your studies.

Do any of the above situations apply to you? If so, use this advice to help you make a smarter decision about whether to take the May SAT.

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