We all know that you can take the SAT and the ACT more than once. For most students, taking these exams multiple times is a wise call, since as they continue to study, they continue to see score improvements. But if you’re one of many who’s planning on taking multiple SATs or ACTs, make sure you know HOW your scores will be submitted to colleges when you take multiple tests.
The SAT SuperScore:
When you take the SAT more than once, you get the best of all three sections submitted to your colleges of choice. Let’s look at an example:
On your first SAT, you get a 750 in Math, but a 500 in Writing and a 500 in Critical Reading.
On your second SAT, you get a 680 in Math, a 600 in Writing, and a 410 in Critical Reading.
On your third SAT, you get a 710 in Math, a 580 in Writing, and a 610 in Critical Reading.
Your total score submitted will be: Math:750 Writing: 600 Critical Reading 610
Colleges do see that you’ve taken multiple tests, but at the end of the day, most of them don’t care so much. You obviously shouldn’t take 14 SATs and expect universities not to notice, but if you take 2-3 exams, you’ll probably be seriously boosting your chances of admission.
The ACT “SuperScore”
The “little cousin” of the SAT isn’t quite as generous when it comes to retakes, but it’s still very, very worth your time to repeat the ACT if you weren’t happy with your first round of scores.
While ALL colleges take the best scores from each section of the SAT, on the ACT, most colleges just take your best overall score. So if you take these two tests:
You’re only getting a boost of two points, even though you did much, much better in multiple sections. This is because the overall score on the ACT is calculated using a formula that’s more complicated than simply adding the three 200-800 scores that you get on the SAT.
It’s important to note that SOME colleges do “SuperScore” the ACT as well, and you’ll need to call their admissions offices to find out whether or not they do.
You can find out the expected SAT and ACT scores of America’s top colleges by using our free SAT/ACT score generator
What This Means For You:
Once you understand how multiple scores are combined, you have one big advantage: you’ll know what to study before you take your second or third test.
On the SAT, focus specifically on your worst score and put ALL of your effort into it./ Of course, if you have something like a 520/510/530 split, then you can do an overall effort. But if you have a 670/500/780, you should be putting almost all of your time into studying for the “500” section.
Since you’ll keep your old, good scores, you’ll want to focus exclusively on bringing the bad sections up to par.
On the ACT, you’ll need to focus on the entire test. You’ll still have the most room for improvement in your weakest areas, but you can’t let everything else falter without risk. Call your target schools and see if they SuperScore or not – if they do, you can treat your ACT just like an SAT, but if not, you need to be more holistic.
However, At the end of the day, you should still spend most of your time on your weakest areas, since that’s where you have the most opportunity to improve.