How Many Times Can You Take the SAT?

Many students have misconstrued ideas about how many times they should take the SAT. Some think that you should only take it once, whereas others think they should take it as many times as possible. Before you make a decision, consider these factors when deciding how many times you should take the SAT.

Be Prepared Before You to Take the SAT

It often happens that students will sign up for the SAT without any preparation, just to see what their score will be. They’re thinking, “Well if I get a bad score, I’ll just take it again!”

Do not have that mentality! The best thing to do is to prepare for the SAT as much as possible before signing up for the real thing. An athlete would never play in a game without preparation beforehand, and you should not take the SAT “for fun” without previous preparation.

Make Sure You Improve Your SAT Score

This may seem like an obvious statement, but lets say you’ve taken the SAT once already, and you’re not satisfied with your score. Do not sign up again until you know that you are prepared enough to improve your score. Taking the SAT multiple times and doing worse will hurt your overall appearance towards admissions councils.

“But if I do bad, I can always take it again!” Get this mentality out of your head! This is like throwing darts at a dartboard and hoping to hit the bullseye, while being blindfolded. If you decide to take the SAT again, make sure you are even better prepared than the first time around. Colleges are looking for students who show improvement as opposed to students who are just “playing the lottery” with their SAT score.

What is the Magic Number for Taking the SAT?

Ideally, you do not want to take the SAT more than three times. Taking it four, five, or even six times will start raising red flags for the college admissions councils. Besides, taking it that many times will drive you crazy! Take it up to three times if necessary, and enjoy the rest of your Saturday afternoons.

Your overall score is determined differently with each college. Some universities take your best overall score from a single time that you took the SAT. Other colleges take the best scores from each of your different exams. It doesn’t hurt you to retake the test to see if you can score better, as long as you are confident that you will.

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  1. I have heard there was a new “law” so to speak that keeps the amount of times students have taken the SAT confidential. This will give students more of a hold on the scores they receive and the power to send the score they wish to be sent to colleges out without letting them know how many times a student has taken it. If, then, it is true, wouldn’t not matter how many times you take it?

    1. We’ve decided to write a whole article answering your question! It will be published first thing tomorrow, and its title is “Ask Test Masters: Score Choice.” Hope it clears things up for you.

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