Which SAT Scores Should I Send to Schools?

You may retake the SAT, take the separately scored New SAT Essay exam, or take an SAT subject test. So which SAT scores should you send to schools?

Send your highest SAT scores to schools

Suppose you retake the SAT and get a lower score than your previous try. It happens…and it’s never fun. But if this has happened to you, I still have some good news. You can–and should–send your higher scores to schools. Even if your higher score is not the most recent score, it is the one most schools will want to see.

It would be very unusual for a university to ask for the lower of two scores, or to request both the original scores and the retake scores. So send the highest score only, unless you are specifically asked to send in another score.

You should send SAT subject test scores

If you are trying to get into a very competitive major, you should submit scores for a relevant SAT subject test.

It’s common for schools to recommend that students submit SAT subject area scores for certain degree paths. For example, a school might have a strong math program with a lot of applicants. In that case, the school may encourage students to take and submit an SAT Math subject test if they are hoping to get into the math major on the campus. In rarer cases, a university may actually require an SAT subject test score for students who apply to certain programs.

But what if you’ve taken an SAT subject test, but your school does not recommend or require SAT subject scores? In that case, you should still send the scores, assuming you did well. Good scores on an SAT subject area test can always make you more competitive when you apply to school.

Should you send in your SAT Essay scores?

On the New SAT, the essay is optional–you register for it separately from the main exam. Following the College Board’s lead, universities seldom require SAT Essay scores from their applicants. However, there are a handful of schools that may require it, usually top schools (Yale, for example).

If you are applying to a school that asks for SAT Essay scores, you will, of course, want to take the SAT Essay exam and send your scores in. But you should also send in any good SAT Essay score to your schools whether they require the exam or not. Writing is a very important part of college coursework, so submitting a high SAT Essay score will always work in your favor.


  • David Recine

    David is a Test Prep Expert for Magoosh TOEFL and IELTS. Additionally, he's helped students with TOEIC, PET, FCE, BULATS, Eiken, SAT, ACT, GRE, and GMAT. David has a BS from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and an MA from the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. His work at Magoosh has been cited in many scholarly articles, his Master's Thesis is featured on the Reading with Pictures website, and he's presented at the WITESOL (link to PDF) and NAFSA conferences. David has taught K-12 ESL in South Korea as well as undergraduate English and MBA-level business English at American universities. He has also trained English teachers in America, Italy, and Peru. Come join David and the Magoosh team on Youtube, Facebook, and Instagram, or connect with him via LinkedIn!

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