How Much Does the SAT Cost?


Posted by Chris Zhang

July 26, 2019 at 2:30 PM

SAT SAT Logistics

Registration Costs (Updated for 2019)

Unfortunately, you can’t just show up test day and try to take the SAT without registering prior, and unfortunately, registering for the SAT costs money. Registering fees are comprised of mandatory fees and add-on fees, and these fees will be the bulk of the cost of the SAT.

Here’s a table summarizing the mandatory SAT fees:

Fee Cost
Registration - SAT with essay $64.50
Registration - SAT without essay $49.50

And here’s a table summarizing the optional add-on SAT fees:

Add-on Fees Cost
Register by phone $15
Late fee (registering after the normal deadline) $30
Waitlist fee (charged if added to test date waitlist after the late registration deadline, and charge is processed if you end up taking the test) $53
International fees (charge for taking the SAT outside of the US; varies by region) $43-$53

These costs can seem appalling for low-income families and can discourage taking the SAT multiple times, but those families shouldn’t be discouraged. The CollegeBoard offers fee waivers to certain students which gives the following benefits: - The SAT for free 2 times with or without the essay - 6 free SAT subject tests - 2 free Question-and-Answer Service (QAS) or Student Answer Service (SAS) reports - Unlimited score reports to send to colleges - Waived application fees at these colleges - Free CSS Profile application to apply for financial aid at the colleges listed in the link above - No late registration fees for free tests - No international fees for free tests - Fee reductions for score verification reports

To determine whether you are eligible for a fee waiver, you have to fit one of the following:

  • Enrolled in or eligible to participate in the National School Lunch Program (NSLP)
  • Your family’s annual income falls within these Income Eligibility Guidelines
  • You’re enrolled in a federal, state, or local program for low income states such as Upward Bound
  • Your family receives public assistance
  • You are a ward of the state or an orphan
  • You live in subsidized housing, live in a foster home, or are homeless

To apply for a fee waiver, you have to contact your school counselor or a representative of a community-based organization. Even if you’re home-schooled, you still have to contact a local high school counselor. This process takes some time so it is recommended to apply for a fee waiver well before the SAT test dates you’d like to take.

Score Report Costs (Updated for 2019)

After taking the SAT, you want to get your scores, know how well you did compared to everyone else, and be able to send out your scores. This table summarizes all possible post-test costs:

Service Cost
Receiving Scores Online $0
Receiving Scores by Mail $0
Receiving Scores by Phone $15 (per call)
Score Report (first four reports you give to schools) $0
Score Report (each additional report after first four reports) $12 (fee charged for each additional score report)
Rush report request $31 (per order)
Question and Answers Service $18
Student Answer Service $13.50
Multiple Choice Score Verification $55
Essay Score Verification $55

Minimizing the Costs for the SAT

As you can see, the SAT can cost quite a lot. All those little costs can add up, and if you don’t plan out which services you want to utilize ahead of time, you might end up wasting money and employing a service that you don’t need. Here are some tips to help minimize the costs for the SAT.

Take the Test Early

I know starting the college application process early in your high school career is not the most fun you’ve ever had, but if you take the SAT last minute, you might end up scrambling to get official score reports to schools before application deadlines and have to pay the $31 fee for a rush order. Also, if you take the SAT early, you’ll have more test dates to be able to retake the SAT and get a higher score.

It takes around three weeks for your scores to be posted after you take the SAT. You should also consider the time it takes for colleges to receive your score reports (2-3 weeks). If you want to avoid those pesky rush order fees, your last SAT should be at least 5 weeks before your scores need to be in.

Register Early

If you see the Registration Costs section, you’ll see that a late registration fee is $30. If you apply late, that’s nearly half the cost of the SAT for a menial task. If you register ahead, not only do you save money, but you also ensure that you’ll have a spot during that test date and that you’ll also have more time to study for the SAT.

Use Your Free Score Reports

The first your score reports you send to schools are free if you specify the schools you’d like to send your scores to early enough. If you already know your dream top 4 schools, then list those four schools as early as registration or as late as the Monday 9 days after the test date. This will save you up to $48!

Also, if you know which schools you want to apply to Early Decision (ED) or Early Action (EA), then list those schools for your free score reports. Not only are these deadlines earlier than normal application deadlines, but if you get into a school ED or EA, then you have the option to forgo the rest of the college application process and attend the school you got into ED/EA the next fall (if applying ED, you have a binding commitment so you’re forced to forgo the rest of the college application process)! What this means is that if you were planning on applying to multiple colleges, you no longer have to pay the additional score report fee of $12 per school.

Utilize the Fee Waiver if Eligible

As mentioned earlier, if you fall into any of the criteria for being eligible for a fee waiver, then you should apply for a fee waiver. You would get almost every service the SAT has for free. Read earlier in the article to learn more about what you get with a fee waiver and what criteria you need to fit in order to be eligible for a fee waiver.

Registering and Receiving Scores Online

cellphone The cellular phone has ruined our society. When you’re hanging out with friends or family, are you truly enjoying their company or are you wasting time aimlessly scrolling through your phone? We need to go back to the good old days.

All jokes aside, phones are really convenient and helpful in our daily lives, but when it comes to the SAT, they only add on more fees. Registering by phone instead of registering online costs $15 and receiving scores by phone costs $15 per call. That’s at least $30 that you’re spending for the “convenience” of your phone rather than just doing things online where you spend $0.

Prepare and Do Well on the SAT

The majority of us take the SAT multiple times, which adds more costs and stress to this process, but there’s a simple fix: just ace the SAT the first time you take it, and you don’t have to worry about ever taking it again. You don’t have to worry about utilizing all the tips above a second, a third, or a fourth time. You don’t have to worry about more hours preparing for the SAT. And you don’t have to worry about another Saturday morning (and by the transitive property, another Friday night) spent on taking the SAT. It’s that simple!

Although this is pretty unrealistic and unlikely, you should always rigorously prepare for your SATs. An extra half an hour a day is minimal work in the short-run, but you can potentially save a lot of money and time in the long-run. “Success is 90% preparation, 10% perspiration.”

To help prepare for the SAT, we recommend Prepmedians. Not only do we effectively teach the concepts that will appear on the SAT so that you’ll be able to crush the SAT come test day, but we also present the information through an entertaining way where test prep is something enjoyable and as simple as watching a Youtube video rather than a burden. Prepmedians is affordable ($29/month or $99/8 months) compared to the prices of so many other tutoring companies and ways to prep. In particular, our founder Kalyan Ray-Mazumder who designed the curriculum would charge $250/hour when he was tutoring!

And come test day, believe in yourself. Believe in your preparation. Believe that you can crush the SAT because once you do, you’ll be rewarded for all your hard work and effort when you get into your dream school!

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Posted by Chris Zhang

Chris scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT in high school and is currently studying Economics and Data Science at Colby College. Fun Fact: The only movie he ever cried in was Fast and Furious 7.