Quiz: Should You Retake the SAT?

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Quiz: Should You Retake the SAT?

So you took the SAT. Maybe you missed your target score by a few points. Or maybe you missed it by a few hundred points.

There’s always a question of whether it’s worth the time, money, and energy to retake the SAT. According to college board, 55% of juniors taking the test improved their scores after retaking the SAT as seniors. The average improvement was 40 points. However, only about 4% of test-takers gained 100 or more points.

Many college students believe that multiple retakes will hurt them on college applications, but this isn’t true. Most schools will only use your highest total SAT, and others will combine your highest scores in each test section to create a “super score.” But there are a few things to consider before you commit to spending another Saturday morning taking the SAT.



Should You Retake the SAT?


1. How much time do you have before submitting your applications?

a) More than a year

b) More than 6 months

c) Less than 6 months

d) Less than 2 months


2. How much time did you spend studying for the SAT  before this?

a) Umm, I did a few practice questions right before the test?

b) I studied, but I know I could have put in a lot more time

c) I’ve already put in a significant amount of time, but I might be able to put in more time

d) I’ve already put in a significant amount of time, and I feel like I’ve tried everything


3. How many times have you taken the SAT already?

a) This would be my 2nd time

b) This would by my 3rd time

c) This would be my 4th time

d) This would be my 5th (or 6th, 7th, or 8th) time


4. Do you feel like there was something interfering with your performance on test day (e.g., illness, distraction, personal issues, etc.)?

a) Definitely, I had a major distraction on the test day

b) No, but I was a little nervous

c) No, I felt fine.

d) No, I felt like I was doing great


5. Was your practice score higher than your SAT score?

a) Yes, my official practice score was 100+ higher than my actual SAT score

b) Yes, my practice score was 40-90 points higher

c) My practice score was within 30 points of my actual score

d) No, my practice score was more than 30 points lower than my actual score




Mostly A's
You should definitely retake the SAT.
Mostly B's
You should probably retake the SAT.
Mostly C's
You should consider not retaking the SAT.
Mostly D's
You probably shouldn’t retake the SAT.


Of course, there a lot of factors to consider. According to College Board, 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. So if you’re at 2300 and hoping your SAT will give you a 50 point bump, you’re better off directing your energy toward the rest of your application. Research shows that point increases decline with each extra exam. You’re less likely to see a significant score increase if it’s your fourth time taking the SAT.

Keep in mind that the last old SAT will take place on January 23rd, 2015 (but make sure you sign up before the 8th). So if you want to retake the old SAT, you only have a few chances left.


SAT Dates and Deadlines for 2015-2016:

Test Offered Test Date Registration Date Late Registration Date (fee applies)
Current SAT & Subject Tests October 3rd, 2015 September 3rd, 2015 September 22nd, 2015
Current SAT & Subject Tests November 7th, 2015 October 9th, 2015 October 23rd, 2015
Current SAT & Subject Tests December 5th, 2015 November 5th, 2015 November 23rd, 2015
Current SAT & Subject Tests January 23rd, 2016 December 28th, 2015 January 12th, 2016
SAT Only March 5th, 2016 February 5th, 2016 February 23rd, 2016
New SAT & Subject Tests May 7th, 2016 April 8th, 2016 April 26th, 2016
New SAT & Subject Tests June 4th, 2016 May 5th, 2016 May 25th, 2016

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