Completing the SAT or ACT often comes with a sigh of relief. However, if you didn’t earn the score you were hoping for, you might need to retake the test to increase your chances of getting into your dream school. You can retake the SAT or ACT as many times as you want, but each try does come with a cost and puts stress on you, so it’s best to prepare and try to get the best score you can on the first or second try.
Look at the School Score Range
When you have your heart set on a specific college, it’s smart to know what that institution expects for SAT or ACT scores. The admissions website should include a range of scores from students who got into the school, but you can also call the admissions office to find out the range.
Calling the admissions office can also help you determine which test is more important to the school. Some focus more on the ACT, especially schools with strong science programs since the ACT includes a science section and the SAT does not. However, others only accept SAT scores. If your dream school focuses on one test, it might make sense to spend more time studying and preparing for that one instead of splitting your time.
Take Practice Tests
Before you arrive on the morning of your test, make sure to take as many practice tests as possible. The two tests’ content and style are similar, so taking a practice SAT could help you score well on the ACT.
However, the ACT tends to be more difficult to complete within the time period, so make sure to take timed practice tests to make the experience more realistic. When you get the score of your practice test, you’ll see the areas you’re excelling in as well as those that might need some extra attention.
Choose the Right Study Materials
Instead of picking up a pile of ACT and SAT preparation manuals, stick to the official prep books from the test writers. You can buy a copy at your local bookstore or online, but choose the current year instead of trying to save money by grabbing a previous year’s version. The test writers’ preparation guide will offer more relevance and insight into the actual test’s difficulty.
Practice Changing Subjects
When you get your scores, you can start focusing on the areas where you didn’t score as highly. However, it’s important to mimic the style of the test when you’re setting aside time to study. For example, if you are preparing for the retake to take two hours, set a timer and spend 45 minutes on one subject, then 45 minutes on another.
After completing the first hour and a half, set aside the last 30 minutes for the subject in which you scored the best. Switching subjects keeps your brain engaged and prepares you for test day.
With the right preparation, you can earn a better score on the SAT or ACT and get into the school of your dreams, as well as increase the potential for scholarships and grants.