How many times should I take the SAT or ACT?

Many of our high school junior clients took the SAT on December 2 for the first time. They’ll get their results online sometime between December 15 and 21. Other clients just took their first ACT exam on December 9.  They’ll get their results sometime between December 19 and February 2. We hope they don’t have to wait too long. And we wish them perfect scores!

But the reality is that most college applicants take the SAT or ACT more than once. Maybe 2 or 3 times, stretched over their junior and senior years. Odds are, with this extra familiarity with the test process and additional prep with our tutors they will improve their scores. Some experts caution not to exceed 3 times taking the test, as it may not help your score; plus some colleges may judge this unfavorably.

However, both the ACT and the College Board offer Score Choice, which allows you to choose which ACT or SAT and/or SAT Subject test scores you send to colleges. Here’s the College Board’s quick how-to video

In addition, many colleges allow you to superscore the SAT:  You submit the tests and the colleges consider only your highest section scores from each of two or three dates you took the SAT, forming the highest possible composite score. For example, you might combine your highest Math score from test 1, your highest Evidence-Based Reading and Writing (EBRW) score from test 2, and your highest optional essay score from test 3.

Some colleges also superscore ACT results, combining your highest Math, Science, Reading, and English scores, then average these together for a new composite higher than any of the individual ACT tests you took. This may be a better option than having to submit scores from only one test date via Score Choice.

Important! Make sure the colleges you plan to apply to will accept Score Choice and will superscore your ACT or SAT test results. Some colleges require that you submit all scores; some recommend but do not require that you submit all scores; while others accept score choice.

What to do after your first SAT or ACT test? Chill. Wait for results. Jump for joy with your high scores; or figure out what went wrong and how you can do better.  Schedule the next test and resume your prep work and practice tests at the Ivy Tutors midtown test center. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

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