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Easiest Test Date for SAT or ACT?

Is there an easiest or hardest test date for the SAT or ACT?


It’s a common myth: “Don’t take the SAT in October – all the seniors are taking it then!” Or, “Take the ACT in December – it’s easier!” None of these statements, or any other evaluation of testing difficulty based on test date, is true.

While the SAT and ACT on any one given administration of the test can be harder or easier than average, it has nothing to do with the month or the student population taking that particular sitting. It’s more or less random.

And it doesn’t matter: For complicated, boring reasons that I won’t go into, the SAT & ACT test makers ensure that your score is unaffected by the difficulty of the test, the population of students with whom you take the test, and so on. Your score is only dependent on your performance, and only your performance. All other “factors” are false or distractions.

However, this doesn’t mean that some test dates aren’t better than others in terms of fitting in your schedule. It’s key to set up a plan for your junior & senior years so that you know exactly when to start prepping for your tests. In this video, I explain the basics of this plan:

To summarize:

FIRST TEST: March (SAT); February (ACT), both junior year.

SECOND TEST: June of junior year for both SAT & ACT.

THIRD TEST: August (SAT); September (ACT), both senior year.

About the Author:

I’m Rob Schombs, the founder of Reason Prep, creator of these videos, and your test prep tutor. I earned a BA in Chemistry (2006) and an MA in Science and Technology Studies (2009) from Cornell University. In 2010 I started tutoring SAT, ACT, math, chemistry, and writing full-time, and Reason Prep followed shortly after!