When: Both SAT I and SAT II are offered six times a year, in May, June, October, November, December and January. The ACT is offered five times a year, in February, April, June, October and December. (Check here to see the exact test dates this year: http://sat.collegeboard.org/register/sat-international-dates and http://www.actstudent.org/cgi-bin/codes/tc/intl_lookup.pl)
How: Your child will have to register about a month before the date of the test. Both test boards have a regular registration date and a late registration date, with an additional fee payable for late registration. Registration can be done via mail or online. Test fees may be paid via a draft if your child is applying by mail, and through a credit card if he is applying online. Additional fees apply if your child wants his scores to be sent to him by phone, or if he wants extra score reports to be sent to a college or scholarship programme (in addition to four score reports included at no charge with the registration).
A high score is no guarantee
Your child’s standardised test score is a very important factor in his application, since foreign universities are only now gaining familiarity with the Indian education system. However, getting a high score in the SAT or ACT is no guarantee of admission into a well known college, although a not-so-good score can certainly diminish your child’s chances of getting in. So, ensure your child gives it his best shot, but remember that it is just one of the many weapons in his arsenal!
Mindless lazing around seems great at the beginning of the summer vacation, but it can get boring very soon. If your child is planning to go abroad for his undergraduate studies, the summers are a good time for him to get some useful skills under his belt, so that he can have fun while simultaneously strengthening his application.
Since your child might be spending the summer after Grade 10 preparing for the SAT and ACT tests, it is a good idea to consider seriously how he can spend the rest of his high school summers (after Grade 9 and Grade 11, and maybe some part of the time after Grade 10) productively. Attending a good programme or doing a slew of activities can provide him with rich experiences and a lot of inspiration to develop a differentiated college essay and personal statement, and help him stand out in a crowded field of international students with straight As, stratospheric SAT scores and excellent extra-curricular activities.