Registering for the ACT/SAT: How to Choose Your Testing Location

How do you choose an SAT / ACT test location?

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You’ve decided to take the next step for your future–you’re signing up for the ACT or SAT. Congrats! I know, I know–calm down, it’s a test, it’s not that exciting. But if you’re registering for the ACT/SAT that means college is on your radar and you’re planning for what just might be the best 4 (ish) years of your life! We’re going to go over how to register for the ACT/SAT and talk about your test location.

Registration For SAT & ACT Test Locations

Filling out the registration form is a piece of cake. Name, first and last, check. Address and contact information? Got it. You pick a test day and then you have to select a testing location. Wait, what? There’s more than one option?

There are hundreds of ACT and SAT testing locations all over the world. It’s kinda cool to think that on the same weekend you’re sitting in Wisconsin taking the ACT, someone else is taking it in South Africa too. Not at the same time, obviously, but students gather from all over to fill in ovals for 4 hours, and hope for the best. That also means that you’re likely to have a lot of options for a testing location.

So what are your options, and how do you choose where to take the test?

Well, most of the time your high school will be a testing location. However, if you go to a really small school you might have to drive to a larger high school in the area. Other options usually include college or university testing centers.

When I was in high school I always took the ACT at my school. Later on, my younger sisters took the ACT there too, but the SAT had to be taken at a college up the road. Now that I’m supervising the ACT, I’ve also seen schools split testing responsibilities. So between two high schools, that are only a couple of miles apart from each other, one will take the first 3 test dates and then they’ll switch to the other school for the last 3.

Keep in mind that you’ll always be better off taking the ACT or SAT in an environment you’re familiar with. So if you can get in to test at your high school, research says you’ll score better than if you’re in an unfamiliar place. In short, since you’re used to taking tests at your high school already, you’ll be less stressed taking the ACT or SAT there, since it’s just another (albeit different) test.

What if it’s last-minute?

If you’re registering late, you might end up taking the test somewhere you’ve never been before. If this is the case, I would highly recommend doing a test drive before the morning of. Figure out the route you’ll take to get to the site, that way you won’t be stressing about it (as much) on test day.

For information about ACT test locations visit this link. Or this link for SAT test locations. The earlier you register, the better your chance of getting your first-choice test center. Don’t wait until the last minute!


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