Many high school juniors have taken or are studying to take the ACT or SAT. While most students aim to avoid a retake by surpassing their goal on the first test, the reality is that a vast majority of students attempt the ACT or SAT multiple times... and for good reason.
Both the ACT and SAT have a score choice policy that allows students to choose which test administration(s) to submit to colleges. As a result, there are a host of benefits associated with retaking the ACT or SAT for a second, if not third time.
Colleges do not penalize students who choose to take the ACT or SAT two or three times. It’s actually quite the opposite. The college admissions process rewards students that take the SAT multiple times by taking the SAT super score – a combination of the best performance on each section from multiple tests. While some admissions offices have begun to super score the ACT, most will only accept the highest composite score from a single ACT administration. This does not discount other benefits to multiple attempts at the ACT.
We all have bad days. There are distractions in our personal lives. For those students who don’t perform up to expectations on a specific test day, there are other opportunities to give the ACT or SAT another crack. Walking into a test with that knowledge can help reduce test anxiety, which happens to be a major road block between students and maximizing their potential on the ACT or SAT.
Along the same lines, students that perform well on their first attempt also have an incentive to retake the ACT or SAT. With a solid score under their belt, students can sit for the ACT or SAT pressure free. Additionally, since the SAT has a guessing penalty, students that have already posted scores close to their personal goals, can retake the test with a more aggressive approach to answering questions. We have found that students frequently improve their results in this situation.
Finally, test preparation is a process that requires time and hard work. Retaking the ACT or SAT can give students additional time to focus on the task at hand. With an official score already in tow, the motivational carrot of improving test scores becomes more concrete. As a result, the work done in the weeks between test dates can be the most effective prep for many students.