Did you recently get your SAT® scores back and are wondering whether it’s worth retaking the exam or not? In this blog, we talk about scenarios where you might want to retake the SAT® and some scenarios where you might not.

Factor 1 – Have you studied

If you haven’t really studied for the SAT® and you didn’t get a score you liked then you should absolutely retake it, although it’s not really worth retaking unless you will actually be studying. You can’t depend on luck to improve your score so be sure to put in the work. Whether you have no budget (you can find free tips and strategies on our Youtube channel) or have some budget to be able to take a course (like our very own The Best SAT® Prep Course Ever) you need to flat out study.

Factor 2 – How much time do you have

If you’re a senior and need to apply on an early decision deadline, you need to take it no later than October. If you’re applying on a regular decision window, take the test no later than December. Be aware that some schools, honors programs, and scholarships may require an earlier test date. For those of you who aren’t seniors, go for it and sign up for a test date.

Factor 3 – Identify scores you need to get in

Make a college list and think realistically about what colleges you think you have a shot at based on your GPA, test scores, and other elements. If your GPA is on par with your test score, you might not need to retake the exam.

Factor 4 – What score do you want to be competitive

If you know there is a cutoff for a scholarship or program you want to enter, then that would indicate a clear goal you want as your score. If you score in the 50th percentile, then you are usually good to go and can stop worrying about retaking the test.

Factor 5 – Will SAT® prep take away from other factors?

In other words, will prepping for the SAT® stop you from engaging in activities or improving your GPA? A common mistake that students do is that they focus too much on test scores and thus fail to develop interesting activities or a “wow factor” for their portfolio. Students need to balance where they’re spending their time and remember that test scores is only one piece of their entire college application.

Factor 6 – How did you do on the real test vs. practice tests

If you find a huge discrepancy in scores between you’re practice tests and on the real deal SAT®, you should definitely give it another go.

We recommend that students take the SAT® no more than three times and to take it at least twice. In doing so, you may sometimes do better in a section depending on the day. If you give it two tries you’re more likely to get a score closer to what you’re capable of.

If you’re dreading retaking the SAT® and really are lacking motivation to prepare yourself again, switching to the ACT® may be a good idea. It can help give you that extra boost of motivation by taking on a new challenge – serving as a fresh breathe of air. You can start that journey by taking The Best ACT® Prep Course Ever.