After all that studying, prepping, practice test-taking, stressing, and finally taking the SAT, the last thing you’re probably thinking is: I want to do that again. The SAT is a big deal and a big commitment, especially in the middle of college searching and regular school. So once you’re done with the test, why should you retake the SAT?
Why should you retake the SAT?
Studies show that people who retake the SAT tend to get a higher score the second time around. Even if you were happy with your original score, a boost can only help in the long run. And for those unhappy with their score, taking the SAT a second (or third or fourth) time can be a way to try again and improve.
But what about the colleges? Which scores will they look at? Here comes some good news, because–for the most part–colleges will take the highest scores you’ve earned in each section. Let’s take a look at an example (using the old 2400 scale).
- Math: 525
- Critical Reading: 440
- Writing: 480
- Total: 1445
- Math: 580
- Critical Reading: 520
- Writing: 445
- Total: 1545
The colleges would take your highest scores from both tests and give you 1580. That’s a pretty good deal. Some colleges will, however, require you to send in the scores for every time you took the test. While that might be a bit intimidating, especially if the earlier scores were lower than you were hoping for, the colleges will note your persistence and your improved scoring, which will win you some favor.
Does taking the SAT over and over again look desperate to colleges?
Not at all! Because while the entrance exam scores are certainly important in regards to your chances of being admitted, they aren’t the only factors that matter. Colleges want to see you push yourself, to step up to a challenge, and retaking the SAT is certainly showing that you care and are dedicated. Schools admire that in a student.
And hey, maybe the first time you took the SAT was just a bad day. Maybe you were sick or didn’t sleep very well the previous night. Maybe you were hungry or that one kid behind you kept tapping his pencil on the desk and you couldn’t concentrate. Whatever the reason might be, you just weren’t at the top of your game.
Some tips on retaking the SAT
Taking the test again ensures a new day, a new start. You can learn from your mistakes the first time round from taking the ACT/SAT–eat a good breakfast, get plenty of sleep, brush up on some sections that gave you trouble, etc.
Long story short, retaking the SAT increases your chances of getting a higher score. So, if you get the chance to retake, go for it! And good luck!