College Entrance Exams

Students may need to take at least one college entrance test, such as the SAT or the American College Testing (ACT) exam, for admission into a four-year college. Colleges often use scores from these standardized national tests to evaluate if students are academically ready for college-level work.

SAT School Day

To support students to take these critical college access exams, the Department of Education will offer the SAT to all students in grade 11. These tests, are free of charge when students take them on a regular school day ( SAT School Day). If a student takes the SAT exam on a weekend, the cost is $60.

By offering this exam during a regular school day, the DOE ensures that students do not miss taking these important college entrance exams. Weekend testing may be difficult for some students because of schedule conflicts, family responsibilities, financial barriers, and traveling to an unfamiliar test location.

Learn more at our SAT School Day page.

Who takes these tests?

Students in eleventh grade participate in SAT School Day.

When are these tests given?

The DOE offers SAT School Day on regular school days in the spring. Speak to your child’s school to find the specific dates for this school year. Students can register to take the exam on a weekend. The College Board (Open external link) offers the SAT several times per year.  

Beginning in spring 2024, the SAT will be administered digitally, only, in NYC schools and on weekends. You can learn more about the digital SAT on the College Board website. 

What is on the tests?

The SAT is a multiple-choice test that measures a student’s reading, writing and math. The SAT takes about two hours and consists of two tests: (1) the Reading and Writing, and (2) Math. 

How is the test scored?

On the SAT, the reading and writing section and the math section are each scored on a 200- to 800-point scale for a combined score of 400 to 1600 points. For information on interpreting your child’s test scores, see the College Board website

How are the results reported?

Students can access SAT test score reports if they have a College Board account. Encourage your child to speak to their school counselor if they need assistance with creating a student account. Students can send their SAT score to up to four colleges for free within nine days of taking the exam. After this window, there is a cost for sending scores to colleges. Speak to your child’s counselor to see if your child qualifies to send scores to an unlimited amount of colleges for free.

How are the results used?

Some colleges require SAT or ACT scores as part of the college application. In addition to college entrance exam scores, some colleges will also review your child’s grades, class rank, rigor of classes, extracurricular activities, letters of recommendations, college essays, and college interview. Colleges often look at all these elements of the application to evaluate your child’s readiness to succeed at their college. For questions about college admissions, consult with your child’s counselor.

View CUNY and SUNY admissions profiles to see average SAT scores for local colleges. Speak with your child’s school counselor to determine what colleges of interest require these exams. In addition, to learn more about the college application process please visit the College and Career Planning pages.