When Are SAT Scores Released? The Complete 2021 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.


Want to know your chances at your dream school based on your SAT score? Calculate your chances right now.


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 2021 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 2020-2021

SAT Test Date

Multiple-Choice Scores Release Date

Essay Score Released By 

Colleges Receive Scores By

August 29, 2020 

September 21, 2020

September 28, 2020

October 15, 2020

September 26, 2020*

October 9, 2020

October 15, 2020

October 19, 2020

October 3, 2020

October 16, 2020

October 23, 2020

October 26, 2020

November 7, 2020

November 20, 2020

November 27, 2020

November 30, 2020

December 5, 2020

December 18, 2020

December 25, 2020

December 28, 2020

March 13, 2021

March 26, 2021

April 2, 2021

April 5, 2021

May 8, 2021

May 21, 2021

May 28, 2021

May 31, 2021

June 5, 2021

July 14, 2021

July 21, 2021

July 24, 2021


**The September SAT test date has been added to the 2020-2021 testing schedule to account for COVID-19 test cancellations. 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 2021 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 2021. 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 28, 2021

September 10, 2021

September 13-15, 2021

October 25, 2021

October 2, 2021

October 15, 2021

October 18-20, 2021

October 30, 2021

November 6, 2021

November 19, 2021

November 22-24, 2021

December 4, 2021

December 4, 2021

December 17, 2021

December 20-23, 2021

January 3, 2022


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

September 23, 2020

October 15, 2020

October 18-20, 2020

October 30, 2020

October 14, 2020

November 4, 2020

November 7-9, 2020

November 19, 2020

October 27, 2020*

November 19, 2020

November 22-24, 2020

December 4, 2020 

March 3, 2021

March 28, 2021

March 31-April 2, 2021

April 12, 2021

March 24, 2021

April 18, 2021

April 21-23, 2021

May 3, 2021

April 13, 2021

May 8, 2021

May 11-13, 2021

May 23, 2021

April 27, 2021

May 22, 2021

May 25-27,2021

June 6,2021


*SAT School Day makeup test date is Tuesday, October 27 (formerly October 28).


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?


Because of the pandemic, many colleges have gone test-optional. This is because many SAT administrations were canceled, and because it may not have been safe for students to test. 


If you have an SAT score within 60 points of the 25th percentile for accepted students, you should submit it. For example, if you’re applying to Princeton (where the 25th percentile SAT score is 1450) and you received a 1390, you should submit your score. 


Keep in mind, SAT scores are lower this year, partly because many students are only able to sit for the exam once—the average score dropped from 1059 to 1051. This means that superscores are also lower.


See our post on applying test-optional in the 2020-2021 cycle for more info.


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.


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 1051, with the average Math score at 523 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 1450-1600 for the class of 2024, with a Math score of 740-800 and an Evidenced-based Reading and Writing score of 710-800. 


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.


As we’ve said, scores are lower for the 2020-2021 cycle since students haven’t had as many opportunities to take the SAT, if at all. So, it’s all right if your score is slightly lower than the 25th percentile in the age of COVID-19.


How Does Your SAT Score Impact Your College Chances?


Selective colleges use a metric called the Academic Index (AI) to represent the strength of applicants’ grades and test scores. If your AI is too low, a school may not even review the rest of your application. That’s why it’s so crucial to have a strong academic profile.


We’ve made it easy to understand the impact of your SAT score by creating a free Admissions Chances Calculator. This calculator will let you know how your score stacks up against other applicants’, and give you tips on improving the rest of your profile, including grades and extracurriculars.


You can also search for schools based on preferences like location, major, cost, and more. Give it a try to get a jumpstart on your college strategy. 



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.


If it is already your senior year, remember that you can always apply test-optional. That’s why this option exists, especially during this year! 

Keep in mind, however, that if your score is too low, it may mean that you aren’t academically ready for that college in particular (especially if your grades and course rigor don’t meet the average of accepted students). It’s also important to be realistic and apply to colleges where you have a good chance of getting in.


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



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

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.

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