Let’s talk about the SAT and ACT!
Today the scores from the May 2, 2015 SAT test were published. Often this is last SAT taken by juniors for the school year; some will take the June test, but many will switch to the SAT Subject Tests in June. What if your scores are still not where you want for the school of your dreams? What if you have taken the test twice already or even three times, can you still take it in the fall?
Resoundingly yes! Yes! Yes!
I might be one the few consultants who will tell you that you can take the test as much as you need to, if you believe you have not yet gotten what you are confident you can. There is this odd unsubstantiated advice by so many counselors, both school and private, who insist two or three times is the maximum. It is not true. It is not true. Once again, it is NOT true. Need some guidance, contact me!
No college tells you how many times you can take the tests. Both tests offer score choice. The SAT offers Super Scoring for most colleges. The ACT does have re-averaging, which is similar to Super Scoring, at a few colleges. None, in over my 20 years of working at this, has ever said no to anyone simply for taking the test repeatedly. Recruited athletes are often instructed to take the test repeatedly. I have had several that have literally taken the tests seven or eight times.
Colleges take the highest scores of what they ask for, period. They always give the student the best possible calculation. Whichever test provides the best possible profile for the student is used when calculating Admission points. There is no harm taking the tests back to back, three or four times, etc. None of that matters. Truly. I have found that both private and school counselors come up with some rationale to make their idea seem plausible when it comes to testing, but I have yet to find one single college that actually supports any of these rationales.
I have worked extensively with students with test anxiety. Test Anxious students do show improvement over multiple test administrations. They typically never score what they could, but over a series of tests, they come closer and closer to achieving what is normal for them. Years ago, I had a truly dedicated student who wanted to go to only one particular college. He was text anxious and his mother had known this his whole life. He started taking the SAT and ACT tests in his sophomore spring. His mother had him enrolled in classes to help during the summer rising into junior year. He took it all administrations offered that fall. I was called to help in the spring after he had taken the SAT test 3 times and the ACT 3 times. We worked for the May and June tests together. He was a remarkably good student…straight As, several APs, a varsity athlete, and genuinely a good student. He was a terrible test taker. He worked and worked. He took the test May and June of his junior spring and then again in October and November of his senior fall. His mother sent me a lovely note in the winter with a Christmas card telling me that the 7th time was the charm! He was accepted into the one and only school he wanted to go to. It took him seven times to get the score he needed for that school. He had the grades, the advanced courses, the leadership activities, but he needed a score. He got it. The college did not in any way care how many test administrations he took.
He was just one example of a student who took the test repeatedly and got exactly what he wanted in terms of admission. I have had many other instances over the years of such students who rigorously, doggedly, and tenaciously work on these tests to get that high score, and get into the college of their choice. And the schools range from the Ivy League to the Big mid-Western Universities to the small, prestigious colleges all over the United States.
Anyone who admits to something differently in terms of test taking and who is not a Dean of Admission at the college you are considering, I would be seriously dubious of his or her credentials. Many people want to make money calling themselves college consultants….I have actual knowledge of moms who simply got their own children into a college, creating a business card and calling themselves college consultants. I have experienced more people who just make up information in this field than any other I have ever worked. Be aware and be prudent! Plus, if you are seriously concerned, call the college. Most colleges love to hear from prospective students.
So if you are wondering how to get that score to where you need it to be, you can work this summer. I advise all those who are considering taking the fall tests to remember that October is the last month you can really take the tests to qualify for Early Decision or Early Action deadlines. You can take the test all the way through January and have sent for regular decision, if you are senior. If you need some premier help to get several hundred points, call us! We can do it!
Take a break early in the summer and get back to the tests by the end of July. You want to leave at least six full weeks of study time before taking the tests again. If you have been prepped forever, and you feel you know the tests inside and out, no need to start again, but review! Do not go in cold. If you selected the Question and Answer service from the May test, the detail score reports and the copy of the test will come around the end of June. If you did not, you can still order the report. This will help you review for the fall. If you want someone to help you understand the detail of your score, your errors and help, contact us!
So for those who are feeling anxious because you have taken the test twice or three times, no worries! You can, if you think you will do better, take the tests again!