Maybe you didn’t get enough sleep. Maybe you lost track of time and spent too many seconds on each question. Maybe you were feeling ill that morning and never could snap out of the funk. Or perhaps you just blew it the first time.
While not always the easiest pill to swallow, taking the SAT twice is common and not unusual to many universities. It happens to many more students than you’d realize. Even for the most confident test-takers, the curiosity of wondering whether your score could be higher proves tempting.
Why take the test again? Here are a few reasons you may want to consider taking the test a second time:
1. Your highest score in each section will be used, not necessarily your most recent. If you scored higher on math the second time, but lower on reading, then your higher score from each test will be used.
2. Many colleges use SAT scores as a factor when handing out scholarship money, so if you score higher, you could potentially receive more. If you’re not sure, contact the school(s) you’re applying to and ask about their policy.
3. You may surprise yourself! Taking the SAT a second time could be just the motivation you need to apply to other schools or scholarships that you felt were out of reach with your current scores.
Note: Taking the test more than 2-3 times could have the reverse affect. Only take it again if you have the extra time to study and feel confident with increasing your scores.
How do I score better the second time?
Now that you’ve decided to retake the SAT, you’re wondering how you can go about improving those scores, right? The first thing to remember is that you can never guarantee you will do better, but you should have a solid plan the second time around. Here are some ways that could help you improve your scores.
1. Outline the sections you need to improve. If your score in one section is very strong, then don’t focus all of your studying on that section, especially since your higher score will be used. Take this opportunity to improve your weakest number.
2. Figure out what studying methods did and did not work for you before. If you barely remembered any of the vocabulary from using flash cards the first time, then use a new method.
3. Don’t be too experimental with your study habits. At this point, you probably know which methods help you learn information the best. Use what you’re comfortable with doing.
4. Consider signing up for a professional prep course. If you’re already investing in taking the SAT a second time, then it might not be too much of a stretch to think about paying for a serious study service.
5. Do nothing. I know, sounds crazy, right? While this is not the advice for all test-takers, it could be exactly what some students need. Perhaps you over-studied the first time or stressed yourself out to the point that you shut down during the test. If you’re confident in the material but nervous about the test itself, then maybe you need to learn how to relax during a testing environment.
6. Lean on your experience. You took the test once, so don’t allow the intimidation factor stand in your way this time. Try to remember everything from that first experience. What tripped you up? What were you saying you wish you had done that day? Make a list and a simple solution to each. Having a plan will help you stay focused and prepared.
Remember, the SAT is more about the accumulation of your knowledge and less about learning new subjects. Remaining confident in what you have learned throughout school is going to be just as vital as actually answering the questions correctly.
Stay calm, focused, and confident.