We know the feeling. It’s a feeling every high school student fears: opening your SAT result and finding that you fell short of the perfect score wanted. For most people, there’s an inevitable sell of worry, disappointment, and insecurity. Your mind suddenly begins to play images of your college dreams slipping away.
Don’t worry; this doesn’t spell the end of the world or your college dreams. If you are here, you are probably in this condition, and you are asking if you can take the SAT a second time.
The short answer is yes. You can retake the SAT a second time or even a third time if you want. Want to know how? This article provides you answers to all the questions that have been bothering your mind about retaking the SAT. Read on to also find out the possibility of retaking the SAT as a senior student and how it affects your college application.
Is it Too Late to Take the SAT as a Senior?
Technically no, but it’s advisable not to leave it until then. This is especially important advice for people taking the test for the first or only time. Most times, it’s difficult to count on getting your desired score in one sitting. Some early/suggested deadlines include October 15, even though the actual deadline can sometimes get as late as November 15 or even December 15.
If you are a 12th grader and you’ve been procrastinating taking the test, then there’s a tendency to fear that it’s too late. You don’t have to panic, since there are several SAT dates in the fall. The multiple dates would give you enough time to get your desired score for colleges and scholarships alike.
One of the significant issues that senior students always run into is whether or not a single test will be enough to fetch them the score they need. The general advice is that you take the soonest possible test if you intend to apply early, and you probably haven’t taken the SAT yet. If you do, you’ll probably have the test in August, and this gives you a good shot at getting your score back while having enough time to register for the October test date if you need to.
Generally, you’ll rest assured that your score before October will get to your college in time before most fall deadlines. Even when it doesn’t, some schools are still willing to take your score just a little after the deadline.
How Many Times Can You Take the SAT?
Technically, there are no limitations to the number of times that you can take the SAT. That means that you can take the test as many times as you want. Typically, we recommend taking the test at least twice – in the spring of your junior year and the fall of your senior year.
Over time, we’ve seen that students tend to improve their scores when taking the SAT for a second time. Additionally, most colleges consider a student’s highest SAT score during the admission process. If, during the admission process, a college finds that you have your total SAT score higher than your previous SAT score by at least 100 points, then you could be eligible to earn an improvement on your scholarship up to the tune of $2,000.
Another reason to take the SAT for a second time is the fact that several schools are using the “superscoring” process today. Superscoring is a process that involves combining a student’s highest maths section score with his or her highest writing section score and evidence-based reading to come up with their total SAT score.
Let’s also mention that there are up to seven test dates throughout the year, so the only limit that may stand in your way is time. Several schools would give you the leverage to use Score Choice or to pick and send the score from your preferred test dates along with your college application. Bear in mind, however, that not all schools support the use of Score Choice. So, if your preferred school favors the use of Score Choice and you have the time and resources to continue retesting, then you can take the SAT as many times as you want. However, the question is, “can you retake the SAT as a senior, especially if your school doesn’t use Score Choice, and you are expected to send all your test scores when submitting your application?”
How Many Times Should You Take the SAT?
The answer to this question typically depends on the school you are applying to. If you are applying to a school that allows the use of Score Choice as explained above, you can take the test as many times as your resources allow. However, if you apply to a school that requires you to submit all scores with your application, then it’s recommended that you limit taking the SAT to below six times. If you take the SAT for up to six times or more, it might be a pointer that you do not take the test seriously enough to prepare each time or find it difficult to improve your scores. Generally, the SAT is designed to test students’ readiness for college on a level playing ground. Therefore, it wouldn’t be fair to judge a student that took the test a few times on the same scale with one that has to take the test several times to perform well.
An excellent strategy that works most times is refocusing your test preparation approach. While it’s almost impossible to exchange real test experience for anything, you will also gain a lot from focused and purposeful test preparation.
If you are stuck with always retaking the SAT without noticing any significant improvement in your scores, perhaps it’s time to look at your preparation strategy. Instead of asking questions like, “how many times can I take the SAT?” Turn your focus on adopting a new test prep approach.
Check to be sure that you are targeting and improving on your weak spots. Also, check to ensure that you are using the proper timer during practice tests to improve your pace. Another area to improve on is familiarizing yourself with the best strategies for reading and analyzing passages.
Changing your test prep approach would help you reach your target score within a few sitting for the SAT. Besides, it would offer you enough time to study and get familiar with related questions. Apart from indicating inadequate preparation for the SAT, there are several other reasons why excessive retesting should not be encouraged.
Reasons to Avoid Excessive Retesting
As explained earlier, the importance of taking control of your test prep cannot be overemphasized. This period offers you the opportunity to diagnose your areas of strengths and weaknesses. It also helps you to figure out steps that you can take to improve your scores. At this point, you are probably also taking other tests, along with your usual school work, club activities, community service, and sports. These activities would require your attention at different times, and the last thing you would want is to divert your attention from any of these activities since they are all critical parts of your college application.
Plus, the whole process of preparing and sitting for the SAT comes with its level of stress. Indeed, real test experiences can help you learn how to calm yourself down, control your nerve, and focus. But, do you really need to go through this several times? The truth remains that taking the SAT more than six times would speak negatively of you and can potentially become a waste of energy, time, and money.
Again, while it is possible to prepare really hard and score low, you still do not want to treat any test lightly. We recommend that you take every test as seriously as they come so that you can explore your full skills and scoring capacity. Using the same mindset to tackle practice tests would help you build the right testing experience and figure out what you should learn and practice to improve your scores.
Just like most other aspects of life, taking and passing the SAT requires balance. If you can set a study plan and stick to it, it’ll be possible to find the right balance between testing too little and testing too much. The most important thing is finding a testing schedule that suits you.
Does Retaking the SAT as a Senior Affect Your Applications?
Retaking the SAT exam will not affect your college applications. After all, the schools know how difficult it is for anyone to achieve their dream score in one attempt. Most students, irrespective of the initial level of satisfaction with their first score, often end up retaking the SAT at least once.
But like many other exams, retaking the SAT comes with uncertainty. Most students and parents fret about the preparation process, potential penalties, and the possibility of doing worse on the retake. Well, now you know that retaking the SAT does not look bad on your college application. It may show your perseverance and improve your score since chances exist that you’ll do better on the retake than on your first try.
But continually retaking the exams might soon become a bad idea. Since retaking the test typically increases scores, some students might be tempted to sign up for every SAT that they can. But retaking an exam for the fifth or sixth time doesn’t speak well of your preparation. So you should target making enough score in your second or third sitting.
Wrapping Things Up: Can You Retake the SAT as a Senior?
There you have it, detailed answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the SAT. Retaking the SAT as a senior will certainly not hinder your college chances, although we recommend that you avoid retaking the exams several times. With adequate preparation, you would realize that your score will increase and you’ll gain a more competitive edge in the admission process.
All the information uncovered in this article would offer you the needed confidence to prepare and sit for the SAT. You can rest assured that adequate preparation would not only give you a better score, but you’ll also increase your chances of making it to college. The frenzy about the test can easily scare you, but with the right information, you’ll soon get comfortable and earn good scores.