How many times can you take the SAT? And should you.

How many times can you take the SAT?

How many times can you take the SAT? SAT can be taken by students as many times as they want. There is no limit to the no. of times a student can take the SAT. It is usually the highest score that is usually taken by colleges as their reference and hence if you score a lower score on your second attempt it is usually not counted.

Some schools prefer to use a technique called “Superscoring” where they would only take and consider a subject score that is higher in each SAT attempt. For e.g., imagine the scenario if your MATH subject score was 100 in your first attempt but it came down to 94 in your second attempt, even though you scored higher overall in your second attempt while appearing for the SAT: If your college uses Superscoring your higher score i.e the MATH score from your first SAT attempt will be counted. Similarly will be the case for the highest Evidence-Based Reading and Writing section score.

Hence, even if your overall score is lower in some subjects on your second attempt you can still improve individual subject scores.

How many times can you take the SAT?
Photo by Mary Taylor

However, there is one caveat. Some highly prestigious institutes like Harvard and the Ivy League schools love to look at your senior year school score only. If you improve your score from 1200 to 1300 while going from junior year to senior year then it is a plus point on your application.

If however, your junior year SAT score was around 1300 and your senior year high school SAT came out below the junior year score, it becomes a red flag for Harvard.

College Board recommends taking the SAT in the junior year at least once and then retaking the test in the senior year as well if you have to improve your score.

If you only plan on taking the SAT only once then it is best to take it in the junior year. By taking the SAT in the junior year you have a second chance if your score comes out lower than expected.

But if you take the SAT only in the senior year then you don’t have a second chance unless you take a gap year.

In my experience, if your college requires you to send them only your highest SAT exam score then taking the exam twice or more is a safe bet. But if your college requires you to send them all of your SAT scores then taking the SAT twice is a safe bet. If you send your college scores of more than three attempts then it can become a red flag on your application as well.

Should you take the SAT more than once?

Many students in the US take the SATs twice in high school. They usually attempt the exam once during their junior year and then they usually retake the exam during their senior year.

There are a number of advantages for doing this:

  • You can work on your mistakes during the off time and improve your test taking skills
  • If you find there is a specific subject that you performed weakly on then you can definetly try to improve that particular subject
  • If you felt nervous during your first attempt then you can appear for the second time as you will not face the same nervousnes the second time

In my opinion, you should definitely take the SAT at least twice. It can really help you get into the right college.

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