Last Updated: May 7, 2015
by Jessica Zdunek
The truth is, there’s no magic number of times someone should take the test. But keep in mind that people who test again generally do a little better the second time around. ACT data shows almost 60 percent of students improved their score after retaking it, and more than 55 percent of students who took the SAT as juniors improved their scores by signing up again senior year.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re debating whether or not to retake the SAT or ACT
Do You Suffer From Testing Anxiety?
Plenty of students struggle with nervousness when test day rolls around. If you think nerves got the better of you the first time, it may be worth taking the test once again. Because you’ll have taken it once before already, you may feel more comfortable and at ease the second time. This is especially true if you’re testing in the same room – the familiarity of the situation will help ease your anxiety.
Did Any Inconvenient Circumstances Disrupt Your First Test?
Life has a way of throwing difficult situations at you during the most inconvenient times. Unfortunately, it’s all too common to have something distracting pop up just as testing day arrives. Sickness. A death in the family. A serious fight with your best friend. These things can completely distract you from the task at hand and make it impossible to do your best.
Think back to test day to see if any other situations prevented you from performing as well as you could have. Maybe you felt sick and couldn’t eat breakfast in the morning, then were famished by the time you opened the test. Perhaps you couldn’t sleep because you were anxious and struggled to comprehend the questions because you were too tired. Things happen. If you think these circumstances impacted your score, it’s worth testing again – just make sure you don’t get yourself into the same situation twice.
Did You Feel Unprepared?
Test prep makes a huge difference in performance for many people. If you didn’t get a practice book or review major concepts thoroughly before test day, chances are you may have felt unprepared for some sections. Sign up for another testing date and make a plan to review any concepts you’re unfamiliar with or find particularly challenging. Get started early to make sure you have time to get help if there’s anything you’re really struggling to grasp.
Are You Looking for Scholarships?
The higher your score, the better your chances of getting some free money for college. If you know you’ll need scholarships and know you could have done better, you may want to retest and try to boost your results.
What Scores Do Your Dream Schools Require?
It’s simple: If your scores aren’t on par with what a school requires, your chances of getting in could be a lot lower. Compare your results to the college’s expectations – if they don’t match up and you’re set on this school, you may need to retest. And even if you don’t have a specific school in mind, remember that a higher score opens up more schools and more opportunities once you start sending out applications.
While your test scores are only one part of your application, you do want to do as well as possible on your ACT or SAT. Check out some of our top study tips to make sure you’re well prepared before you retest.
image credit: pbs.org
Original Post Date: May 19th, 2015