Let me start off with wishing you good luck; because if you’re reading this article, you’re probably about to prepare for your SATs.
I know this is a very daunting time for you. From lectures from teachers and parents to watching teenagers on TV obsess over their SAT scores, we have been taught to treat SAT as a very important and very scary part of our lives. We want to be as prepared for it as possible to get the best score possible – part of that preparation requires understanding the process inside and out. You’re probably reading this because you’ve considered the worst possible situation, i.e. what happens if you don’t get your desired score. If that situation does arise, you want to know if it is possible to take your SAT again, and if so, how many times. Well let me help you out!
The simple answer to that question is: Yes, you can appear for the SAT again and you can appear for it for an unlimited number of times.
You can take SAT once, five times or even 100 times if you wish to; there is no limit set by Collegeboard on how many times you can take the SAT in a year or in your lifetime. You can also choose your best score and send that to the colleges you are applying to. However, there are a few things you should consider before deciding to take the SAT multiple times:
1. Collegeboard only saves 6 entries
Collegeboard is the online platform where you register for SAT, receive and save your scores, and send them to colleges. While the site allows you to take SAT several times, it only saves your last six scores. So be careful when applying for SAT again – you may be losing out on a higher score for a lower one.
2. You will have to pay for each test
Hopefully, you aren’t under the assumption that you only have to pay once and take SAT multiple times. If you are, I am afraid you’re going to be disappointed. The $47.50 – $64.50 you are paying only pays for ONE test. So if you’re planning on giving the test multiple times, I hope you’re prepared to shell out quite a bit of money. Giving the test five times can cost you nearly $250 – more if you also pay for the essay portion! So be smart about how many times you want to take the SAT, otherwise a lot of time and money will be wasted.
3. Taking the SAT multiple times is a red flag to colleges
You do have the option to send only your best scores to colleges and many colleges even allow superscoring. In case you don’t know, superscoring is when you send your best scores in each section across all your SAT exams. For example, suppose you got a 600 in the EBRW section and a 500 in the math section in Test 1; in Test 2, you got a 500 in the EBRW section and a 700 in the math section. Some colleges will allow you to send the 600 in the EBRW section and the 700 in the math section as your final SAT score. Even if colleges don’t allow superscoring, students still have Score Choice which allows them to send their best score.
Some colleges have found a way to work around Score Choice – they demand the scores of all the SAT exams the student has taken. If the college sees that the student has taken the SAT several times, this may raise red flags. Giving the SAT several times shows colleges that not only are you not taking the test seriously, but also that you require several attempts to get a good SAT score – an option you won’t have when giving college assessments.
4. Giving the SAT several times may be the smart way to go
While the last three headings advised against giving the SAT several times, here I am going to explain why giving the SAT a few times may be beneficial. There is no doubt that giving the SAT requires a lot of long nights and practice tests. Some students have managed to game the situation in their favour. They appear for the SAT a few times – half the time they focus on the EBRW section and half the time they focus on the math section. By doing so, they can focus on one section and do well on it and then superscore their SAT score to ensure the best one is sent. There are a few considerations to take into account before doing this. Firstly, you need to make sure the college you are applying to allows superscoring – not all colleges do. Secondly, you need to make sure the section you have not prepared for isn’t too low. If you are giving tests where you are doing exceedingly well on one section and poorly in another, this raises red flags for the college and Collegeboard.
So now that we’ve covered the concept of giving SAT multiple times and the pros and cons of it, it’s time to answer one final question – how many times should you take SAT? Experts vary in their answers. Some say that three is more than enough, some say four, and others put the limit on six. Either way, no expert recommends giving the test dozens of times as they all accept that as a waste of time and money. While preparing for the SAT, prepare yourself for the possibility that you may need to appear for the test again. At the same time, also make sure that you understand that you shouldn’t take the test more than 6 times, if even that much.
Can colleges see how many times you take the sat?
No, they can’t. Colleges only see the SAT score that you send them. So if that’s something you are worried about, worry no more.
I hope this article has given you some insights on understanding the SAT system and it helps you with your test or tests. Good luck!