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On Wednesday March 7 many of our area high schools will be administering the SAT to high school juniors at no cost to students. It's the actual SAT test, the results of which can then be sent to colleges and used for college applications and admissions. It's a value worth $46, plus it frees up a future Saturday that may otherwise have to be allocated to taking the test.

Before you take the test, log on to your account at and make sure you do not have any issues signing in. This should be the same username and password you use to access your PSAT and AP scores. Record your username and password in a safe place. Preferably two safe places. And in at least one place where your parents can find it too.

On test day, be sure to bring your photo ID and an approved calculator. For a list of calculators, visit

According to the College Board website, "You can still send four free score reports to colleges up to nine days after the test—after that there's a fee for sending score reports, unless you’re eligible for an SAT fee waiver." If you are feeling good about your performance and you want to save a little money, be sure to take advantage of these four free score reports. More and more schools are moving to test score self-reporting (e.g. FSU), so you do not need to officially send scores to those schools. Other schools allow you to send only your highest scores (e.g. UF), so you may want to wait to see how you score and pay the extra fee.

The results from the March 7 test will be available online March 29.

Be aware that the SAT test that you will take at school will not include the optional Essay section. Most colleges do not require this section, so that's OK. But it is a requirement at some colleges, particularly the more selective colleges (e.g. Princeton). Just know that depending on where you apply, you may need to take the test again with the Essay section.

Finally, you may feel like the College Board is the king of all testing, but the reality is that the SAT is not the only game in town. The ACT is another standardized test that is viewed equally by all college admissions teams. I recommend students take both tests and compare their scores. I'm not surprised how often the resulting scores show a student favoring one test over the other. They are different tests, and depending on your learning and thinking styles, you may find that you score better on one over the other. To view upcoming ACT testing dates, go to Yes, new this year is a July test date option! If you have read this far and you still want to know more about these two tests, you may want to read this:

I wish you much success!

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