Is it worth taking the SAT a second time?

I recently took mine, and scored high enough to be accepted to my school of choice(admittedly, three vicodins before the test may have skewed the results) but is there any evidence that taking it a second or even third time will yeild higher scores? I’d like to be able to have an even higher SAT score, yes, because I know how important it is in social circles :wink:

I went up 160 points from one test to the next with no preparation between them. (I had a high score to begin with also, well into the high 90s in percentile). Most of the improvement was in my verbal score–I think I just got lucky and happened to get a lot of words I knew or something. They say that your scores shouldn’t vary much–but they obviously can. I’m very glad I retook them though as the new score helped me get a full scholarship.

But, this was in 93, on the older SATs. I’m not sure if this kind of thing would be more or less likely on the newer version.

But those were the years 1981-86, so my experience won’t mean much today. As a matter of fact, 85-86 was the previous time they’d rejiggered the test, and my score actually went slightly (30 points or so) down that time, after going up solidly every year previous.

I echo what ASD said, but I only went up 50 points. [But I had a pretty high score already.] Take it again if you’re confident that you can do AT LEAST as well as you did the first time. If you were uncertain at first, then don’t do it. My $.02.

I took it twice, and went up 120 points.

I don’t see how it wouldn’t be worth taking it twice – as I understand it, the schools consider your highest score. SO you’re weighing the investment of the test fee and the time it takes to do the test against a possibly higher score, and no other downside.

  • Rick

The reason I ask is because the CollegeBoard pamphlets that came with my results said that, statistically, the results stay the same. I’m guessing thats put in there to make themselves look more credible? That all versions of the test are equally hard ( or easy ).

I took the SAT twice in 1989-90, and my score improved nearly 200 points. I am reasonably sure that, since I had done little preparation beforehand, that this was due to being more familiar with the types of questions and the general layout of the test. I don’t see how it could hurt to do it again.

::Educational Statistician enters the room::

Take it again. Your score will go up, though not much. Is that increase significant? That depends on how one would define significant…

1)significance is defined by how it affects you: Yes, any increase is significant. Applying to a college with a 1210 combined is less than a 1220. Would it have an effect on your acceptance? mebbe yes, mebbe no.

  1. significance is defined statistically; i.e., any increase is due to random chance/natural fluctuation of scores. This is also true. Some people tend to improve their scores while some tend to drop a few points. However, this change is not evenly distributed across scores. Imagine, if you took it once and scores 1600 and took it again (why would you?), odds are you’d do worse.

I’ve done many analyses using most recent math and verbal scores and using highest combined math and verbal scores (regardless of test administration date) and found that, by and large, the most recent is the same as the highest.

So, since most colleges make SAT decisions based on highest combined scores, and given that the test is something like $70.00, it sure couldn’t hurt you. (you might want to check with the college of your choice to see if they take highest combined or most recent.)

As an aside, the (head honcho) of Univ. of Ca. system wants to keep UC scools from basing decisions on SAT scores. He would rather schools use ACT or SAT II scores, as they are more diverse in subject matter. While I personally think that this is a great idea, I don’t see any major switch happening soon.

Based on my experience with the GRE, which is similar to the SAT, I think you can improve your score in certain areas. If math has always been your weak subject, but you have some ability in it, you might be able to improve your score by
boning up on simultaneous equations, especially when presented as story problems. Get an algrebra book out and work through the relevant chapter or chapters–it’s well worth the effort.

Take it again. You’ll be more relaxed the second time, so you’ll likely do better. I did well the first time, but really well (210 points better) the second time.

(This was in 1990, when there were two sections, math and verbal, each worth 800 points. I don’t know how it is now.)

I’ve been a fulltime SAT tutor now for over 3 years, and I’ve seen a lot of students, and MOST will do better on subsequent takings of the test. I’ve seen improvements of 10 points and I’ve seen improvements of 300+ points. Even the strictest schools I know of allow 3 SAT tests on your transcripts…after that, they average all the scores. The most lenient not only don’t care how many times you take the test, but will even let you pick and choose your score. (Taking the highest math and highest verbal score, even if from different testing dates.)

If you want a higher score, go buy a review manual (I teach off of a custom manual, but use the “10 real SAT’s” book as reference material. Available in any bookstore.) and do some of the practice tests, and then take your next test with the knowledge that you ALREADY have a high enough score to get in where you want to go, and that this test is for bonus points. Good luck!

Since the SAT mainly measures how well you take the SAT, I would think that taking it more times would improve your score… just from practice. On the other hand, I can remember when I took it (early 90s) and when I got pretty good scores the first round, no WAY was I taking it again. It can’t hurt.

These tests are like anything else that people ever do. Your score will improve with practice. Go buy one of the books that prez2032 is sugesting and take a few of the tests and see if your score goes up. There are benefits beyond just getting into school. Some scholarship programs give money based in part or all base on SAT scores. Plus you won’t have to lie when you are discussing SAT scores.

If you can afford the money, you should do it (why not?). I improved by just 60 points in each part on my second try, but that was enough to put me over a particular requirement so that I got a scholarship and didn’t have to take intro math classes at the school I went to.

I don’t know what kind of scores you have that you’re happy with, but think bragging rights, if nothing else. As others have said, scholarship opportunities are important also. I took the SAT at least 4-5 times. My score went up every time except for the last, when my verbal went up 10 pts and my math went down 40. Nevertheless, every school I was applying to only considers the highest possible combination of subscores. I last took the SAT in… 98? I think. I really think you should take it again, unless it’s a big stress factor or economic concern.

As a small college admissions counselor, I most definitely recommend that you take the test again. Simply put, the higher the score, the better your scholarship.

Here’s an example from our school(and from what I’ve seen, this method or a variation thereof is used by most colleges): Let’s say you have a 3.3/4 cumulative grade point average and a class rank around the 75th percentile, and I’ll assume you’re admissions essay was well written, you garnered a decent recommendation from a teacher, and your resume shows a few extracurricular activites. Given all that, if you SAT composite is 1050, your likely scholarship would be $2,000/year (this at a school with $13,000/year tuition). Jump that composite up ot 1150 and the scholarship would go to $4,000/year. Make a major jump up to 1200 and you’d get a $5,000 scholarship.

My experience has shown that approximately 2/3 of the students who take the SAT or ACT more than once make a marked improvement in their score (i.e. at least 30 points on the SAT, two points on the ACT). Most schools take the highest score, not the most recent. Some students think you can take the SAT five times and then use your highest verbal and your highest math scores to come up with a better composite. Sorry, most schools don’t do that. We take your best composite score from any one date.

In other words, yes, absolutely take the test again. It is a $50 investment that can net you thousands in increased scholarship.