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Can You Take the SAT After High School? A SAT Test Guide

Can you take the SAT after high school?

Before we learn the specifics of taking the SAT exam after high school, first understand what the exam is and why it’s important. It is a standardized exam used for college admissions in the US, built to assess a student’s readiness for college-level work. The importance of the SAT cannot be overstated. A good SAT score can greatly improve a student’s opportunities of admission to their desired college, as well as their chances of getting scholarships and financial aid. SAT serves as a benchmark for academic achievement and can open ways to various educational and career opportunities.

Traditionally, high school students take the SAT during their junior or senior year. But what if you’re past high school? The good news is you absolutely can take the SAT after high school!

This blog post is your one-stop guide to navigating the SAT as a post-high school test taker. Let’s understand the reasons why you might consider taking the SAT later in life, also, explore the registration process, and valuable tips to help you ace the exam.

Why You May Need to Take the SAT After High School?

There are many reasons why someone might choose to take the SAT after high school graduation.

Here are a few common scenarios:

Second Chances: Maybe, you didn’t perform as well as you’d hoped on the SAT in high school. With more life experience and potentially stronger academic skills, you might feel ready to retake the test and improve your score.

Returning Student: Perhaps you took a gap year or decided to pursue a career right out of high school but now have a desire to attend college. Can you take the SAT after high school in this case? Absolutely! The SAT can be your gateway to higher education.

Adult Learner: You might be a working professional looking to advance your career or switch fields. Many colleges require the SAT for adult learners, even those with significant work experience.

Test-Optional vs. Test-Required: While an increasing number of colleges are moving toward a test-optional admissions process, many institutions still require or recommend the SAT. Taking the SAT can strengthen your application and improve your chances of admission, even at test-optional schools.

How To Take The SAT After High School?

The process for taking the SAT after high school is quite similar to that for high school students. Here’s a breakdown of the key steps:

Step 1: Create a College Board Account

To register for the SAT, you’ll need to create a College Board account. This account will allow you to manage your registration, view your scores, and send them to colleges or universities of your choice.

Step 2: Check the SAT Test Dates and Locations

The SAT is administered several times throughout the year. Checkout the upcoming test dates and locations near you on the College Board website. It’s essential to plan ahead and register well in advance, as test centers can fill up quickly.

Step 3: Fees and Payment:

Registration fees apply to all SAT test takers. You can find the latest fee structure on the College Board website. Fee waivers are available for students who demonstrate financial hardship.

Step 4: Register for the SAT

Once you have your College Board account, you can register for the SAT online or by mail. Be sure to provide accurate personal information, as this will be used for identification purposes on test day.

Step 5: Prepare for the Exam

Preparation is key to achieving a high score on the SAT. Consider enrolling in an SAT prep course, using online resources, or working with a private tutor. Remember, the SAT tests a wide range of skills, so it’s essential to familiarize yourself with the exam format and content.

Step 6: Take the SAT

On the day of the test, arrive at the test center early with your admission ticket and valid photo ID. Follow all instructions provided by the test administrators, and give your best effort on the exam.

Step 7: Send Your Scores to Colleges or Universities

After taking the SAT, you can send your scores to the colleges or universities of your choice through your College Board account. Some institutions may also require you to submit additional application materials, such as transcripts or essays, so be sure to check their specific requirements.

Expert Tips On How To Prepare For The SAT Exam

While the content of the SAT remains the same regardless of your age, some preparation strategies might be more effective for adult learners. Here are some tips to help you conquer the SAT after high school:

Revisit the Basics: Brush up on your math skills, grammar rules, and reading comprehension strategies. Take practice tests to identify your strengths and weaknesses.

Time Management is Key: The SAT is a timed test, so effective time management is crucial. Practice managing your time during practice tests to ensure you complete each section within the allotted time preiod.

Find a Study Schedule that Works for You: As an adult learner, you may have a busy schedule.  Carve out dedicated study time that fits your routine. Even short, focused sessions can be highly beneficial.

Consider a Prep Course or Tutoring: For SAT prep, Khan Tutorial offers training and tutoring with valuable guidance and personalized support, which is specifically geared towards students and adult learners.

Utilize Online Resources: Khan’s Tutorial provides SAT preparation materials in training including practice tests, sample questions. And several other preparation materials are available online.

Note: Don’t be discouraged by the age gap. Many adult learners achieve excellent SAT scores with dedication and a strategic plan.


1. What is the admissions rates at top colleges?

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – 4%
Harvard University – 3.6%
Carleton University – 18%
University of Pennsylvania – 6%
Yale University – 5%
University Of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) – 11%
Stanford University – 4%
Columbia University – 4%
New York University (NYU) – 8%
University of Chicago – 6%
Duke University – 6%
Princeton University – 4%
University of Southern California (USC) – 13%
Brown University – 6%
University of Michigan – 20%
Boston University – 19%
Tufts University – 11%
Carnegie Mellon – 14%
Northeastern University – 18%
Northwestern University – 7%
You can read more about top colleges’ admissions statistics in our previous blog.

2. Which colleges offer the best financial aid?

Below are some of the financial aid packages offered by some top colleges. Please note, that every student’s financial aid package will vary and be based on a multitude of the student’s financial factors.

  1. Columbia University in New York City
    The financial aid package for students with financial need: $55,521
  2. Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut
    The financial aid package for students with financial need: $52,894
  3. Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts
    The financial aid package for students with financial need: $51,890

3. Why are many colleges returning to SAT admissions requirements & moving away from test optional?

Colleges are going back to SAT requirements because they want a more reliable way to judge applicants’ readiness and a common benchmark to compare them all by.

4. Can adults take the SAT?

Yes, absolutely! There is no upper age limit for taking the SAT. The process for registering for the test is similar to high school students, though there might be slight differences in the application forms.

5. What is the SAT?

The SAT is a standardized test widely used for college admissions in the US, designed to assess a student’s readiness for college-level work. It measures skills in reading, writing, and math.

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