SAT Suite

Should I Retake the SAT?

You can absolutely retake the SAT—many students improve their scores when they take it a second or third time. But not everyone needs to retake the SAT, and only you can decide if you should. When deciding, ask yourself these questions: Did I reach my target score? Am I satisfied with my score? Will my score give me a good chance of being accepted by the college I want to attend? If that college is test optional, would I be better off not submitting my score at all? Do I have time to take the SAT again before my college applications are due?

Now let’s go into detail about retaking the SAT—the benefits, number of retakes, dates, and how to prepare.


Benefits of Retaking the SAT

Improve Your Score

Most students who take the SAT more than once increase their score.

Know What to Expect

You know from personal experience what the test is like. You know the types and number of questions, timing for each section, break schedule, etc. This will give you an advantage when taking the SAT a second (or third) time. You can be confident because you know what to expect, recognize the areas you need to improve on, and have insight into how to do better the next time you test.

Qualify for Scholarships

A higher SAT score could help you earn scholarships through your school district, organizations, membership programs, or colleges you’re applying to. Research what scholarships are available to you.


How many times should I take the SAT?

You can take the SAT as many times as you like. But should you? Each person is different. Everyone has a target score for the college of their choice. Research the SAT score ranges of colleges you’re applying to before you begin the admissions process so you can set goals for retaking the SAT.

Consider taking the SAT twice. Most students take it for the first time in the spring of their junior year, and then retest in the fall of their senior year. That way you’ll be able to submit your best scores with your college application when applying in the winter of senior year. And some colleges superscore, meaning they’ll look at your best score for the Reading and Writing and Math sections across multiple test dates.


How should I prepare to retake the SAT?

Know When to Retake

If you choose to retake the SAT, consider a few things. Reflect on how you did on your last SAT, but also how much time you have between now and the next test date. As a senior, it’s also important to consider the timeline of your college applications and scholarships. Not only do schools have deadlines for the general, many offer priority scholarships for students who apply early. This means preparing to retake the SAT requires thinking about your goals.

Many schools offer the SAT in school on a school day. It’s also offered in test centers on weekends in March, May, June, August, October, November, and December every year. The deadlines to register without a late fee are approximately two weeks ahead of the test date and scores are released about two weeks after a weekend SAT. Depending on which test date you register for, you might have to sign up for another SAT before you know your score on the last one you took. Give yourself ample time to prepare for your SAT while staying aware of your timeline.


This shouldn’t come as a surprise, but one of the best strategies for performing better when you retake the SAT is to practice concepts you struggled with the first time around. The best and easiest way to do it? Review your scores. In the Knowledge and Skills section, learn more about your strengths and areas you can focus on improving. You can also view skills and example questions in the next score band, with answer explanations included. Then, take your skills to the next level using free Official Digital SAT Prep on Khan Academy® to improve your score. Then reset your target score and register to take the SAT again.


Hear how practicing and improving his SAT score helped Noble stand out and get into his dream (test-optional) college.


Don’t forget self-care!

You’ve already taken your first SAT and you’re on the right track to do well on the next one. It’s important to be prepared for your next test, but it’s also important to take care of yourself. Take healthy study breaks, and before the next SAT get a good night’s rest, eat a balanced breakfast, and get to your testing center early. Preparation is key when taking the SAT, but feeling rested and ready can also make a difference.