01 September 2011

Retaking the SAT: Should You Take the SAT Again?

“1,597,329 million college-bound seniors in the class of 2010 took the SAT.”

Despite the impressive number of participants, the standardized college testing experience is very personal. Results are commonly used in higher education admissions decision-making processes, as well as determining eligibility and awarding of scholarships.  Each student who takes the SAT is directly impacted by the scores achieved on the test. That said, the statistics of who takes the test and the variance in scores are significant and a good place to start when considering your decision to retake the SAT.

If you’ve taken the SAT and didn’t get a perfect score or the score you wanted, you may be thinking about taking the test again.

This graphic uses data from the 2010 College-Bound Seniors Profile Report issued by the College Board and illustrates the score distribution of the college-bound seniors in the class of 2010 who took the SAT. If you didn’t get a perfect score on your SAT, you clearly are not alone. 

Data from the Effects of Repeating the SAT®, Percentage of Students with Senior-Year Score Gain or Loss (2010 Cohort) by College Board indicates that in all parts of the test, the lower your score, the better your chances are of improving your scores by taking the test again. This may seem obvious, but is worth remembering when making the decision to take the SAT again.

If you are still considering taking the SAT again, answer these questions before you sign up:

Have you gained more experience and/or have more applicable coursework “under your belt” since the last time you took the SAT?
If you have since taken additional coursework or gained experience that has increased your knowledge in areas covered in the SAT, you should consider taking the SAT again.

Are you in a “better place” mentally and/or physically than you were the last time you took the SAT?
If your circumstances, either physically or mentally, were not ideal for your best performance the last time, you should consider taking the SAT again.

Are you, or will you be, better prepared to take the SAT than the last time you took it?
If you are willing to study, take practice tests, and/or take advantage of tutoring resources in order to set the stage for the best possible testing outcome, you should definitely consider taking the SAT again.

What is your ultimate goal for taking the SAT? Does this goal require a higher score?
Once you determine your goal for taking the SAT, if you find that your previous score does not meet the standards needed to achieve that goal, you should consider taking the SAT again.

Answering “yes” to one or more of these questions is justification and motivation for taking the SAT test again. 

One more thing…
If you make the decision to take the SAT again, set the stage for success by consciously making a personal commitment to prepare yourself so you can perform to the best of your abilities. Like an athlete, you must “train” for this challenge.  Take advantage of preparatory resources and practice, practice, practice!  If you make this commitment and follow through, you increase the odds that your score will improve and will find that the decision to take the SAT again was a good choice.

Good luck and have a great testing experience!

Anne N. is a SAT Tutor for Parliament Tutors in Des Moines, IA.


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Great article, Anne!

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