Do I Need to Retake the SAT or ACT?

In Apply on Dec 07, 2016

If you took the ACT or SAT already and are relieved to be done with it, don’t put down that No. 2 pencil just yet!

Most of us won’t magically get perfect scores on the third (or fourth, or fifth) try. But people who test again generally do a little better the second time around. ACT data shows almost 60 percent of students improved their score after retaking it, and more than 55 percent of students who took the SAT as juniors improved their scores by signing up again later.

So, should you retake the test? Here’s what you should think about

Are You A Nervous Tester?
Test nerves strike everyone at some point. If those butterflies in your stomach got the best of you the first time around, try taking the test again. You have experience now, meaning you may be more comfortable and at ease than you were last year.

Did Life Throw You A Curveball?
Were you sick on test day? Had a family member passed away the day before? Did you get into a fight with your BFF that morning? Unfortunately, it’s all too common to have something distracting pop up just as test day arrives. These things make it hard to focus and can hurt your score.

Work your memory to see if anything kept you from testing well that day. Did a jittery tummy keep you from eating breakfast, but you were starving during the test? Maybe you had trouble with comprehension because you were too nervous to sleep the night before. Try testing again – just make sure you don’t get into the same situation next time!

Did You Study? No, Really.
Do you feel like the only one who didn’t do any ACT or SAT prep? Feeling ready can do wonders for your score. Sign up for another test and make sure you get a practice book or review any concepts you struggled with last time. Remember, cramming doesn’t work, so start studying early on. Our top study tips can help!

Do You Want Merit Scholarships?
Higher scores = more scholarship opportunities. Need money for school? Study hard and retake the test.

What Score Do You Need?
What’s your dream school? Compare your test score to their average incoming freshman’s result (you can use our college acceptance calculator to do that!). If these numbers don’t match up, it’s time to sign up for a retake. And just in case you don’t push that score as high as you’d like it, add a few more schools to your list. You can always reach for your favorite colleges, but it doesn’t hurt to have a few safeties in mind, too.

Good luck!

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