When Are SAT Scores Released? The Complete 2020 Dates

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Wondering when your SAT scores come out? Waiting for your SAT scores can be agonizing, especially since SAT score release usually takes a couple weeks following your test date. 


In this post, we’ll go over when exactly can you expect your scores, when colleges will receive your reports, and how to use your score report to improve your SAT scores.


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How Long Does it Take for SAT Scores to Come Back?


In general, the first test scores become available online about 13 days after you take the test. You will first receive scores for the multiple-choice portion of your test. This includes the Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing scores, as well as your composite score. While these scores are usually released 13 days after you take the test, some summer test score reports can take up to five weeks. 


When you check your scores initially, you will probably only see your composite and section scores. These won’t include the optional essay section, even if you chose to take this part of the test. Essays take a little longer to score because they are physically reviewed by two essay scorers, rather than being scanned by a machine as the multiple-choice sections are. Your essay score is generally available about three to five days after your multiple-choice scores are released, a total of 16-18 days after your test date.


If you took SAT Subject Tests instead of the regular SAT, you can expect your Subject Test scores on the same day as the multiple-choice score release for the regular SAT, which is generally 13 days after the exam date.


Read on for a table of the exact 2020 dates.


When Will Colleges Receive My Score Reports?


If you opted to use the four free score reports that are sent directly to colleges, they will receive them within 10 days of you receiving all of your scores, including the Essay scores. This means that colleges will get your score report within 28 days of you taking the test.


If you are ordering score reports after receiving your scores, it usually takes 1-2 weeks for your scores to arrive and be processed. Colleges have different policies on how often they download new score reports, so it really depends on their download frequency.


SAT Score Release Dates 2019-2020


SAT Test Date Multiple-Choice Scores Release Date Essay Score Release Date Colleges Receive Scores By
August 24, 2019  September 6, 2019  September 9-11, 2019 September 21, 2019
October 5, 2019 October 18, 2019 October 21-23, 2019 November 2, 2019
November 2, 2019 November 15, 2019 November 18-20, 2019 December 30, 2020
December 7, 2019  December 20, 2019 December 23-25, 2019  January 4, 2020
March 14, 2020 March 27, 2020 March 30-April 1, 2020  April 11, 2020
May 2, 2020 May 15, 2020 May 18-20, 2020 May 30, 2020
June 6, 2020  July 15, 2020 July 15, 2020  July 27, 2020


*The March, May, and June SAT administrations were canceled due to coronavirus. To learn more about how COVID-19 is impacting standardized testing, see out post: How to Navigate SAT/ACT Cancellations Due to the Coronavirus.


Predicted Fall 2020 Score Release Dates


You’ll notice that the SAT score release dates follow a pattern (if they aren’t a summer administration): 


  • The multiple-choice scores come out 13 days after the test date.
  • The essay scores come out 3-5 days after.
  • Colleges receive scores 10 days after you receive all your scores.


Based on this pattern, here’s what we expect the score release dates to be for Fall 2020. They are tentative and to be confirmed by the College Board.


SAT Test Date  Multiple-Choice Scores Release Date Essay Scores Release Date Colleges Receive Scores By
August 29, 2020 September 11, 2020 September 14-16, 2020 September 26, 2020
September 26, 2020* October 9, 2020 October 12-14, 2020 October 24, 2020
October 3, 2020 October 16, 2020 October 19-21, 2020 October 31, 2020
November 7, 2020 November 20, 2020 November 23-25, 2020 December 4, 2020
December 5, 2020 December 18, 2020 December 21-23, 2020 January 2, 2021


*Extra test administration due to canceled Spring 2020 SATs.


How does your SAT score influence your chances of admission? Find out with our free chancing calculator.


SAT School Day Score Release Dates


If you took the SAT at your school on a school day, the score release schedule is different. Here’s what you can expect.


SAT Test Date  Multiple-Choice Scores Release Date Essay Scores Release Date Colleges Receive Scores By
October 16, 2019 November 8, 2019 November 11-13, 2019 November 23, 2019
October 30, 2019 November 20, 2019 November 25-27, 2019 December 7, 2019
March 4, 2020* March 26, 2020 March 30-April 1, 2020 April 11, 2020
March 25, 2020* April 16, 2020 April 20-22, 2020 May 2, 2020
April 14, 2020* May 6, 2020 May 8-12, 2020 May 22, 2020
April 28, 2020* May 20, 2020 May 22-26, 2020 June 5, 2020


*Many schools were closed during these dates due to Coronavirus, impacting testing and score reporting. Speak with your school counselor for specific details relating to your school’s SAT administration.

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What Time Are SAT Scores Released?


SAT scores usually come out in waves throughout the day, and some are released as early as 5 AM Eastern Time (2 AM Pacific Time). That said, don’t expect them that early, and don’t lose sleep over it. Sometimes scores aren’t released until the late or early afternoon.


How Do I Get My SAT Scores?


The easiest and quickest way to receive your SAT scores is through your online CollegeBoard account. Simply visit the College Board homepage, and click on the blue box that prompts you to login with your username and password. Then, click on the “My SAT” link underneath your name. You’ll then be able to view all your available test scores, listed by test date.


Should You Send Your SAT Scores to Test-Optional Schools?


You should always do any “optional” components of college applications unless doing so would hurt your chances. If your SAT score is within the middle 50% of the test-optional school, it can’t hurt to send it. If it’s towards the upper end of the range, you should definitely send it. A good score can only help you.


This is especially relevant during the period of coronavirus, as many schools will be going test-optional just for the 2020-2021 applications cycle. If you can, you should still try to take the SAT and score well, but if your score is low and you don’t have time to retest, then you can leave it out.


If you’re looking for a list of test-optional schools, check out our post Complete Guide to Test-Optional Schools. These include schools that are normally test-optional, and do not include schools that have changed their policies for COVID-19.


Going test-optional and wondering about your admissions chances? Our admissions calculator takes into consideration whether or not you’re applying test optional. See your chances now.


Keeping Track of Test Dates and Score Release Dates


It can be tricky to track all these dates, especially if you’re also juggling AP tests and SAT Subject Tests. We recommend keeping a calendar of all these dates clearly noted on it. Some students find that a physical calendar provides the visual reminder that they need to stay organized. Others prefer to use a virtual calendar or app to help keep track. If this is the method you choose, we recommend that you set alerts for important dates so that they don’t go unnoticed.


How to Understand Your SAT Score 


Composite Score: Scoring the test is fairly straightforward. Total composite SAT scores range from 400-1600 points, tallied from two sections: Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, with each worth 200-800 points. The College Board (the group responsible for administering the SAT) redesigned the test in 2016 with the intent of an “average” total score being 1000—squarely in the middle of the 400 minimum score and 1600 maximum score. With that knowledge, you can get an idea of how you stack up against other test takers. 


Percentiles: A more scientific way of understanding your SAT score is to use percentiles, which the College Board publishes yearly. Your score report will list two percentiles, one as a Nationally Representative Sample, and one as a User Percentile. The former compares your score to what’s typical of high school juniors and seniors, and the latter compares you to actual SAT test takers. The User Percentile is more useful as a data point. Your User percentile tells you how you “ranked” compared to other test-takers. For example, if you scored in the 50% percentile, you scored at or above 50% of other SAT students.


Subscores: The SAT also provides seven subscores ranging from 1-15, four from the Reading and Writing and Language Sections (Command of Evidence, Words in Context, Expression of Ideas, and Standard English Conventions), and three from the Math test (Heart of Algebra, Problem Solving, and Data Analysis). Subscores are color coded to make identifying strengths and weaknesses easy—green meaning on track for college readiness, yellow translating to close to being on track for college readiness continue to strengthen skills, and red signaling a need to strengthen skills. Subscores are an excellent way for students to identify where to focus their energy if they’re planning on retaking the SAT! 


How Do I Know If My SAT Score is Good Enough?


According to the College Board, the average SAT score is 1059, with the average Math score at 531 and the average Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score at 528. These scores do little to tell you how your SAT score will affect your chances of getting into your dream school, however. 


To put your SAT score in context, look at the average SAT scores for incoming freshmen at the schools you’re interested in, and see how you compare. The majority of colleges publish the middle 50% SAT scores of the students they have admitted. If you’re not sure what that means, the middle 50% is a range of scores between the 25th percentile and the 75th—which is a good demonstration of the type of score you’ll need to gain entry. As an example of middle 50% scores, Princeton University had scores ranging from 1460-1570 for the class of 2023, with a Math score of 750-800 and an Evidenced-based Reading and Writing score of 710-770.


Keep in mind, these numbers reflect the average student—25% of students will have scored below the middle 50%, and 25% will have a higher score. That said, scoring on the high end of the range, or above it, will help increase your odds of acceptance.


What Should I Do If My SAT Score Is Too Low?


If you didn’t get the SAT score you were hoping for, don’t stress. Unless it’s December of your senior year, you probably have time to improve significantly before you apply to college. If you want to improve your score, review the SAT calendar and set your sights on a new test date. Then, go over your complete score report to get a better idea of what areas tripped you up the most. Focus on these areas to improve your score over the next few weeks.


For more information about improving your SAT score, check out these important CollegeVine posts:


Tips to Prepare Yourself for Your SAT Test Day

How to Pace Yourself on Every Section of the SAT

Five SAT Strategies You Should Know

10 Tips to Prepare for the SAT


Preparing for the SAT? Download our free guide with our top 8 tips for mastering the SAT.


Want to know how your SAT score impacts your chances of acceptance to your dream schools? Our free Chancing Engine will not only help you predict your odds, but also let you know how you stack up against other applicants, and which aspects of your profile to improve. Sign up for your free CollegeVine account today to gain access to our Chancing Engine and get a jumpstart on your college strategy!

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Kate Sundquist
Senior Blogger at CollegeVine
Short bio
Kate Koch-Sundquist is a graduate of Pomona College where she studied sociology, psychology, and writing before going on to receive an M.Ed. from Lesley University. After a few forays into living abroad and afloat (sometimes at the same time), she now makes her home north of Boston where she works as a content writer and, with her husband, raises two young sons who both inspire her and challenge her on a daily basis.