What Should You Do If You Get A Low ACT / SAT Score?

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High ACT/SAT scores can boost your chances of getting accepted into the university of your choice. Scoring well on these tests is even more important if you are applying to highly competitive institutions, where every single aspect of your application will be weighed, including your test scores. Also, you can qualify for more scholarships with a higher score. So what should you do if you get a low ACT/SAT score?

We’ve put together a few tips to help you.

If You Have Time, Take the ACT/SAT Again

If you have taken the ACT/SAT early in your junior year, there is no need to panic if the score on your latest test is not as high as you’d hoped it would be. You have time to take the test again if you are worried that your scores are too low and may jeopardize your application.

To maximize your chances of getting a high score on the retake, you must first request a copy of the test you took. You may have an idea of where you lost marks on your test but there is no way to know for sure unless you analyze your test paper.

To get your SAT scores, you will have to put in a request through College Board’s Question-And-Answer Service. For your ACT scores, you will have to apply for a Test Information Release.

Both, the ACT and SAT test copies show you the questions and answer keys as well as your answers. Going through your answers will help you understand which questions you answered incorrectly, giving you a better idea of your strengths and weaknesses. This will help you develop a more focused study plan, with more time scheduled for strengthening your weak areas.

Now that you have worked on strengthening your weaker areas, it’s time to test your progress. The best way to do this is by answering practice tests under test conditions.

Don’t forget to book your test date in advance. Here you will find more tips on how to schedule the week before your ACT/SAT test. (link to earlier article)

What To Do If You Do Not Have The Time For A Re-Test

If you take the ACT/SAT your senior year, you may not have the time for a re-test. In that case, you may have to change your strategy.

One thing you can do is look for test-optional colleges. There are over 800 institutions in the U.S. that do not require test scores. You are sure to find more than a few pretty good alternatives from among these 800 colleges and universities.

Also, if you look through the profiles of colleges you are interested in, you will find details of the average scores for those institutions. Your “low” ACT/SAT score may actually be in line with average applicants to many colleges. Applying to these colleges will boost your odds of getting accepted.

Focus On Other Parts of Your College App

Don’t forget: the test scores are only one part of your whole application. It is also worth spend time strengthening the other areas of your app. Work harder on raising your GPA. In most colleges, a high GPA may compensate for low ACT/SAT scores. Put extra time into writing an exceptional admission essay that will impress the judges and sway their decision in your favor, regardless of your test scores.

Check out how your ACT/SAT score affects your acceptance odds with College Raptor’s free match tool!