6 reasons why taking the SAT a second time is a charm

By Lwilliams
06/01/2015
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Unlike past relationships, college entrance exams are worth a second chance.  Didn't do so great on the SAT the first time? Don’t freak out; there’s still time for improvement. If you’re worried about lower-than-expected scores and want to impress admissions officers at your dream school, consider taking the SAT a second (or third) time. Because unlike your ex, the SAT is actually worth the time and money.

  1. You’re statistically more likely to improve your score.

    Did you know that more than half of the students who take the SAT a second time increase their scores? And, the lower that initial score, the more likely the score is to go up. This could be due to several factors (which we’ll list below), but it’s hard to deny that the odds are in your favor on this one.
  2. First-test jitters are now out of the way.

    That first test day may have been nerve-racking. “Will I finish on time?” “Wait, is that the right formula?” “I don’t think I've ever seen or heard that vocabulary word in my life!” “That’s it. I know I failed.” Get all that negative talk out of your head! Now that you know what to expect, you can relax and focus more on the test. You've been here before. You got this!
  3. You have the opportunity to review your strengths and weaknesses.

    Take a look at your first test scores. They should give you a good feel for what you did well on — and what needs some additional study time. This can help you use your time more wisely and focus on the subject areas that need the most work, while simply refreshing the areas that you're already doing well in. Smarter studying helps make smarter students.
  4. There’s a thing called “superscoring,” and colleges love it.

    Let’s say you take the SAT a second time and (gasp) your score drops in a subject. Don’t freak out. Many colleges "superscore" your results, which means you can pick and choose your best performances from each test so you can get the best possible overall score. When you do well, the school is able to report even higher accepted freshmen test results. It’s a win-win. But, keep in mind that not all colleges do this. Some will want you to report all of your test scores. Showing improvement on taking a test a second time, though, could help demonstrate your ability to succeed — even more reason to give it a second try!
  5. You could get more money.

    With test anxiety lowered, extra time to study, and the ability to combine your best scores, you’re setting yourself up for success. The opportunity to increase your score by taking the SAT a second time can open all sorts of new doors — and some of those doors have money behind them. There are several merit-based scholarships reserved for students with higher test scores, so even a slight bump in points may result in a healthier financial aid offer. Sure, taking the test a second time will cost a little extra money, but it can totally pay off in the end.
  6. Move up on the list.

    If you've been wait-listed for a school, improving your SAT score may help improve your chances of getting in. Be sure to send any new scores to all the colleges on your admissions list as soon as possible. Yes, even those where you have already been admitted (see reason number five). Although an improved test score won't guarantee acceptance, it certainly won't hurt your chances.

So, even if you bombed the test on the first try, we know you can rock it the next time! After all … second time's a charm, right? Have some test prep tips or questions? Give us a holler on Twitter or in the comment section below.

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