5 minute read
In an earlier blog, we answered an important question – should students take the SAT or the ACT (or both)? Now we want to help with a question that comes next – how many times should students take the SAT and/or ACT?
Many factors go into students’ decisions to take the SAT and/or ACT once, twice, or multiple times. No matter which choice a student ultimately makes, here are a few things for them to remember:
- No matter how many times a student takes these tests, they’ll always want to prepare beforehand – this even applies to the very first time a student takes one of these high-stakes tests. Students prepare for spelling tests, biology tests, driving tests, and the SAT and ACT are even more important! (Okay, driving is pretty important, too.) There are many options for how to prepare, like taking an affordable prep class with The Answer Class. On top of helping students get ready for the test, preparing can also make students feel empowered.
- It is totally okay (and typical) to take these tests more than once, and knowing that they can have a “re-do” may relieve some stress. Students shouldn’t feel that they have to perform perfectly, as they’ll definitely have the option to take the tests again.
Now that we’ve covered the basics, let’s move into a few common options to help students find the best choice for them.
Taking the SAT and/or ACT once may be right for a student who…
- Nailed the tests the first time with scores way higher than their practice tests.
- Has college applications that are due and has no more time to take the tests again. We definitely recommend taking the tests well before students’ need to share their scores with colleges, so that they can avoid this problem.
- Experiences strong test anxiety. For some students, the stress of taking a standardized test greatly affects their test-taking experience. While preparing for these high stakes tests is an excellent way to reduce stress, some students may choose instead to spend their limited time on boosting other parts of their college application.
- Wants to focus more on one test. Most students who take both the SAT and ACT prefer one test over the other, and they may choose to only take their least favorite test once and take their preferred test twice or more. For example, a student may prefer the ACT over the SAT, so they choose to take the ACT twice, but the SAT only once.
Taking the SAT and/or ACT twice may be right for a student who…
- Wants to improve their score. Most students who take the SAT or ACT a second time will see their scores improve after they’ve dedicated time for regular prep beforehand. If a student has already taken a prep class with The Answer Class, they are welcome to retake the class for free as a refresher as part of our No Questions Asked Guarantee.
- Wants to improve their chances of receiving merit scholarships.
- Has the time to prepare and wants a few score options. We encourage students to give the tests another try if the opportunity is available to them.
Taking the SAT and/or ACT three times may be right for a student who…
- Connects with the reasons above.
- Wants to bolster their college application with a higher standardized test score. (After all, there’s always room for improvement!)
- Knows that increased scores absolutely help their chances of getting increased scholarship money, so they are willing to trade 25 hours of prep to get the big bucks.
- Wants to make the most out of score choice. Both the SAT and the ACT allow students to mix and match scores from different test dates to create their best total score possible (a superscore). Each college has slightly different rules about score choice, so students should check on their chosen colleges’ websites.
And finally, please know that it’s also okay for students’ plans to change! (After all, “pivot” seems to be the word of the year!) Some students receive their test scores and schedule an additional test, while some decide that they may not need to take a test again. No matter how many times a student plans to take the test, they must prep beforehand instead of just taking a test to see how they do. (When students take a class with The Answer Class, they take a full-length test, which is great practice!)
An important note: Students who believe they qualify for a fee waiver for the SAT and/or ACT should contact their school guidance counselor for assistance. Similarly, The Answer Class never turns any student away for lack of funds. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.