How Old Do You Have To Be To Take The SAT?

Most students choose to take the SAT in 11th grade during one of the national test dates. This allows time to retake the test if you don’t get the scores you want, but also ensures that you have enough educational background to answer many of the questions asked. Some students choose to take the test earlier, in 9th or 10th grade, to allow for even more time to retake the test. So, that begs the question – are there any age requirements for the test?

Officially, no. You can take the SAT or other standardized tests as long as you can read and write well enough to answer the questions. On the other end of the scale, you can also take the SAT even if you are older than the normal high school student. Most colleges don’t require non-traditional (ie, older) students to submit SAT scores, but doing so can help you be accepted to your top pick. As long as you pay the fee, you’re welcome to take the test.

Of course, the downside is that if you take the test too early, your score might not be valid by the time you start applying to colleges. Many colleges limit your scores, saying that those you submit must be from the past three years. So, if you get an impressive score when you’re just 13 or 14, it might not mean anything when you actually apply to colleges. This is especially true because the SAT chances from year to year. For example, today’s SAT takers have to complete a writing section, while SAT takers in the past only completed two sections – verbal and math.

Still, taking the SAT when you are young could help you learn more about yourself as a student so that you are ready for the test when you reach high school. Here are a few things to consider:

  • The test isn’t free. All standardized college entry tests have fees involved, and the SAT is no different. Don’t waste your money if you aren’t ready to ace the exam.
  • The test is long. When you take the SAT, you can expect to spend most of the day sitting inside and answering questions or writing essays. It isn’t fun or easy by any means, even if you are smarter than the average person your age.
  • The PSAT is an option too. If you just want to practice for the test, the PSAT (pre-SAT) might be a better option. This is designed to help you prepare for the real test, and you’ll get better results to make it easier to see your weak points.

If you do choose to take the SAT before you reach high school, try not to be too hard on yourself. You shouldn’t expect your results to be as high as the average, since the vast majority of people taking the exam are much older than you and have taken higher-level classes. Just relax, do your best, and learn from your test results.


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