Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University
How many times can you take the SAT? Does retaking the SAT affect your score? How many times is too many when taking the SAT? If you have asked yourself any of these questions, keep reading!
Taking the SAT is a daunting but necessary part of the college admissions process. Many students are curious if rewriting the test can affect their college applications.
Perhaps you have already written your SAT and want to improve your score. Or maybe you are curious whether re-writing the exam is a good idea and how many times you can take the SAT.
Fear not; all these questions and more will be answered in this article!
How Many Times Can You Take The SAT Test?
Luckily, you can take the SAT as many times as you want. Many students take the SAT more than once; most even plan to write it at least twice before their first attempt. Typically, students choose to take the test in the spring of their junior year and again in the fall of senior year.
The test is administered seven times a year, but it is important to always check the dates and deadlines for the year you are writing the SAT, so you can plan accordingly.
Reasons To Retake the SAT
There are various reasons you may want to retake the SAT. Maybe you aren’t satisfied with your original score, or you didn’t get the score you need for your top choice colleges.
For admittance to top schools like Princeton, Harvard and Yale, students should aim for between 1450 and 1580. A good SAT score varies from school to school, but the average score for all writers is a 1200.
There are many good colleges that will accept students with scores in the 1200s. There are also a growing number of schools who no longer require applicants to take the SAT, so always check each school’s requirements.
You might also be hoping to apply for scholarships, and having a higher score improves your chances. There are many merit-based scholarships available that are solely dependent on a student’s SAT or ACT score, such as the National Merit Scholarship Competition. At Tuskegee University, a SAT score of 1300-1420+ makes students eligible for full tuition/room and board scholarships.
Maybe you got a good SAT score but feel like you can do better, or you need a higher score for your target schools. These are extremely valid reasons for wanting to retake the SAT.
Retaking the SAT at least once is generally a good idea. According to the College Board, the administrator of the SAT, 63% of students in the previous years improved their score when taking the test more than once.
Some schools also engage in a process called ‘SuperScoring.’ This is a policy where a school will combine the highest math section score and highest evidence based reading and writing section score, even if they are from separate tests. This means that you have a pretty good chance of improving your score if you sit it again.
There are many other reasons re-sitting the test at least once is a smart choice. You will be more familiar with the test and its structure, and you will also have a feel for the real SAT.
Practice tests take place in an environment where you are comfortable, like your home, and you can take as many breaks as you would like. The stress of test day may affect you in ways you cannot predict and adversely affect your score.
Re-sitting also allows you to develop a better strategy for approaching the SAT, as you never truly know how you will feel under pressure on test day until you do it. Time management is a key aspect of taking the test, and is not easily replicated in practice environments.
Retaking the SAT also gives you an opportunity to make any changes to your study strategy. If you found yourself unprepared for a particular section, you have the chance to shift your focus to areas where you struggled.
While SAT prep and practice is extremely important, there is nothing that can prepare you better for test day than having a test under your belt!
How Many Times Is Too Many When Taking the SAT?
While you can technically take the test as many times as you want, there are a few things to keep in mind when deciding how many times to take the SAT. If you have written the SAT more than three times and gotten approximately the same score, it might be time to consider if writing it again is the best option.
By this point, you have a feel for the test and know how to prepare, so really reflect on if you think there is a chance you can significantly improve your score. Setting a concrete goal score rather than a vague one can help you evaluate if your goal is attainable, or if you should shift your expectations.
Maybe you still don’t have your dream score, but your energy may be better spent on working on other areas of your college applications, such as essays. There are multiple ways to stand out to admissions officers, so don’t feel dejected if you haven't been able to achieve your ideal score.
Taking the SAT is an investment of both your time and money. Making sure that the investment is worth it is an important consideration. Deciding how many times to take the SAT is an important decision, and not one to make lightly.
Can Colleges See How Many Times You Take The SAT?
Colleges can only see the SAT scores you choose to send them. This means that they will have no idea if you have retaken the test and how many times you took the SAT. However, you can choose to provide this information if you feel like it might actually augment your application.
A good example of why you might choose to do this is if you significantly improved your score; this is potentially a great way to show admissions officers that you were able to persevere and put the effort in to improve.
Always research the schools you are applying to and their policies and deadlines on SAT scores. This is an important aspect of building your college list and choosing your target schools.
FAQs: Retaking the SAT
Still curious about retaking the SAT? Here are some common questions answered!
1. Is Four SAT Attempts Too Much?
While you can take the SAT as many times as you want, if you are taking it four times it is important to reflect if this will actually be helpful. If you have taken it three or four times and have not improved your score, this might be a sign that you should stop taking it or approach it differently.
2. Does It Hurt You To Take 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.
3. How Many Times Can You Take the SAT For Free?
It costs $60 to take the SAT. Students from low-income families may be eligible to have the fee waived.
Improving Your SAT Score With Quad
You can write the SAT as many times as you want, and your scores last forever. This is both a great way to improve your score, but can also be a stressful way to trap yourself in an endless cycle of test writing.
Planning when you want to write the SAT and how many times you want to write it in advance is a great way to avoid this stress. Tackling the test with the right tools is a recipe for success, and whatever your reasons for re-sitting the SAT, proper planning and preparation is paramount.
Quad Education can help you prepare for the SAT and improve your score, whether it is your first time writing or you want to improve your score. Quad’s one-on-one sessions with our 99th percentile tutors are tailored to you and the areas you need to improve.
Quad Education clients experienced a 100 point increase of their SAT score with 45+ hours of tutoring. Tutors will help you set realistic goals and build feasible and measurable plans on how to get there.
Using experienced tutors who are there to focus on you and your goals and needs is a fantastic way to prepare for the SAT test.
How Many Times Can You Take the SAT? (2022)? ›
How many times can a student take the SAT, and when should they take it? Students can take the SAT as many times as they want.Is taking the SAT 4 times too many? ›
The short answer is that students can take the SAT as many times as they want. Students can do the SAT once, twice, thrice or more. That's right, there's no limit students can sit on the SAT. Knowing what to take to the SAT will help for each test taken.Do colleges care about how many times you take the SAT? ›
Can colleges see if a student takes the SAT more than once? The short answer is no—nothing automatically shows colleges how often a student took the SAT. Most colleges let students who take the SAT multiple times select which of their test scores, by date, they send to colleges.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.Is it better to take the 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.
1 answer. Taking the SAT 3 or more times is acceptable if the admissions offices see some noticeable improvement or progression, so if you scored 1350, 1450, and 1520 with 3 SATs then undoubtedly, your upward score reflects your tenacity and hard work.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.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.Does the SAT get harder each time you take it? ›
A: Yes, the SAT is getting harder.
Why? Because the SAT is a scaled exam, and the College Board needs to maintain the integrity of the "normal distribution," a.k.a. bell curve. In other words, 99th percentile scores can only be earned by 1% of students, or else they would no longer be 99th percentile scores.
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 .
Can you get a 1600 on the SAT if you get a question wrong? ›
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.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.
If you are planning on taking the test twice to improve your score and take advantage of the super scoring system, you will have to double your registration costs. Thus, you will have to pay an extra $52 to take the test a second time without the essay section or $68 with the essay section.Can you take SAT in senior year? ›
Although you may take the SAT any time starting freshman year, most students take it for the first time in the spring of their junior year and possibly retake it in the fall of their senior year. Learn exactly how to register for the SAT.Should I retake a 1500 SAT? ›
Should I Retake the SAT With a 1500 Score? There are very few reasons to retake the SAT except to become an even more competitive candidate at elite institutions. For instance, the SAT score of the most commonly accepted student hovers around 1540, which you're shy of.Is it too late to take SAT in senior year? ›
I am 22 years old, is it too late to take SAT? There is no age limit. I took the test 2 years ago and have lots of grandkids. My sat scores will be out in the month of June.How many SAT questions can you miss for a 1400? ›
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.What SAT score do colleges look for? ›
How SATs Are Scored- the Background. The SAT has two sections, Math and Evidence-based Reading and Writing, with each scored on a scale from 200 to 800. To get into one of the top 100 most selective schools, you will generally need to have a composite SAT score of at least 1200, preferably 1400 or more.Do colleges only look at your highest SAT score? ›
Colleges Consider Multiple Scores in Different Ways
But each college sets its own policy for how it uses multiple scores: Some colleges require all your scores. Some colleges look at your highest combined scores from one test date. Some colleges accept your highest section scores from any day you tested.
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.
Is it too much to take the SAT 5 times? ›
Getting real test experience is helpful in teaching you to regulate your nerves, calm yourself down, and focus, but you also don't need to put yourself through this too many times. Taking the SAT more than six times could potentially become a waste of time, money, and energy.Does Harvard require all SAT scores? ›
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.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.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.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.Which SAT is usually the hardest? ›
In online forums, students also tend to identify Test #3 as the hardest of the official practice tests, so there truly seems to be a clear consensus. It's important to remember though that a hard practice test can actually be a great resource!Which SAT is the easiest month? ›
Myth: The March SAT is the easiest SAT test date. Fact: There's no such thing as “the easiest SAT test date.” While it's true that some versions of the SAT are easier than others, it's false that some test dates are predictably easier than others.What month is the best SAT curve? ›
Most high school student are advised to take the SAT in spring of their junior year and the March SAT test date is a big favorite of many college counselors.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.How often 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 common is a 1600 SAT? ›
A 1600 is only achieved by around 300 test takers per year and makes you eligible and highly competitive for admission at every college. Looking at this from another angle, a 1600 SAT score is in the 99nth percentile, which means you scored higher than 99% of all other 2 million+ test takers.What is the average SAT score without studying? ›
Although it's possible that you will earn a higher score without studying, even if you are a strong student, you will likely score slightly below the average SAT score of 1051. The SAT was designed to create a bell curve where the average score falls around 1000-1050 each year.How many questions can you miss on the SAT 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.How many Math questions can you miss and still get a 700? ›
For Math, 9 wrong answers will make you score 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.Can it hurt to retake the SAT? ›
Unless you are interested in one of a select group of colleges, the majority of colleges evaluate your highest SAT/ACT score for admissions purposes, meaning retaking the test once or twice can generally only help, not hurt, you.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 1500 good enough for Harvard? ›
There's no absolute SAT requirement at Harvard, but they really want to see at least a 1460 to have a chance at being considered.What percentage of people retake SAT? ›
Only half of SAT takers retake the exam, with the rates even lower among low-income and underrepresented minority students.Is a 940 SAT score bad? ›
Unfortunately, 940 is not a good SAT score. In reality, it's a weak score that will keep you from achieving your college admissions goals. Although you're still outperforming the majority of test takers, it's still not enough to get you into the top schools in the country.What is the oldest age to take SAT? ›
Age Limit for the SAT Exam
The SAT should be taken while you are between the ages of 17 and 19. Students under the age of 13 can only register by phone or by mail. Due to internet privacy restrictions, students under the age of 13 cannot register online. Students who register by phone are eligible for a cost waiver.
What is the max age to take SAT? ›
Candidates who want to take the SAT exam have no upper or lower age restrictions. The highest SAT exam participation rate was among applicants between 17 and 19.Can you take SAT at 30 years old? ›
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.What is SAT score for Harvard? › 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.Do colleges care how many times you take the SAT? ›
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.Do colleges look at old SAT scores? ›
Once you've left high school and haven't tested for a year, College Board archives your SAT test scores and responses to the SAT Questionnaire. However, you can request that older scores be sent to you or to the colleges, universities, and scholarship programs of your choice.Why do seniors take the SAT? ›
Many colleges across the U.S. require ACT or SAT scores for admission. Schools use these two standardized entrance exams to determine your readiness for college.Is it bad to take the ACT 4 times? ›
Is it bad to take the ACT four times? While taking the ACT multiple times can improve your score, attempting it more than 2-3 times probably won't raise it significantly. In fact, college admissions officers might even look unfavorably upon students with many test attempts.Does Superscoring look bad? ›
Superscores look worse when your section scores are significantly different on one of your exams. Say you got a 770 in Reading/Writing and a 600 in Math on your first test. You might want to focus on boosting Math and ignore Reading/Writing.Should I retake a 1370 SAT? ›
A 1370 SAT score will preclude you from getting into more selective schools such as Harvard, Yale, MIT, Brown, and others of the same caliber. However, it'll put you in the running for Georgia Tech, Boston University, Claremont McKenna, University of Virginia, and Reed.
How much does it cost to retake the SAT? ›
If you are planning on taking the test twice to improve your score and take advantage of the super scoring system, you will have to double your registration costs. Thus, you will have to pay an extra $52 to take the test a second time without the essay section or $68 with the essay section.Does retaking the SAT 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.Do colleges look at how many times you take the ACT? ›
5. Can Colleges See How Many Times You Have Taken the ACT? As is the case with the SAT, colleges only see the ACT score you choose to send them. However, you can not pick and choose between sections on different tests.Do colleges prefer Superscore or composite? ›
Most colleges just want to know the highest Composite score from a single testing date. Some colleges, though, will calculate a student's superscore instead. A superscore is when the highest individual section scores from across all test sittings are used for the calculation of the superscored Composite.Do colleges prefer Superscore? ›
Instead of looking at your latest test scores, some colleges prefer to take a look at your superscore of the ACT and SAT. They then use this superscore to help inform their decision regarding admissions.Do colleges care if you Superscore SAT? ›
Some U.S. universities and colleges superscore the SAT. In a nutshell, this means that these schools only officially consider a student's highest SAT section scores. Given that most SAT test-takers sit for the exam at least twice, this can be a valuable tool for college applicants.Is 1150 a good 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.What's a good first time SAT score? ›
In terms of what makes for a good score based on the percentile chart above, anything above 1050 would be considered above average, with a score of 1200 being a good SAT score. A score above 1050 should be considered a great starting point for students taking the exam for the first time.