What #Time Do You Need to Arrive for the SAT?

The SAT is given on Saturday mornings (unless you request and are approved for an alternative testing date due to religious reasons). Doors close at 8:00AM, unless otherwise specified, so students should aim to be at the test center by 7:45AM at the latest.

Some test locations, including your high school, will be holding multiple exams, like the GRE for graduate school. There might be a line of people waiting, and it could take some time to find your name on a list and locate your room. To be especially safe and get ahead of any lines, you sould aim to be there even earlier, like by 7:30AM. 

Apart from finding your assigned room and seat, you also may have to hang up your bag and/or coat somewhere outside of the testing room. What also takes time that morning is getting checked in with your admission ticket and ID.

[Side note: make sure to hold onto your admission ticket, as you’ll need it to fill out some personal information on your test!]

Once you find your room and assigned seat, your proctor will give instructions and pass out the tests. You’ll spend some time filling out your personal details on the test. All of this settling in takes about 30 minutes to an hour, so you’ll start taking the SAT between 8:30AM and 9:00AM.

Again, arrive by 7:45AM at the latest. No one will be admitted once testing has started. You’ll be at your testing center for 45 minutes to an hour before you start in on your first section, which will be Reading on the redesigned test.

After you begin between 8:30AM and 9:00AM, what time will you be all finished with the SAT?

When Will You Be Finished With the SAT?
The new SAT is 3 hours long, or 3 hours and 50 minutes with the optional essay.

Since you can decide whether or not to take the essay section on the redesigned SAT, your choice will determine your exact end time. Given this variation, let’s consider your end time on the SAT in two scenarios: first, without the essay, and second, with the essay.

Planning for SAT Test Day ……

Pack your bag with Number 2 pencils, a calculator, snacks, and a drink, and plan to arrive at your testing center between 7:30AM and 7:45 AM. You’ll spend about an hour checking in, finding your room and assigned seat, and filling out personal details on the test before you actually begin taking it between 8:30AM and 9:00AM.

To sustain your focus and energy over this four-hour period of test-taking, make sure to take advantage of breaks to move around, drink water, and have a snack. Look around the room or out the window, as staring up close at a test for so long can strain your eyes. Just moving and doing something else, even if it’s just for a few minutes, will help re-energize you, clear your mind, and collect yourself before the next section.

You’ll be all finished with the SAT between 12:30PM and 1:00PM. Congratulate yourself for preparing for and taking this intense test, and enjoy the rest of your Saturday!

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