Testing … when?

It's a good idea to have your student test immediately after the study period has been completed--that is, when the information is fresh in their mind. If a student studies for the AP Chemistry test in 9th grade, for instance, they should take the AP Chemistry test in May of their 9th-grade year. If your 9th grader would rather take the SAT subject test in chemistry, they should take that test once they feel they've mastered the material; the College Board offers multiple times to take subject tests, so your student can take the chemistry test in November, January, or any other time the test is offered and your student is ready.

9th grade

  • Throughout the year: SAT II, if the corresponding coursework has been studied
  • May: AP 

10th grade

  • Throughout the year: SAT II, if the corresponding coursework has been studied
  • October: PSAT for practice, if desired
  • May: AP 

11th grade

  • October: PSAT—this is the only year it “counts” for National Merit status
  • Fall or winter: SAT or ACT—this gives enough time for more study and a retake if needed
  • Throughout the year: SAT II, if the corresponding coursework has been studied
  • May: AP

12th grade

  • First test date in the fall: SAT or ACT, if a student wants to increase the score
  • First test date in the fall: SAT II, if the corresponding coursework has been studied

SAT subject tests (SAT IIs) should be taken at the end of the study of that particular subject. Your student can take up to 3 subject tests on one day, but the general recommendation is not to do more than 2 in one day. Registration is through the College Board website.

AP tests are offered only in May, on one specific day (see the College Board website). Your student must schedule directly with the school where you want to take the test.

For information about each test, see Tests … which ones?