How Many Times Can You Take the SAT? (2024)

What's the SAT test limit?
April 26, 2024
5 min read
Expert Reviewed


Reviewed by:

Mary Banks

Former Admissions Committee Member, Columbia University

Reviewed: 4/26/24

How many times can you take the SAT? Does retaking the SAT affect your score? How many times is too many when taking the SAT? If you have asked yourself any of these questions, keep reading!

Taking the SAT is a daunting but necessary part of the college admissions process. ‍Luckily, you can take the SAT as many times as you want. Many students take the SAT more than once; most even plan to write it at least twice before their first attempt. Typically, students choose to take the test in the spring of their junior year and again in the fall of senior year. 

The test is administered seven times a year, but it is important to always check the dates and deadlines for the year you are writing the SAT, so you can plan accordingly.

Reasons To Retake the SAT

There are various reasons you may want to retake the SAT. These can include:

  • Not being satisfied with your original score, or you didn’t get the score you need for your top choice colleges. 
  • Applying to scholarships, and having a higher score improves your chances of getting it. 
  • Applying to merit-based scholarships, and they are solely dependent on a student’s SAT or ACT score, such as the National Merit Scholarship Competition.
  • Getting a good SAT score but feeling like you can do better.
  • Needing a higher score for your target schools.
School SAT Score Range Acceptance Rate
Harvard University 1450 and 1580 3.59%
Yale University 1450 and 1580 3.7%
Princeton University 1450 and 1580 6.0%

For admittance to top schools like Princeton, Harvard and Yale, students should aim for between 1450 and 1580. A good SAT score varies from school to school, but the average score for all writers is a 1200.  

There are many good colleges that will accept students with scores in the 1200s. There are also a growing number of schools who no longer require applicants to take the SAT, so always check each school’s requirements. 

At Tuskegee University, a SAT score of 1300-1420+ makes students eligible for full tuition/room and board scholarships. 

Retaking the SAT at least once is generally a good idea. According to the College Board, the administrator of the SAT, 63% of students in the previous years improved their score when taking the test more than once. 

Some schools also engage in a process called ‘SuperScoring.’ This is a policy where a school will combine the highest math section score and highest evidence based reading and writing section score, even if they are from separate tests. This means that you have a pretty good chance of improving your score if you sit it again. 

There are many other reasons re-sitting the test at least once is a smart choice. You will be more familiar with the test and its structure, and you will also have a feel for the real SAT. 

Practice tests take place in an environment where you are comfortable, like your home, and you can take as many breaks as you would like. The stress of test day may affect you in ways you cannot predict and adversely affect your score. 

Re-sitting also allows you to develop a better strategy for approaching the SAT, as you never truly know how you will feel under pressure on test day until you do it. Time management is a key aspect of taking the test, and is not easily replicated in practice environments. 

Retaking the SAT also gives you an opportunity to make any changes to your study strategy. If you found yourself unprepared for a particular section, you have the chance to shift your focus to areas where you struggled.  

While SAT prep and practice is extremely important, there is nothing that can prepare you better for test day than having a test under your belt!

If you’re not sure whether you’re ready to take this test, here is a free SAT/ACT Readiness quiz that you can take to help you make that decision! 

How Many Times Is Too Many When Taking the SAT?

While you can technically take the test as many times as you want, there are a few things to keep in mind when deciding how many times to take the SAT. If you have written the SAT more than three times and gotten approximately the same score, it might be time to consider if writing it again is the best option. 

By this point, you have a feel for the test and know how to prepare, so really reflect on if you think there is a chance you can significantly improve your score. Setting a concrete goal score rather than a vague one can help you evaluate if your goal is attainable, or if you should shift your expectations. 

Maybe you still don’t have your dream score, but your energy may be better spent on working on other areas of your college applications, such as essays. There are multiple ways to stand out to admissions officers, so don’t feel dejected if you haven't been able to achieve your ideal score.

Taking the SAT is an investment of both your time and money. Making sure that the investment is worth it is an important consideration. Deciding how many times to take the SAT is an important decision, and not one to make lightly.

Can Colleges See How Many Times You Take The SAT?

Colleges can only see the SAT scores you choose to send them. This means that they will have no idea if you have retaken the test and how many times you took the SAT. However, you can choose to provide this information if you feel like it might actually augment your application. 

A good example of why you might choose to do this is if you significantly improved your score; this is potentially a great way to show admissions officers that you were able to persevere and put the effort in to improve. 

Always research the schools you are applying to and their policies and deadlines on SAT scores. This is an important aspect of building your college list and choosing your target schools.

FAQs: Retaking the SAT

Still curious about retaking the SAT? Here are some common questions answered! 

1. Is Four SAT Attempts Too Much?

While you can take the SAT as many times as you want, if you are taking it four times it is important to reflect if this will actually be helpful. If you have taken it three or four times and have not improved your score, this might be a sign that you should stop taking it or approach it differently. 

2. Does It Hurt You To Take the SAT Multiple Times?

It does not hurt to take the SAT multiple times. Colleges cannot see how many times you have taken the SAT. However, writing the SAT is a stressful and time-consuming endeavor, so it's important to know how many times are right for you. 

3. How Many Times Can You Take the SAT For Free?

It costs $60 to take the SAT. Students from low-income families may be eligible to have the fee waived.

Improving Your SAT Score With Quad

You can write the SAT as many times as you want, and your scores last forever. This is both a great way to improve your score, but can also be a stressful way to trap yourself in an endless cycle of test writing. 

Planning when you want to write the SAT and how many times you want to write it in advance is a great way to avoid this stress. Tackling the test with the right tools is a recipe for success, and whatever your reasons for re-sitting the SAT, proper planning and preparation is paramount. 

Quad Education can help you prepare for the SAT and improve your score, whether it is your first time writing or you want to improve your score. Quad’s one-on-one sessions with our 99th percentile tutors are tailored to you and the areas you need to improve. 

Quad Education clients experienced a 100 point increase of their SAT score with 45+ hours of tutoring. Tutors will help you set realistic goals and build feasible and measurable plans on how to get there. 

Using experienced tutors who are there to focus on you and your goals and needs is a fantastic way to prepare for the SAT test.

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