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Articles / Applying to College / SAT Re-Take for High-Scoring Junior?

May 3, 2005

SAT Re-Take for High-Scoring Junior?

Question: I took the SAT I in March and did really well (Math-790, Verbal-800, Writing-740) but, before I got my scores back, I signed up to retake it in May. I've already paid the fee and I think that if I take it again I could do better, but I wanted to know if it would hurt me to do worse.

Colleges typically use your best scores from each section of the SAT, even if they're from different testings, so it can't hurt to re-take the tests. Sure, if you do egregiously worse (very unlikely) then colleges will see the new scores as well as the old ones, but they'll really only pay attention to your highest numbers.


However, since you did so well the first time around, it's certainly not necessary to take the tests again. Alternatively, according to the College Board, even though the May test is just a week away, it isn't too late for you to decide to take SAT IIs this month instead of the SAT I. In order to do so, you can just show up at your test center as planned but tell the proctor that you've switched to the Subject Tests. If you don't feel prepared to do that, you can also notify the College Board that you won't be testing at all on May 7th. They will then apply the fee you've paid to any SATs you take down the road.

Written by

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone

Sally Rubenstone knows the competitive and often convoluted college admission process inside out: From the first time the topic of college comes up at the dinner table until the last duffel bag is unloaded on a dorm room floor. She is the co-author of Panicked Parents' Guide to College Admissions; The Transfer Student's Guide to Changing Colleges and The International Student's Guide to Going to College in America. Sally has appeared on NBC's Today program and has been quoted in countless publications, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, USA Weekend, USA Today, U.S. News & World Report, Newsweek, People and Seventeen. Sally has viewed the admissions world from many angles: As a Smith College admission counselor for 15 years, an independent college counselor serving students from a wide range of backgrounds and the author of College Confidential's "Ask the Dean" column. She also taught language arts, social studies, study skills and test preparation in 10 schools, including American international schools in London, Paris, Geneva, Athens and Tel Aviv. As senior advisor to College Confidential since 2002, Sally has helped hundreds of students and parents navigate the college admissions maze. In 2008, she co-founded College Karma, a private college consulting firm, with her College Confidential colleague Dave Berry, and she continues to serve as a College Confidential advisor. Sally and her husband, Chris Petrides, became first-time parents in 1997 at the ripe-old age of 45. So Sally was nearly an official senior citizen when her son Jack began the college selection process, and when she was finally able to practice what she had preached for more than three decades.

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