Will Colleges Average My SAT Scores?

If I take the SAT (or ACT) more than 3 times, can I still submit my highest score or do colleges start to average all of my scores together after 3 times taking the tests? Admissions offices are always looking for your best scores, no matter how many times you take a test.  Don’t worry that they may see multiple attempts at the test or some scores that are lower than others.  Many times, the people making decisions to admit only see your best score anyway because a clerk or assistant has put all the data in the system. I visit dozens of college campuses each year and meet with their admissions officers and attend regional and national conferences for college admissions counselors; I do not know of a single school that averages scores if a student has taken a test multiple times.  I think this is another one of those admissions myths. How schools determine what is your best score will differ.  Some universities use your single test date best.  Others “superscore”, taking the highest SAT Reading, Math, and Writing scores even if they come from three different test dates.   Most colleges do not “superscore” the ACT at this time, but that is a hot topic in admissions. Most students will take the SAT / ACT two or three times.  Just retaking the test will not improve your scores.  Before you sign up to take a test for the third, fourth, or fifth time make sure you have a specific goal in mind and have prepared for test content, strategy, and stress management. Check with the colleges on your list, but most schools are requesting you send ALL scores not just your best ones.  If a particular school does not request all scores, you can use SAT Score Choice to send only your best results. For more on this question or to ask questions on this topic, check out the video on my blog:  http://collegeprepllc.com/how-colleges-view-multiple-attempts-at-the-sat-act/]]>

Comments (3)

    • Yes, Linda, as a test prep coach with 18 years’ experience, I completely agree. I have seen some students effectively prepare on their own; these students are usually naturally gifted test takers. (Much like the naturally gifted signer needs little coaching.) A majority of students would benefit from some form of professional test preparation.

  • Yes, Linda, a high quality prep coach with a proven track record is the best way to improve. With 18 years in the test prep field, I’ve seen numerous students take and retake the SAT or ACT with little or no improvement. Yet, after working with me in a class, small group, or individual coaching they are able to dramatically improve their scores.

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