There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding whether to retake the SAT’s or not.
This question comes up quite often: should you retake the SAT’s to improve your score? And the reality is, there is no simple answer. There are a lot of factors to consider when deciding whether to retake the SAT’s or not.
There are some pretty simple questions you should ask yourself before you retake the SAT’s.
Do you have a target SAT score that you are striving for and have fallen short of? Have you scored well below your scores on your SAT practice tests? Have you only taken the SAT test one time? Are you a junior or just beginning your senior year, and think you can increase your SAT scores?
If you answered yes to these, you should probably retake the SAT.
But what about the more complex situations?
First, take into consideration what we already know about juniors who retake the SAT as seniors from the pros over at College Board:
- 55 percent of juniors taking the test improved their scores as seniors.
- 35 percent had score drops.
- 10 percent had no change.
- The higher a student’s scores as a junior, the more likely that student’s subsequent scores will drop.
- The lower the initial scores, the more likely the scores will go up.
- On average, juniors repeating the SAT as seniors improved their combined critical reading, mathematics, and writing scores by approximately 40 points.
- About 1 in 25 gained 100 or more points on critical reading or mathematics, and about 1 in 90 lost 100 or more points.
This information brings a few things to light. More than half of juniors retaking the test as seniors improve their SAT scores. If you feel you scored lower than your potential and had a low initial score, take it again. You have a better chance of increasing your SAT score than scoring lower. So why not take it again?
Still, there are some scenarios where it may not make sense for you to retake the test. For example, if taking the test again will not give you enough time to submit your scores to colleges. Or if you are not able to put the necessary study efforts into the next test, including meeting with a tutor or taking SAT prep courses. It also doesn’t make sense to retake the SAT if already scored high on a previous test. Check to see if your score meets the requirements of all the schools you’re applying to. If so, maybe taking it again isn’t the best choice for you.
If you are still on the fence and not sure what to do, here are a few things to know when deciding if you want to retake the SAT’s.
- Schools do not see how many times you took the test so taking the test many times does not hurt you.
- You can submit the test(s) of your choice to the schools of your choice. This allows you to cherry pick the exact scores you want schools to see.
“Score Choice is a score-reporting feature that gives students the option to choose the SAT scores by test date and SAT Subject Test scores by individual test that they send to colleges, in accordance with each institution’s individual score-use practice.” –CollegeBoard.com
- Some schools use a SuperScore. This is the practice of taking the highest score per section across all your submitted SAT’s. It does not matter if it is a part of the same test on the same date or not. And it does make sure that you get credit for the highest possible integrated score.
For a list of how specific schools use SAT’s scores, click here for Score Choice participating institutions.
There’s not always a clear cut “yes” or “no” answer to whether or not you should retake the SAT’s to improve your score.
There are some definite times when the answer is “yes.”
There are also times when the answer is “no,” because it just doesn’t make sense to retake the test.
But there are also a lot of scenarios that fall between.
At the end of the day, you can take the SAT test as many times as you like without penalty. And with the Score Choice scoring system in practice, what do you have to lose? It all comes down to a personal choice. You may have to ask yourself how dedicated you are to studying hard and working to improve your score in the time leading up to the test.
Whatever you decide, good luck and study hard!