How Many Times Can You Take the SAT? - Test Geek Blog (2023)

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.

Your odds of a score improvement will certainly be even better if you spend some time studying in between test dates.

Important things to how about how many times you can take the SAT:

  • You can take the SAT as many times as you want.
  • SAT scores are valid forever, but College Board does recommend retesting if it has been more than 5 years.
  • You choose if you want to send SAT scores to colleges or not. A college will only see scores that you choose to send.

Should I Retake the SAT?

While it might be tempting to take the SAT a bunch of times – hoping for a better score each time -that’s really not an effective way to get your best score. This SAT thing isn’t about luck (and that’s probably a good thing, right?). Your odds of getting your dream score don’t go up with more retests; they will go up with more intentional studying and preparation.

How Many Times Can You Take the SAT? - Test Geek Blog (1)

So, should you retake the SAT? And if so, how many times?

This is going to depend on your situation. Let’s think through a few things that might impact your decision to retake the SAT.

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  1. How long has it been since you took the SAT? Ideally you should have at least 2 months to study in between test dates. Don’t try to retest right after you just took the SAT! Two months is a reasonable length of time to put together a study plan, connect with a tutor if you need it, and get sufficient studying and practicing in for every section of the test. Leave cramming before tests to your college classes – the SAT is not the time!
  2. Is cost a concern for you? National SAT test dates (the ones you take outside of your high school) will cost you $55 each. If you will have trouble making this payment, know that there is financial assistance available. Before registering for every single test date during your junior and senior years, consider that it likely will add up, and it probably (definitely) isn’t worth it.
  3. How much time do you have before college deadlines? Typical regular decision application deadlines will start in January of your senior year. Early decision deadlines begin around October or November. SAT scores take about 4 weeks to get to your college after test day. If you’re tight on time, consider the opportunity cost of spending time studying for the SAT vs preparing a stellar admissions essay.
  4. How much time are you willing to devote to studying? Are you slammed with 12 different extracurriculars, a part time job, and taking care of your little sister on the weekends? Or maybe you have soccer practice every single day or a particularly rough work load with AP classes? Be realistic about your class workload and everything else you have going on. If you aren’t going to be able to study in between test dates, there’s no sense in retesting.
  5. Have you considered the ACT? While most students do equally well on the SAT and ACT, there’s a small percentage of students who will have a meaningful score difference between the two tests. You can take our free 90 minute diagnostic to get an idea of where you fall. Before going all-in on one of the tests, make sure you’re taking the right one for you.

It can be tempting to register for another SAT test date through tear-stained eyes after you get your disappointing scores back, but RESIST! Take a few days to let things settle. When you’re ready to come back, consider your personal situation. Ask yourself the questions above and put together a plan that works for you.

If you still aren’t sure if you should retake the SAT, give us a call at 866-210-4335. We’re always happy to give you our recommendation!

How Many Times You Should Take the SAT

Generally, we recommend students take the SAT two or three times before submitting college applications. For most students, this means taking the SAT for the first time in the fall or early spring of their junior year and planning to retest in the spring or early summer of their junior year.

Or advice: Aim to have the score you want by the end of your junior year.

This will set you up to be able to meet even the earliest college admissions deadlines. It will also help you leave your summer and early fall free to work on other pieces of your applications like essays or interviews. Sounds thrilling, doesn’t it? Maybe not, but you’ll probably thank yourself later if you aren’t studying for the SAT in September of senior year when everyone else is planning for their last homecoming.

If you’re planning ahead, you might be wondering when you should take (or retake) the SAT. One of the biggest factors of exactly when and how many times you should take the SAT is when you take Algebra II.

Kickstart Your SAT Prep with Test Geek’s Free SAT Study Guide.

Scenario 1: You will (or have) completed Algebra II by the end of sophomore year.

Congrats! You’ll have completed all of the math needed for the SAT by the end of your sophomore year. If this is you, you should consider prepping during the summer after your sophomore year and taking your first SAT in August or September of your junior year.

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A little head start never hurt anyone. This will leave the rest of your junior year for a retest or two if you need it.

Breathe a little easier knowing you’re actually ahead of the college application game. It’s the small victories, right?

Scenario 2: You won’t (or haven’t) completed Algebra II by the end of sophomore year.

If this is you, aim for a February or March test date during your junior year. By this point, you will have seen 80-90% of the math material on the SAT. A tutor or some self-study can help fill in the gaps. It’s actually better to go ahead and take the SAT during this time than wait until you’ve finished your Algebra II class.

Testing in February or March will leave time for a retest or two in May or June. This will ensure you have your final test scores before any application deadlines. If you do really want to delay until the end of junior year, you’ll want to make sure you’re dedicating significant prep time during the spring semester so you (hopefully) get your best score on your first go.

What to Do Before You Retest

If you’ve decided to retake the SAT, it’s time to put together a study plan. Maybe you did study the first time around or maybe you went into it blind. Either way, it’s time to reevaluate and start prepping for what will hopefully be the last time you ever take this test.

#1 Evaluate Your Score Report

Taking a thorough look at your SAT score report is an important first step when preparing for a retest. Unless you have literal years to prepare for your next test, you’re probably going to want to do some prioritizing to ensure you are studying the right question types and the right underlying content. Intentional focus on the lowest hanging fruit will help you see the most significant score improvement.

Sometimes a student will have a pretty good feel for the areas they need to focus on. Other times, a student may be totally clueless. There’s certainly some investigation you can do yourself, but if you’re unsure, you might want to consult an expert SAT tutor who can help you strategize.

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Pull out your score report, and let’s walk through it together.

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Questions to consider:

  • What was your total score compared to the score you want?
  • How do your section scores compare to each other? Are you significantly stronger on one vs the other?
  • Recall that your Evidence Based Reading and Writing score consists of the Reading and Writing and Language sections. Take a look at how those scores compare.
  • Does anything stand out among your subscores? This can really help point you towards the areas of the test you should focus on.

#2 Select the Right Test Date

Above in the “How Many Times Should You Take the SAT” we talked a bit about how to time the SAT. In general, you want to have 2 months or more in between test dates in order to adequately prepare.

Consider when your earliest college admissions deadline is. Back out at least one month to accommodate the time it takes colleges to receive test scores, then look at the available test dates.

It’s a balance.

You want to have enough study time, but you also don’t want to be cutting it too close to college deadlines. If you’re unsure, give us a call at 866-210-4335, and we can give you our recommendation.

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#3 Study, Practice, Study – Repeat!

This is crucial. Before retaking the SAT, you need to study the underlying content as well as work through official practice test questions.

Hopefully after evaluating your score report you have a solid idea of what areas of the test you should be focusing on. When you’re ready, it’s time to get to work!

Looking to study on a budget? You can find some of our favorite free SAT study resources here.

Looking for some personalized help? Our SAT tutors are here to help build a study plan for you.

Looking for SAT practice tests? Learn how to make the best use of official practice tests here.

Final Thoughts – How Many Times Can You Take the SAT?

Short answer: there is no limit to the number of times you can take the SAT. The real question is how many times should you take the SAT? Or perhaps even, how many times do you want to take the SAT?

I don’t think anyone is out here taking the SAT for fun. It’s built for a purpose: to evaluate your college readiness and provide a meaningful data point for college admissions.

(Video) Must Know Grammar for the SAT and ACT - Sentence Basics

Stay focused on that purpose. Before retaking the SAT, consider some or all of the questions we evaluated in this article.

Happy studying!


How Many Times Can You Take the SAT? - Test Geek Blog? ›

Short answer: there is no limit to the number of times you can take the SAT.

Is there a limit to how many times you can 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.

Is it too much to take the SAT 3 times? ›

How many times do you recommend taking the SAT? At minimum you should plan to take the test at least 2 times. If you take it 3 times you probably won't be impacted negatively unless there is no clear improvement in your scores.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Is there harm in 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.

Do they average SAT scores after 3 times? ›

Will colleges average your SAT scores if you take the test multiple times? In short, no. Colleges don't take the average of your scores. Instead, they will look at your “best” score, however; there are multiple ways a school can calculate that.

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 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 bad is a 850 SAT score? ›

A score of 850 isn't very competitive. It situates you in the bottom 15th percentile on the national scale, underperforming the majority of the 1.7 million SAT test takers. This score signifies your very poor performance in answering questions in the Math and Evidence-Based Reading & Writing sections of the exam.

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.

Do colleges see how many times you retake the SAT? ›

Can colleges see how many times you take the SAT? No, there is nothing that will show a college exactly how many times you took the SAT. However, some colleges may require you to send all your test scores from each test date. Each school has its own policy on what SAT scores are required.

Can you get one wrong 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 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.

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 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.

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.

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.

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.

Is 930 a good SAT score? ›

Unfortunately, 930 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 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.

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.

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.

Do colleges care about multiple SAT scores? ›

Colleges Consider Multiple Scores in Different Ways

You decide who sees your scores because you're in charge of sending them. However, if you take the SAT more than once, you can often choose to send only your best scores.

Do colleges only look at your highest SAT score? ›

For the most part, colleges are only looking at your best composite SAT score or a composite score that represents a combination of your best scores on each section of the test. You can submit both old and new SAT scores for the time being, but colleges won't superscore between the two versions of the test.

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.

Do colleges look more at 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.

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.

Should I retake ACT with a 28? ›

There's no pressure to retake the ACT with a score of 28. The one primary reason a student would retake the ACT at this juncture would be if their ideal school wants a point or two higher. Otherwise, you're eligible for merit aid and are competitive at a wide variety of schools, so retaking it isn't necessary.

What is the lowest GPA Harvard has accepted? ›

You should also have a 4.18 GPA or higher. If your GPA is lower than this, you need to compensate with a higher SAT/ACT score. For a school as selective as Harvard, you'll also need to impress them with the rest of your application.

Is a 4.3 GPA good for Harvard? ›

To get to Harvard your GPA has to be at least a 4.0 and even then if you get in your lucky but they require at least a 4.18 GPA only .

What is the lowest SAT score 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. Exclusive: Want to learn how to improve your SAT score by 160 points? Download our free guide on the top 5 strategies you must be using to improve your score.

What can a 900 SAT score get you? ›

While you can't apply to the majority of colleges with a 900 SAT, you're able to be a competitive candidate at a handful, including Wesley College in Delaware, Northeastern Illinois University, and Southern Vermont College. Your Target schools should all have (roughly) an average accepted SAT score between 875 and 915.

What is a bad SAT score 2023? ›

What's a Good SAT Score 2023 Overall?
50th (Average)520-5301050 and above
25th (Poor)440-450890
10th (Poorer)390-400780
1st (Poorest)330 and below670 and below
3 more rows
Dec 30, 2022

Is 1360 a bad SAT score? ›

Is 1360 a good SAT score? The 1360 SAT percentile is on the 90th percentile which means you performed in the top 10% of test takers. Considering that millions of students take the SAT each year, that's a really good achievement.

Do colleges not like Superscore? ›

That's your SAT Superscore. Even though the admissions office will use 1850 with an essay score of 9 to evaluate the student, they will still see the lower scores. This can have a negative impact on an admissions decision, despite what colleges may claim. There are colleges, however, that do not use SAT Superscore.

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.

Is it better to Superscore or not? ›

Superscoring benefits colleges because it places them higher up in the rankings for average SAT scores of admitted students. It also benefits you because you get credit for your best scores from each section even if they happened at different times rather than being stuck with a composite score from one test.

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.

Does MIT require all SAT scores? ›

MIT has the Score Choice policy of "Highest Section." This is also known as "superscoring." This means that you can choose which SAT tests you want to send to the school. Of all the scores they receive, your application readers will consider your highest section scores across all SAT test dates you submit.

Should you take the SAT more than 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.

Should I take the SAT again if I got a 1300? ›

Should I Retake The SAT With a 1300 Score? The only reason to consider retaking the SAT after earning a 1300 score is if you have your sights set on a very selective or elite school, such as those in the Ivy League.

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.

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.

Does it look bad to take SAT twice? ›

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.

Should I retake the SAT if I got a 1420? ›

A 1420 SAT score will make you eligible for some of the top schools in the country. However, if you're dead-set on applying to some of the most selective schools in the country – those that submit less than 5% of applicants – you might want to consider retaking the SAT.

Can schools see how many times you took 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.

Can colleges see 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.

Can you retake the SAT at any age? ›

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.

Is there a downside to taking the SAT multiple 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. It can also become very stressful and time-consuming, not to mention extremely expensive because you have to keep paying to take the SAT and to send your scores to schools.

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.

Why do colleges Superscore SAT but not ACT? ›

Some colleges choose not to superscore in an attempt to keep application costs down for students applying to their school.

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.

Do colleges care if you take the SAT? ›

SAT scores help colleges compare students from different high schools. Your scores show your strengths and readiness for college work. But remember standardized test scores are just one part of your college application, along with grades, course rigor, and recommendations.

Is SAT easier now than 30 years ago? ›

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 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.

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.

How common is a 1500 on the SAT? ›

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

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.


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