Take Two: What To Do When Taking the SAT the Second Time Around

Some students need a trial run to understand just how challenging the SAT really is. Taking the SAT a second time is just fine, as long as you learn from past mistakes. Ali Sewalt, from NextStepU.com, is here with some helpful advice.

When it comes to standardized testing like the SAT & ACT, testing twice is sometimes the right approach to take. Think about taking the PSAT in your sophomore year of high school, and taking the SAT once your junior year and again your senior year in the hopes of improving your score.

So how do you improve your score? Use these five tips to get you started:

1. Evaluate the results of your first try

If you have particular schools in mind that you want to attend, compare your scores to the average scores of students at those schools. If your scores align with your top choice schools there isn’t really a reason to take the test a second time. However, if you’re wary about how your score is going to effect your application, consider giving the test another shot. A rise in your score could reflect in a better chance at acceptance or even in higher merit scholarship opportunities.

2. Realize your mistakes and reflect on issues

Taking the test a second time allows you to improve upon what you struggled with the first time. Did you have trouble with the time limit? Did the format of the test come as a surprise? All of these questions can result in being unprepared the first time around and now that you know your stressors, you can address them head on. Use practice tests and focus on staying within the time limits and give more attention to the subject you felt was your weakest.

3. Reformat your study strategy

If you focused a lot on test prep books last time, opt for something that breaks up large chunks like flashcards or interactive games on the web. Inversely, if you focused on vocabulary and cards, try out a book that provides the test format and work at answering the questions. If you studied with a group and didn’t like your results try instead to spend more solo time or one on one time with a tutor. If you holed up in your room alone, try interacting with others and exchange strategies and tips.

4. Utilize your resources

Look for tutors that specialize in SAT prep and make appointments up to 3 months before the test to begin preparation. Some schools and communities offer classes you can enroll in for further practice.

5. Make a timeline

The best preparation begins 3 months before the exam. Make a list or calendar of things you would like accomplished by a certain date. Remember to reward yourself with progress and seek out help when necessary. You can do this by breaking up large portions of a book or flashcards to make it easier to work through. Also remember to not cram right before. This adds more stress and really does nothing to benefit improving your results. Avoid studying in-depth the few days leading up to the exam.

Taking the SAT test for a second time can be beneficial for many students but make sure you take a different approach the second time around if you want to improve your score. Study hard, don’t stress and give it your best efforts!


Ali Sewalt is the editorial intern for NextStepU and is a junior at Nazareth College. You can reach her with questions and for advice at Alison@nextstepu.com.

> Looking for more advice? Register at NextStepU.com and customize your path to success.


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    NextStepU seeks to help students find the right path after high school. Read articles, search for scholarships, enter to Win Free Tuition and get step-by-step planning to help you find your path to success!

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