How Many Times Should You Take a College Entrance Exam?

College Entrance ExamBefore you sit down and take the SAT or ACT, you might wonder how many times you should take a college entrance exam. A college entrance exam is a type of standardized test designed to show how well you might do in college. Some believe that those who are good on these tests will perform better in college. Before you sign up and take the test multiple times, you need to consider several different things and learn why taking that test several times might look bad on your record.

What is a College Entrance Exam?

A college entrance exam is a type of standardized test that asks you questions in several key areas. You typically complete sections on reading, math, science and English. The questions include information presented to students up until their junior or senior years in high school. Colleges use those scores to determine which applicants deserve admission. Those who receive higher scores may also have the chance to graduate high school with honors and obtain national scholarships that help them pay for college.

Is the SAT or ACT Better?

In addition to wondering how many times you should take a college entrance exam, you might wonder if the SAT or ACT is better. The SAT ranked as the predominate college entrance exam for a number of years before developers created the ACT. Always check with the colleges where you plan to apply. Some schools prefer you take the ACT, and others give more weight to SAT schools. Many students also find it helpful to take both tests and see which one they scored higher on and submit only those scores. Keep in mind that the SAT tests your knowledge of reading, writing and math, while the ACT tests you on reading, math, science and English with an optional English section.

How to Take an Exam

The way you take one of these exams differs based on which one you choose. The SAT is something of a mass examination that you take in a large classroom or lecture hall with other students. When you take the ACT, you take that test on a computer and will likely take the test alone with a proctor monitoring you. Both exams require that you pay a fee months or weeks in advance of the test and that you arrive prior to the start time of the test with your required supplies.

How Many Times Should You Take the Test?

How many times you should take a college entrance exam really depends on you. If you took any of the pre-tests offered in your area, you have some idea of how well you will score. You generally want to take the test twice and see if you can better your score on the second attempt. According to The Princeton Review, you should stop after taking the test three times. As the testing boards send your scores to the colleges you named on your application, taking the test multiple times might show harm your chances of admission.

Related Resource: College Prep Course

The ACT and SAT are two examples of college entrance exams. Schools look at your scores in combination with other factors when decided whether to accept your application. Though you can take these tests multiple times, the answer to how many times you should take a college entrance exam is usually no more than three.