TPT: How many times should you take the SAT/ACT?

October 17, 2017

We get it, you’re probably nervous about taking the ACT and/or SAT. You start to wonder about the worst scenario: What if you score bad? Can you retake it? Do colleges look at all attempts?

Fortunately, Top Tier Learning understands your struggle. Here’s some advice to prepare for that worst scenario. You have plenty of options, so don’t stress, you’ll be fine (:

First off, note that colleges will not look at the average of your scores. They will look at your scores in two ways:

  1. All Scores method
  • As its name implies, this method requires you to send the scores of all the tests that you have taken. Although colleges place the most weight on your highest score, they still consider your lower scores. Study for a better score if you plan to retake a test.
  • Colleges that require all scores: Barnard College, Carnegie Mellon, Duke, Georgetown, Rice, Stanford, Syracuse, University of Miami, University of Pennsylvania, Yale, Cornell (only for SAT)
  1. Best Score method
  • Besides the ones above, most colleges will allow you to best represent yourself in terms of test scores. There are two methods for this:
  • SuperScore: Colleges take the highest score from each SAT test section and combine them.
  • Best Sitting: Colleges take the highest composite score from a single test date.

Our Advice:

After about three tests, the rate of improvement for future tests for most people decreases. So, plan to be done with testing by your third sitting. A plan could be taking the SAT Spring of sophomore year, using the summer to review, retaking it Fall of junior year, and possibly retaking it Spring of junior year (don’t procrastinate till senior year!).

Also keep in mind that the ACT costs $12 per test to submit while it costs $11.25 to send all SAT scores.

Cool tip: You can delete ACT scores.


Derek Cheung