Should I Retake the SAT® Exam?

Benefits of retaking SAT exam

If you are deciding whether or not to retake the SAT exam, there are many factors to consider. Managing this decision process may be simplified by asking yourself some questions. 

  • What is a reasonable goal score for the schools to which you are applying? 
  • What factors may have affected the results of your previous exam? 
  • Can you be sure that retaking the SAT will be worth your time?

Consider the Impact of a Higher Score 

After receiving your results from an initial attempt at the SAT exam, first look into the correlations between SAT scores and acceptances from the universities you are applying to. 

Finding out where you stand statistically as an applicant can help you understand how much improvement is necessary. If you already fall within the university’s scoring threshold for admissions after your first attempt, then retaking the SAT may not be worth it. 

Still, a better score can always improve your chances for acceptance, and statistically, you are likely to improve your scores by retaking the exam.  

It is also important to note that a higher SAT score can put you in the running for various scholarship opportunities. While you may already feel confident that your scores will satisfy admission requirements, consider whether a higher SAT score could help pay for your education. 

What was Your Testing Experience Like?

In deciding whether to retake the exam, it can also help to consider the conditions of your initial testing experience. The smallest distractions in the testing space or your anxiety around taking the SAT exam can affect your scoring potential. 

Knowing what to expect, most students feel more comfortable and confident during their second attempts. You will have a better understanding of where to spend your time throughout the exam, how to attempt questions, and which sections you need to allow more time for study in advance

Benefits of Retaking the SAT

There are multiple benefits of retaking the SAT. 

The most important one to consider is that your score is likely to improve after your first attempt. After taking the exam once, you will: 

  • Know what to expect from each section, and be confident when you encounter the various question types while taking the exam a second or third time.
  • Learn from your mistakes, create a study plan, and make changes for your next attempt at the SAT. 

Retaking the SAT can result in a few extra points that can make a huge difference as you apply to universities or scholarship programs. 

Learn from your Mistakes

You can find out valuable information from your initial scores. Evaluating the results from your first attempt and using them to determine areas to study is a strategy to reach a higher score through section-specific studying and SAT preparation. The score report you receive after taking the exam will contain a breakdown of correct, incorrect, and skipped answers. You can use this data to make a study plan.

If you receive your results and you are happy with your scores for the Reading section, but you feel like you could improve your scores from the Math section, then you can begin to develop a plan to streamline your preparation for the next time you take the SAT. The next time you take the exam, you will have strategically prepared for your weaker areas.

Financial Details and Opportunities

If you are considering retaking the SAT, but you are worried about the costs, you should know that the SAT has an application for you to get the testing fees waived. Consider applying for a fee waiver on your retake if financial circumstances are holding you back from a chance to improve your score. 

You should also know that a higher SAT score will put you in the running for scholarship opportunities. Even if you are confident about admissions, you should consider how a higher SAT score could help you financially. 

How Many Times Should I Take the SAT® Exam?

While you can take the SAT exam as many times as you want, the College Board recommends that you take the exam at least twice. You are likely to increase your score by retaking the test, so if you aren’t satisfied with your scores after your first time taking the SAT exam, consider giving it another shot.


Some schools allow you to combine the results of your attempts for a superscore. This means that you can pick your best scores from either attempt to create a superscore. A school will use the highest score from each section across all of your attempts to construct the superscore. Taking the exam multiple times can hugely benefit your ability to build up your score section by section.

Check schools that accept superscore and consider that taking the exam multiple times can be a great strategy to implement if you are able to send your highest scores from multiple test dates.

Multiple Attempts

Some schools will require that you send all of your scores from each attempt. In this case, taking the exam too many times can affect the impression you make for admissions.

You should consider that if you take the exam too many times, it can appear as though you are not thoroughly preparing yourself for each attempt, especially if your scores are not improving with each try.

Instead of taking the exam repeatedly and hoping to improve by chance, study hard using data from your scoring reports (from the College Board or practice tests) and gain confidence through lots of practice. 

Practice before retaking the SAT exam

You will want to give yourself enough time to prepare for your next attempt. Do not rush to retake the exam. Be confident and take practice tests to analyze your growth through each section and subsection. You can create study plans around the areas you can improve the most, and take the exam again when you are satisfied with your performance in the practice tests.

If you decide that retaking the SAT is the best decision for you, you will need to determine what kind of prep you can complete, making the second attempt worth your time. You should take practice tests to analyze your weak areas and focus on them. There is a wide range of study materials to prepare you to retake the exam. Check out UWorld’s SAT Prep courses to gain experience and improve your scores through practice questions and guided explanations. UWorld lets you take practice tests for different sections separately.

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