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Self-Answer: Should I retake?

JuniorMintJuniorMint 1465 replies26 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
edited May 2013 in SAT Preparation
Should I retake? Self-answering tool


Step One: Consider your timeframe

1. If you are a rising senior, then you will be able to take the SAT- at least- one more time. Are you willing to prepare over the summer, or are you too busy?
2. If you are a rising junior, then you will likely take the test again in the spring. Did you take the SAT early to get it out of the way by scoring high, or did you merely take it for practice?
3. If you are a rising sophomore or younger, you should focus your efforts on the PSAT.

Step Two: Consider your colleges

1. Note that some schools offer early action, early decision, non-restrictive early action, and rolling admissions. You might want to have your desired scores achieved by the end of your junior year. This should allow you to use the October testing date in your senior year, if you plan to apply early. Here is a list of colleges that offer these early options: http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/college-search-selection/354075-list-colleges-early-action-early-decision-rolling-admissions.html
2. Note that some schools allow Score-Choice®, while others require students to submit their whole testing history. In order to avoid looking obsessive, it is a good rule of thumb to avoid taking the SAT I more than three times. This is especially true if you are taking four in a row during your junior and senior year. If you took the SAT before high school, purely for practice, this rule applies less.
3. Note that some schools require, or strongly recommend, that students submit SAT II scores. Many selective colleges require two. You cannot take the SAT I and the SAT II on the same test date. You can take up to three subject tests on the same day, however. Plan your schedule carefully so that you can achieve your highest scores on both the SAT and the SAT II.

Step Three: Consider your scores

1. Note that some schools do not consider the writing section in their decision making. Ask yourself some basic questions to determine your own reaction: do I feel good, bad, or neutral about my results? do I think I did better, worse, or exactly as I should, or could, have? Do not forget to factor in test stress, bad testing experiences, and other vagaries. Keep in mind that 1500 is the average score.
2. Determine if your score fits with the intended scoring percentiles of the schools you wish to apply to. Grossly oversimplified, if your scores are in the bottom 25%, the school is a reach, the middle 50%, the school is a match, the upper 25%, and the school is a safety. This is inaccurate for highly selective schools. Keep in mind that out-of-state students applying to out-of-state public schools may face higher percentiles that the average in-state admitted student.
3. Generally speaking, do not retake the test if you think you could improve only negligibly. Also consider these principles:

Superscoring helps if you need to improve in a particular section
The writing section is said to be the easiest to improve – critical reading the hardest
Lucky scores may be hard to duplicate
Scores above 2250 fluctuate by the grading curve

Please note that on the complete score report College Board releases after the initial score report, one may see the percentages of students, who also received your score, that improved -or decreased- their scores after retaking the SAT.


Of course, circumstance may render all this meaningless, so feel free to ask if you are still unsure.
edited May 2013
13 replies
Post edited by JuniorMint on
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