Standing by on the SAT: The College Board’s Waitlist

By: Judi Robinovitz | Last Updated: December 20, 2013

Have you ever frozen in you steps with the realization that there was something critical you were supposed to have done weeks ago but forgot? We’ve all had this experience at one time or another. Life can take you by the collar and give you a good shake from time to time. What’s a student to do if it was the SAT registration deadline that he missed?

Good news – there may still be hope. While the College Board’s website reports emphatically that “Standby test taking is not permitted,” it goes on to say that in SOME circumstances, those who have missed the deadline may still be able to take the test on administration day. Remember: there is NO guarantee you will be able to test on your chosen day unless you pre-register nearly a month before the date of the actual test. Here is what you need to know if the worst has come to pass and you’ve missed the on-line registration deadline:

  • Waitlist registration MAY be available from the date that registration closes until five days before the test date. If you are within five days of an SAT test day and have still not registered, you will not be able to sit for the test under any circumstances.
  • Waitlist requests are only available online.
  • Those with Waitlist Status are seated on a first-come, first-served basis only if there are enough test booklets, available seating, and staff.
  • In the event a test administration is cancelled due to weather or other unforeseen events, all Waitlist requests are CANCELLED. You may still be able to submit a Waitlist request for another center if you have not entered the five-day closeout period. Waitlist requests will not and cannot be honored on designated SAT makeup days.
  • Waitlisters may only select one test center and one test – no SAT and Subject Tests on the same day.
  • The Waitlist registration fee is $43 in addition to the regular SAT registration fee of $49. Fee waivers cannot be used.
  • All normal SAT registration protocol applies to Waitlist registration (including the photo upload).
  • You MUST print and bring your Waitlist registration ticket on the day of the test.
  • Foreign language Subject Tests with Listening are not available to Waitlisters. All other Subject Tests are available.
  • If you are a Sunday tester due to religious observance on Saturday, you may NOT register for the Waitlist if this is your first Sunday test. If you have tested on Sundays before, you may register for the Waitlist for Sunday administrations.
  • No one over the age of 21 may register for the Waitlist.
  • FOR THOSE WITH ACCOMODATIONS: the only accommodation available to Waitlisters is the 50% time extension. Accommodations requiring additional equipment or specialized formats are not available. Waitlisters using the 50% time extension must bring their Eligibility Approval Letters with them to the test center.
  • Test Center Supervisors make ALL decisions regarding who is admitted on test day. Waitlisters MUST bring their Waitlist ticket, along with ALL regular documentation (ID, etc.), and a Waitlister cannot make any changes to his or her Waitlist request on test day.


If you have missed the regular registration deadline and are forced to make a Waitlist request, it is ESSENTIAL that you arrive at the test center as early as possible on test day (later than 7:45 am would be a mistake). Make sure you have all your documentation organized. Go immediately to the test administration staff to indicate your presence and present your Waitlist registration ticket. If you’re lucky and they have space, you’re in!

Topics: ACT/SAT Test-Prep

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