Have you ever submitted a test and thought to yourself, "I would do so much better on that test if I could retake it!" ? Most of the time, a do-over or retake isn't an option. However, when it comes to the SAT & ACT tests, multiple attempts are important (within limits).
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How many times CAN I take the SAT/ACT?
Technically, you can take the ACT up to 12 times and the SAT as many times as you want.
Should I take the them more than once?
The short answer is yes, Yes, YES! Whichever test you decide to take, you want the score to be the highest it can possibly be. Even if you're a great test taker, unless you get a perfect score, there is room for improvement. There could be many reasons why you didn't get the score you are capable of. Some factors could even be out of your control, such as, feeling unwell on testing day, not sleeping well the night before the test, blanking out on a section, a personal emergency etc. Still not convinced? Read more about why you want your test scores to be the highest they can possibly be.
You can also retake the tests in order to submit your superscore. Click here to learn all about Superscoring your test score.
How many times should I take the SAT/ACT?
While retaking the tests to improve your scores is recommended, we discourage our students from retaking them more than 2 or 3 times.
Here are 3 reasons why taking the test more than 3 times is not a good idea:
1. It is unlikely that your score will continue to improve after 3 attempts.
We have found that after the 3rd attempt, your score is likely to not go up drastically. Taking the test more than 3 times and getting the same—or possibly lower—results can only lead to frustration. If you use these 20 SAT strategies they will help improve your next score.
2. Some schools require you to submit all of your test scores.
This includes the scores that you’re not so proud of. While colleges will almost certainly look favorably upon improved scores over time, decreased scores over time won’t show you in the best light. For this reason, you also don’t want to take a real test as a practice test.
3. Your time is better spent elsewhere.
The tests are not the be all and end all when it comes to your college application. Also important are your grades, extracurriculars, recommendations, and essays. Use your time wisely, prepare for the test, study hard between attempts and then move on to the rest of your application.
Remember that it can cost between $40 and $60 to register for the tests depending on whether you choose to do the writing section. If you don’t live in the US, register late, or have to modify your registration, you’ll end up incurring even more fees. After a few attempts, it’s just not worth it!
So give the tests your best. If you’re not thrilled with your score, you can always take it again. But taking it more than 2 or 3 times is not in your best interest.
Be prepared for your next test by creating a solid test taking plan. You can find a test taking planning guide here.