Where Should You Take the SAT?

Today, September 6th, is the deadline to register for the October 2013 SAT. If you've waited until today (or wait until the late registration deadline on 9/23) to sign up, you will probably have limited options for a testing location. However, students who sign up early usually have the option of taking the SAT at their own high school or at a different school nearby. This begs the question, should you take the SAT at your school or at another school?

Let's run through the pros and cons of taking the SAT at the same school that you attend. 

 Pros

  • You're familiar with the school's layout, so you won't have to deal with the stress of finding your way around an unfamiliar school. You know exactly where to go and how to get there.
  • You'll see lots of friends and familiar faces. You'll be able to talk to these people before the test and during breaks, which could help reduce your test anxiety. 

Cons 

  • Your friends (or enemies!) could distract you before the test, during the test, or during breaks. If your head is preoccupied with social problems rather than reading comprehension problems, you probably won't get the scores you're looking for.
  • Vanity. Around people you know, you'll be more likely to worry about your appearance. You'll be less likely to wear sweatpants, blow your nose freely, scratch an itch, and so forth. When you take the SAT, you should be in a bubble, sensing that nothing exists except for you, the test, and the clock. That's harder to achieve if you care what the people around you think.

Conclusion

So, what's the better spot to take the SAT? It depends. If you have shaky nerves and are worried about test anxiety, try to sign up at your school, where you'll be comfortable. If you're a social butterfly who is likely to get distracted by a social setting, go to a different school where you can focus solely on the test. But most importantly of all, don't forget to sign up!