Junior Journeys: How Many Times Should You Take the SAT?

Taking the SAT exam can be a self-esteem crushing, nerve-wracking part of the college admissions process. It’s definitely not designed to be a walk in the park, and consists of three math, reading, and writing sections, approximately a four hour interval to complete these sections, and a score posted online that can seem like the end of the world.


So what should you do if you just took your SAT for the first time and your score isn’t the highest? Can you take it again, since you’re allowed to take the test an unlimited amount of times? Should you take it again? In this blog, we’ll be answering some popular questions regarding how many times you should take the SAT and how to improve your scores.

Should I take it again if it was my first time?

Studies and statistics have shown that students who take the SAT again after they’ve taken it once always improve. This is reasonable, since taking the SAT for the first time can be a little intimidating, and your nerves and unfamiliarity with the test could bring down your score. The second time taking the SAT, students have an idea of what to expect and are less scared, therefore allowing them to settle down and focus. They are also more familiar with the concepts, have had some time to practice, and are able to understand the flow of the test.

Can I take it again and again till I’m satisfied with my score?

The SAT Exam is administered 7 times throughout the school year, so you have that many chances to take it. But should you? Most experts recommend taking the SAT test only 2 or 3 times. Why? It’s because the college admissions experts reviewing your applications are looking for a serious and dedicated student. If they see that you’ve taken your SAT exam 5 or 6 times, they’ll think that you’re not taking it seriously enough every time. And although Score Choice allows some students to slack off since they know colleges won’t see their scores, there are also several that require students to send all of them. Dedicated test prep, SAT classes and studying is the answer to doing well on the exam, not taking it multiple times till it becomes easier. Taking the exam multiple times without proper studying might not even produce a test score, not to mention it costs a huge amount of time, money, and energy!

How do I really improve my test scores?

You can check out Empowerly’s other blog posts regarding the SAT test to learn some in-depth strategies and tests. There are also a few right here to get you jump started and motivated to get the best score possible!

  • Answer the easier questions first. This might seem like a rule-of-thumb and basic guidelines for test-taking in general, but it is especially important when you’re taking the SAT. Tackle the hard questions last, because you could run out of time before you know it!
  • Just guess. There’s no penalty for wrong answers on the SAT, so what’s the harm? Eliminate the answers that you can and go with your gut!
  • Practice. Don’t slack off. Students all across the nation take the SAT, and the hard work and effort they put into studying it shows in their test scores. Want an outstanding score on the SAT? Then work for it! Dedicate at least an hour of your time every day to SAT prep. If you have no self-control, register for an SAT prep class. It’ll keep you motivated and teach you some strategies. It might get boring, but think of how good you’ll feel when you see your perfect score!
  • Read the directions fully. Students often mess up on exams because they tend to skip the directions and jump straight into the questions. Read the directions carefully and thoroughly to make sure this isn’t you and there are no mishaps.
  • Make sure there are no surprises. Nerves can the answer between a bad score and a good score. To make sure you don’t psych yourself out on the actual day of the exam, do what you can to make sure that you won’t freak out. Familiarize yourself with every part of the test and practice in a classroom-like setting!

For more help navigating this college admissions process, visit Empowerly!

Questions? Let us know!