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How to Register for the SAT and ACT Tests Online


If you’re a high school student interested in applying to 4-year universities, you’ll probably want to take either the SAT or ACT college admissions tests. You may even want to take both! Most students take one or both of these standardized tests sometime between the middle of junior year and the beginning of senior year so they have plenty of time to send scores to their colleges of choice.


As important as these test scores can be to the college admissions process, the organizations that administer the SAT and ACT don’t always go out of their way to reach out to high schoolers and educate them on how to sign up to take their tests. That’s where we come in! Keep reading to learn how to register for the SAT and ACT tests online.


First, let's talk about the SAT.


1. First, decide when you’d like to take the test.


The College Board offers the SAT every 1 to 2 months. Review test dates here and decide which date(s) you’d like to test. Note that I added that optional s to the end of date because you may want to plan on taking the test more than once, then choosing the highest score to send to colleges.


2. Then, decide where you’d like to test.


SAT tests are administered at schools and testing centers all over the country. Look up test locations near you using this tool.


3. Once you’re sure of your preferred test date(s) and location(s), register for an account on the College Board website.


In order to register for an SAT test online, you must create a free account. When I say you, please note that I mean the student, not the parent. To set up your account, click here and input the necessary information, like your full name, address, email, birth date, and high school. At this point, you’ll want to be aware that the College Board is going to ask for lots of information - like your ideal colleges, for example - but not all of it is mandatory. Mandatory info will be marked with a red asterisk. Share as much or as little info as you’d like; just know that anything you share outside of requirements can and will be used for marketing purposes. That’s business, baby!


On the account registration page, parents can also sign up with their email to receive relevant updates and reminder emails from the College Board. You can also opt-in to a service that CC’s parents on all emails the student receives from the testing service, including test registration receipts and scores.


4. Once you’re logged in to your new account, you can complete the process of registering for the test(s).


According to the College Board website, the test registration process takes about 30 minutes to complete. It also requires you to upload a photo of yourself (so proctors can verify your identity on test day) and pay the $52 registration fee. Don’t wait to upload your photo - if you do, you might forget and then not be admitted on test day. As for the fee, if you think you may qualify for a fee waiver, visit this page for more information on eligibility and how to receive a waiver.


Once you’ve completed these four steps, you’re all set to take the SAT. Now, let’s talk about registering for the ACT.


The first thing to know about the ACT is that it’s not administered by the same organization as the SAT is. While the SAT is given by the College Board, the ACT is the product of...ACT, Inc.! (No, really.) I only mention this so you’re aware that registration for the ACT test is done on a totally different website, through a totally different organization. However, the process looks pretty much the same.


1. First, decide when you’d like to take the test.

The ACT is offered at about the same intervals as the SAT, but their test dates generally aren’t the same. Visit this page and scroll almost all the way to the bottom to see the list of ACT dates. Just like I mentioned in the SAT section, you may want to plan on taking the ACT more than once, then choosing the highest score to send to colleges.


2. Then, decide where you’d like to test.


You can find ACT testing locations near you using this tool.


3. Once you’re sure of your preferred test date(s) and location(s), register for a MyACT account.

Just as you do with the SAT, you’ll need to create a free online account to register for the ACT test. Again, when I say you, please note that I mean the student, not the parent. To set up your account, click here and input the necessary information, like your full name, email, etc. Like the College Board, ACT, Inc. is also likely to ask you to share a bunch of information that’s not required so they can use it for marketing, so just be wary of this as you fill out your details. You can also add a parent email so that they’re included on relevant messages, too.


4. Once you’re logged in to your new account, you can complete the process of registering for the test(s).


The test registration process for the ACT takes about 30-40 minutes to complete. It requires you to upload a photo of yourself (so proctors can verify your identity on test day) and pay the registration fee. The cost for an ACT test without the optional Writing portion is $55; with the Writing, it’s $70. If you think you may qualify for a fee waiver, take a look at this document for more information on eligibility and how to receive a waiver.


Once you’ve completed these four steps, you’re all set to take the ACT!


So what’s next? Well, you’ll want to make sure you’re as familiar as possible with the test’s structure and content before the Big Day. The best way to do this is by taking lots of practice tests and working with an expert who can help you work out your weak points and make your strong ones even stronger. Let ThinquePrep help you maximize your SAT and ACT test score with private, professional test prep.

Nina Calabretta is a college English instructor, tutor, and writer native to Orange County, CA. When she’s not writing or helping students improve their skills as readers, writers, and critical thinkers, she can be found hiking the local trails with friends and family or curled up with a good book and her cat, Betsy. She has been part of the ThinquePrep team since 2018.


With offices located in beautiful Orange County, ThinquePrep specializes in the personalized mentorship of students and their families through the entire college preparation process and beyond. With many recent changes to college admissions - standardized tests, financial aid, varied admissions processes - the educational landscape has never been more competitive or confusing. We’re here from the first summer program to the last college acceptance letter. It’s never too early to start thinking about your student’s future, so schedule your complimentary consultation today!

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