How Many Times Can You Take the SAT? (2023)


Professional Development

How Many Times Can You Take the SAT?

Written by Coursera • Updated on

How many times can you take the SAT? Students can take it as many times as they want, but most students take it twice. Find out when it's a good idea to take it again, how many times is too many, and tips on getting a better score.

How Many Times Can You Take the SAT? (1)

Students can take the SAT as many times as they want; however, there are typically only seven test dates throughout the year. Most students take the exam twice, once at the end of their junior year and again at the beginning of their senior year.

(Video) How Many Times Should You Take the SAT or ACT?

About 1.5 million students in the Class of 2021 took the SATs at least once, according to a report from the College Board [1]. That’s about 700,000 fewer than the year previous, which is likely due to the closure of testing centers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

While fewer students may have taken the test recently, it remains the most widely used college admission test in the nation. Students work hard to prepare for it, too. It’s common to start studying one to six months in advance and set aside about 10 to 20 hours a week for preparation before sitting for the exam.

Reasons to take the SATs more than once

With such a time-consuming exam, you might wonder why taking such a test more than once is beneficial. Experts say these are the most common reasons to retake the SAT:

Improve your score.

One of the biggest reasons students retake the exam is to increase their score. Research shows 55 percent of high school juniors improved their scores when they retook the test as a senior [2]. On average, scores went up by 55 points, and 4 percent of students increased their score by 100 points or more, according to Manhattan Review.

Work on problem areas.

After taking the SAT once, you may know what to expect and which portions were more difficult. As a result, you can work on those problem areas and improve your scores in certain sections. If, for example, you score low in mathematics, you can spend more time studying the exam’s math principles. This kind of strategic studying is common among students who want to see a bump in their score.

You have an idea of what to expect.

Taking a college entrance exam comes with its own set of nerves, and with one test complete, you have an idea of what to expect. Expectations are now set, letting you manage nerves and focus on the questions.

You hopefully have more knowledge.

As mentioned, students often first take the SAT following their junior year. However, retaking the exam later on gives you more time in the classroom to grow your knowledge. New math concepts and English principles that are introduced during your senior year could help you improve your scores.

Qualify for financial aid.

If you retake the SAT and get a higher score, it may provide more financial aid opportunities. Certain loans, grants, or tuition-reduction programs may have a required SAT score associated with them.

Before taking the exam, it’s a good idea to explore financial aid opportunities to help set a target score.

The University of Mississippi, for example, guarantees minimum scholarship awards to students with an SAT score of 1130-1150 [3]. Students who meet this threshold receive $1,000 a year in aid. If the student also has a GPA of 3.5 or higher, scholarship money increases to $3,000 a year.

Generally, the higher the SAT score, the more scholarship money is available. The highest amount awarded by the University of Mississippi is $12,718 a year to students with an SAT score of 1450+ and a GPA of 3.5 or higher.

How many tests is too many?

While you can take the SAT as many times as you’d like, is there a suggested cut-off?

Even though test-taking frequency is up to each student, experts at PrepScholar say students shouldn’t take the exam more than six times [4]. Taking it too many times may indicate to a school that you’re not preparing as well as you should.

Of course, there’s a flip side too. If you only take the exam once, it could indicate your unwillingness to try again. Since most students do improve their scores on the second try, it makes the most sense to take the exam twice.

Are all SAT scores sent to a school or can you pick the highest?

Many schools adhere to a principle called Score Choice, which means a student can choose which test scores are sent to a school. You can’t pick and choose section scores from two different tests though. For example, you can’t use the math score from your first test and the writing and language score from your second test. Instead, you can opt to send the complete results of test one or test two.

There are certain schools that do require all SAT scores to be sent over, so you should research the requirements of your target school.

(Video) How many times can you take the SAT or ACT?

What’s the average SAT score needed to get into college?

Most colleges do set a required SAT score for incoming freshmen, so you should research your desired school’s requirements. Most students will apply to a variety of different schools, which means the SAT scores will range. Consider striving to meet or exceed the highest score required.

As you might expect, Ivy League schools have higher requirements. For students looking to get into the top 25 schools in the nation, SAT scores need to be between 1415 and 1510, depending on the school, according to PrepScholar [5]. Other schools tend to have minimum score standards that are a bit lower. A list of 76 popular colleges shows the average SAT score required ranges between 1210 and 1485.

Meanwhile, the average test score for students in the Class of 2020 was 1051, according to US News [6].

Read more: What Is a Good SAT Score? Finding Your Goal Score

Tips for retaking the SAT

For those looking to repeat their SAT exam, here are a few strategic study tips:

Get back to studying.

After taking such a big exam, you might be inclined to take some time off before jumping back into studying. However, the best plan is to return to your studies right after taking the exam because it’ll help keep the information fresh and give you the chance to build on your foundation.

Focus on certain sections.

After taking the exam, you’ll get your results. Look at the scores by section such as: Reading, Writing and Language, Math, and an optional Essay. You can ask yourself, which section did you score the lowest in and put more effort into where you want to see the most improvement.

Take practice exams.

Besides optimizing what you study, use should also improve how you study. Go over your review materials, but remember to take practice exams, which are one of the best tools you can use to prepare for a retake.

Set a study schedule.

Take a moment to make a study schedule that takes you from the present day to the date of the exam. The schedule will help you stay accountable and keep you from cramming for the test. Trying to improve SAT scores by studying a day or two before the test usually won’t be as effective as working at it in small pieces over time.

Consider a study group.

How are you preparing for the exam? If you’re working alone, it might be beneficial to find a study group or consider taking SAT prep classes that are specifically designed to improve test scores.

Next steps

Taking the SAT is just one piece of the college application process. For further insight, consider taking a free online course, How to Apply for College, offered by the University of Pennsylvania on Coursera. During the course, you’ll learn how to navigate each stage of the application process.

Learn more about earning your exam-optional bachelor's degree online from a leading university on Coursera.

(Video) How Many Times Should You Take the SAT?
(Video) How many times can I take the SAT or ACT [College Admissions]

You are Currently on slide 1

Related articles

  • How to Ask for a Letter of Recommendation (Template + Tips)

  • What is a Bachelor’s Degree? Requirements, Costs, and More

  • Your Guide to College Entrance Exams

  • What is a Major in College?

Article sources

1. Inside Higher Ed. “700,000 Fewer Took the SAT,” Accessed March 1, 2022.

2. Manhattan Review. “Retaking the SAT,,of%20100%20points%20or%20more.” Accessed March 1, 2022.

3. University of Mississippi. “Freshman Scholarships Guide 2021-2022,” Accessed March 1, 2022.

4. PrepScholar. “Expert Guide: How Many Times Should You Take the SAT,” Accessed March 1, 2022.

5. PrepScholar. “What Are Good SAT Scores for Colleges? 101 Schools + Advice,” Accessed March 1, 2022.

6. US News. “What’s a Good SAT Score?,” Accessed March 1, 2022.

Written by Coursera • Updated on

This content has been made available for informational purposes only. Learners are advised to conduct additional research to ensure that courses and other credentials pursued meet their personal, professional, and financial goals.

(Video) When to Take the SAT


How Many Times Can You Take the SAT? ›

You can take the SAT as many times as you want! While there is technically no limit to the number of times you can take the SAT, most students choose to take the SAT two or three times before submitting college applications. On average, 63% of students see a score improvement when they retake the SAT at least once.

Is it OK to take the SAT 3 times? ›

Students can take the SAT as many times as they want. We recommend that they take it at least twice—in the spring of their junior year and the fall of their senior year. Most students get a higher score the second time, and most colleges consider a student's highest SAT score when making admission decisions.

How many SAT questions can you miss to get a 1500? ›

So, start answering the questions which you find easy. To get 1500 SAT, you need to get at least 48 right out of 52 in the Reading section. 41 right out of 44 in the Language section and 55 right out of 58 in the Maths section.

Do colleges care how many times you took the SAT? ›

Yes, colleges can see how frequently you take the test if they want to, but Colleges won't turn up their noses if you've taken the exam two or more. What colleges care about are the top scores that they see. This shows that you're serious about your studies and are willing to put in your studies' time and effort.

How many SAT questions can you miss to get a 1600? ›

As you can see with the above SAT scoring chart, it's possible to get some questions wrong and still earn the max SAT score. Generally speaking, you can miss 1-2 questions on each section and still get a perfect 1600.

Is there a downside to taking the SAT multiple times? ›

It does not hurt to take the SAT multiple times. Colleges cannot see how many times you have taken the SAT. However, writing the SAT is a stressful and time-consuming endeavor, so it's important to know how many times are right for you.

What happens if I retake the SAT and get a lower score? ›

Additionally, if you retake the tests, you can choose which scores you send. And even if you sent all of your scores, many colleges will only consider your highest. So even if you were to get a lower score the second time, it would not matter.

How many questions can I miss on the SAT to get a 1100? ›

For Evidence-Based Reading and Writing, you can skip/answer incorrectly on average 9 questions on the writing portion and 12 questions on the reading portion. For Math, you can skip/answer incorrectly on average 17 questions between the calculator and no-calculator sections.

Is 1500 SAT good for Harvard? ›

A 1500 SAT score is good for Harvard, but a score closer to 1580 (the 75th percentile) will make you a more competitive applicant.

How rare is a 1200 on the SAT? ›

What percentile is a 1200 SAT score? The 1200 SAT is in the 74th percentile. This means just shy of 550,000 of the 2.13 million test takers scored the same or higher than you.

How many times does the average person take the SAT? ›

Most students take the exam twice, once at the end of their junior year and again at the beginning of their senior year. About 1.5 million students in the Class of 2021 took the SATs at least once, according to a report from the College Board [1].

Is it worth taking the SAT 4 times? ›

Why We Discourage Taking the SAT 4 Times. In most instances, students do not improve enough on the 4th exam to warrant the stress of sitting for the exam again. Normally, students plateau after the 3rd attempt and will reach their potential within the 3 times they take the SAT or ACT.

Does Harvard look at how many times you take the SAT? ›

If I take the ACT and/or SAT more than once, which results does Harvard consider? We consider your best test scores, but it is the general experience that taking tests more than twice offers diminishing returns.

How rare is a perfect SAT score? ›

How Many People Get A Perfect SAT Score? Yearly, less than 1% of all test-takers get a perfect score. That's hundreds out of nearly three million people who take the test. The people who score perfect aren't necessarily the smartest test-takers but are often the most prepared.

How many questions can I get wrong on the SAT to get a 700? ›

10 or more wrong answers will knock you down from 700s. I don't know about English section. Try to solve every question and don't worry. Math section is easy so try to score 800.

How hard is it to get a 1100 on the SAT? ›

An 1100 SAT falls in the 58th percentile, meaning that a score of 1100 is better than 58% of all other 2 million-odd test takers.

How many times can you take the SAT before it looks bad? ›

Here's the thing: students can take the SAT as many times as they want. Unlike the ACT, College Board places no restrictions on how often students can take the SAT. Only the most recent 6 scores will stay on file at a time, but if you want to take it 38 times, College Board is happy to let you do so.

How much does it cost to retake the SAT? ›

Frequently Asked Questions About SAT Retakes

You must pay $60 each time you register for the SAT, regardless of how many times you take or have taken the test. Eligible students can receive SAT fee waivers. These let you take the SAT twice for free. After this, you'll need to pay $60 each time you take the SAT.

Should I retake a 1390 SAT? ›

Does the SAT score of 1390 fall within the upper 50% range? If so, your score is considered to be "good enough." If your score falls below the 50% range, you might consider taking the SAT again. For example, my state university has a SAT middle range score of 1340.

What SAT score should I not retake? ›

Never Retake a 1530+

The SAT User Percentiles are what matter since they're based on the actual scores of students. The Nationally Representative Sample is pretty meaningless. A student's percentile represents the percentage of students whose score is equal to or lower than his or her score.

Do colleges like to see SAT improvement? ›

The short answer is no.

Retaking the SAT or ACT does not look bad to colleges; it may actually demonstrate your perseverance and improve your score.

What is the age limit for retaking the SAT? ›

There is no age limit for the SAT. Anyone can take it at any time. However, colleges may waive the requirement for people over certain ages. More and more universities are also not requiring the test score as part of their application.

How rare is a 1500 SAT? ›

A 1500 puts you in nearly the 95th percentile of all 1.7 million test takers.

Is 1150 a bad SAT score? ›

The average national SAT score is between 1050 and 1100 every year (on purpose), putting an 1150 at an above-average 67th percentile — that's a score to be proud of! It means that you scored higher than 67% of all other test takers.

Do you have to get every question right to get a 36? ›

Based on the ACT practice tests, most sections require you to miss 0 questions to receive a score of 36. However, in the Math section, you might be able to miss 1 question and still receive a 36. Receiving a score of 35 most often entails missing 1–3 questions in each section.

Is a 4.7 GPA good for Harvard? ›

Average GPA: 4.18

(Most schools use a weighted GPA out of 4.0, though some report an unweighted GPA. With a GPA of 4.18, Harvard requires you to be at the top of your class. You'll need nearly straight A's in all your classes to compete with other applicants.

What is the lowest SAT at Harvard? ›

Estimated Chance of Acceptance by SAT Score
SAT Score (1600 scale)CompetitivenessAdmission Chances
1530 to 1580Avg +4%-7%
1480 to 1530Avg -2%-4%
1430 to 1480Reach1%-2%
Less than 1430Low<1%
1 more row

What was Bill Gates SAT score out of 1600? ›

Bill Gates has an impressive SAT score

Gates scored a 1590 out of 1600 on his SATs.

What was Steve Jobs SAT score? ›

Celebrity ACT Scores
CelebrityACT Score (or equivalent)SAT Score (or equivalent)
Wacka Flocka Flame341550*
Steve Jobs321480*
Marilyn Monroe211080*
Sonia Sotomayor351580*
11 more rows
Feb 2, 2016

Is a 650 math SAT good? ›

A good SAT score will not only open doors to college acceptance, but also to merit aid at a vast majority of colleges and universities. A good score is in the range of 1300 to 1500 (Math: 650 to 750, Reading/Writing: 650 to 750).

Can I get into MIT with a 1200 SAT? ›

MIT SAT Score Analysis (New 1600 SAT)

There's no absolute SAT requirement at MIT, but they really want to see at least a 1500 to have a chance at being considered.

How long should I study for the SAT? ›

Studying for the SAT in a month is possible, though it's recommended that you spend 10 to 20 hours per week over the course of two or three months prepping for the SAT.

Is it too much to take the SAT 5 times? ›

However, it is possible to take the SAT too many times.

In general, we recommend not taking the SAT more than 5 or 6 times. Taking the SAT more than 6 times may cause schools to think you don't take the test seriously or can't figure out how to improve your score.

Should I take the SAT two months in a row? ›

Two to three months of studying will put you right in the sweet spot for being well-prepared. You have just enough time to become an expert on the test and not let your grades suffer (especially if you're on summer break).

Should I retake ACT with a 35? ›

Should I Retake the ACT with a 35 Score? An ACT score of 35 is a demonstration of excellence in all academic fields at the high school level. There's no pressing reason to retake the ACT, especially with a score so close to perfect.

Is 780 a good SAT math score? ›

Based on this data, you know to aim for around 770 on EBRW and 780 on Math — both incredibly high scores. The exact SAT score you should aim for will vary depending on the colleges you apply to.

Has SAT become more difficult? ›

In many ways, the new SAT is much easier than the older version. However, this doesn't mean you shouldn't study and be prepared! While the format may be better for some students, the questions are still designed to test your ability and skills in each particular subject.

What GPA is required for Harvard? ›

The average high school GPA of admitted students at Harvard is around 4.2. 73% of students had a GPA of at least 4.0, indicating that admitted students typically mostly earned A grades in high school. If you're studying the IB, this translates to scoring mostly 7s and achieving a minimum score of at least 42.

Is 1400 SAT enough for Harvard? ›

Can you get into Harvard with a 1400 SAT? Harvard applicants with a combined SAT score of 1300-1400 and an average GPA of 3.5-4.0 have a better chance of being accepted to Harvard University.

Can I get into Harvard without SAT? ›

When you apply for admission, you can choose whether or not our review of your application will include your standardized test scores (SAT and ACT). If your scores already are on file before you apply and you choose at the time of your application to proceed without scores, we will not consider those scores.

What did Elon Musk score on SAT? ›

Elon Musk reacts to GPT-4 scoring 93% on SAT exams.

What did Mark Zuckerberg get on the SAT? ›

Mark Zuckerberg.

The founder of Facebook scored the perfect 1600 on the SAT and attended Harvard University. There's no surprise there on the score or prestigious university!

Has anyone ever gotten a 0 on the SAT? ›

While it's impossible for you to get a zero on the test (everyone who takes the SAT will receive at least a 400), you have almost similar odds of doing very well on the test without studying.

What type of math is mostly on the SAT? ›

While 90% of your questions will fall into the Heart of Algebra, Passport to Advanced Math, or Problem Solving and Data Analysis categories, the remaining 10% will simply be classified as Additional Topics. These topics include geometry, trigonometry, and problems with complex numbers.

How bad is a 900 on the SAT? ›

A 900 SAT score is a percentile of 23, meaning you scored higher than 23% of all test takers.

How many questions can you miss on the SAT and still get a 1600? ›

As you can see with the above SAT scoring chart, it's possible to get some questions wrong and still earn the max SAT score. Generally speaking, you can miss 1-2 questions on each section and still get a perfect 1600.

Can I get into an Ivy League with a 1100 SAT? ›

It is unlikely to get accepted into an Ivy League school with a 1100 SAT score, but it is not impossible. Ivy League schools do not have any requirements for SAT scores. However, because Ivy League schools are so competitive, you need an exceptional SAT score to get accepted.

How much can you improve your SAT score in 2 months? ›

But in brief, when preparing alone, you should plan on an average improvement of 50 points per month. So, for example, if you need to gain 200 points, you should plan to prep for 4 months. This guide will show you how to determine exactly how much time you personally should plan to spend studying for the SAT test.

Is 950 a good SAT score? ›

The scoring scale runs from 400 to 1600, with the average test taker receiving a composite result between 1050 and 1100. A 950 falls in the 31st percentile, short of what most colleges and universities would like to see on applications for admission.

Can you Superscore SAT after 3 times? ›

Taking the SAT three times also means that students can superscore their best sections. Superscoring means that the highest score from each section, regardless of which attempt they belong to, are combined into one superscore.

How much do SAT scores improve the third time? ›

The College Board reports that 55 percent of high school juniors improved their scores when taking the test again as seniors. The average score improvement for all students retaking the SAT was 40 points. About four percent of retakes resulted in critical reading or mathematics score increases of 100 points or more.

How many times does the average student take the SAT? ›

Most people end up taking the SAT two or three times. Some people take it a fourth time, but generally, twice or three times works.

Do colleges care how many times you take the ACT? ›

You can take the ACT up to 12 times, and many students end up taking the test between 2-3 times before applying to college. Most colleges are neutral about multiple scores. Many students, in fact, make score improvements by retaking the ACT.

Does Harvard accept Superscore? ›

You may choose to send your ACT superscores to Harvard. When you do so, we will also receive the full results from your best sitting, including highest composite from a single test date. We will review all of these scores if you choose to apply with consideration of tests in your application.

Is a score of 1300 on the SAT good? ›

Is a 1300 Sat Score (87th Percentile) Good? Yes. A 1300 on the SAT indicates good performance in all sections of the exam and places you around the 87th percentile of all test takers, meaning you scored higher than 87% of all test takers.

Is 1200 on SAT a good score? ›

Utilizing a scoring scale of 400 to 1600, the SAT's best possible result is a 1600. A score of 1200 demonstrates an above average performance and shows that you answered a majority of the questions on the standardized test correctly.

How many points can you realistically raise your SAT score? ›

A realistic goal for all students to aim for is to increase their score by at least 50 points on each section. This translates to an increase of 150 points on your composite score. Many students take the PSAT with little or no preparation, and their scores reflect this.

Has the SAT gotten easier over the years? ›

In many ways, the new SAT is much easier than the older version. However, this doesn't mean you shouldn't study and be prepared! While the format may be better for some students, the questions are still designed to test your ability and skills in each particular subject.

How much can you realistically raise your SAT score? ›

Keeping in mind that the official statistics by ETS, the test publishers, "show" that the average combined improvement is 60 to 70 points, a 150-point improvement is quite respectable, 200 to 300 points is excellent, and 400 points is phenomenal.

Is it better to take SAT once or twice? ›

Taking the SAT Twice Is Recommended

College Board recommends taking the SAT at least twice: once in spring of your junior year and again in fall of your senior year. Most students who retake the SAT improve their score.

Do colleges care more about GPA or ACT? ›

When it comes to the GPA and the ACT, students often wonder which one is more important. Although college admissions officers often say that they give much more weight to a student's GPA, even they will admit that your ACT score is of considerable importance.

Do colleges look at SAT or ACT more? ›

Both ACT and SAT scores are used for college admissions decisions and awarding merit-based scholarships. Most colleges do not prefer one test over the other. Neither the SAT or ACT is harder than the other.

Does taking ACT multiple times look bad? ›

Retaking the SAT or ACT does not look bad to colleges; it may actually demonstrate your perseverance and improve your score. Chances are, you'll do better on the retake than on your first try. Most students do.


1. How Many Times Should You Take The SAT?
(Megan Dorsey)
2. SAT Exam India | Syllabus + Study Material + Exam Date + Practice tests + Registration
(Aman Dhattarwal)
3. How many times can I take the SAT
4. Ask Admissions: How many times should I take the SAT or ACT?
(University of Illinois Admissions)
5. SAT Exam! All About SAT || Amrit Talks || Amrit Raj
(Amrit Talks)
6. Does it hurt to take the SAT / ACT multiple times?
(Megan Dorsey)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Greg O'Connell

Last Updated: 04/30/2023

Views: 5880

Rating: 4.1 / 5 (62 voted)

Reviews: 93% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Greg O'Connell

Birthday: 1992-01-10

Address: Suite 517 2436 Jefferey Pass, Shanitaside, UT 27519

Phone: +2614651609714

Job: Education Developer

Hobby: Cooking, Gambling, Pottery, Shooting, Baseball, Singing, Snowboarding

Introduction: My name is Greg O'Connell, I am a delightful, colorful, talented, kind, lively, modern, tender person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.