Taking the ACT, SAT, or any other standardized test is stressful. This is one reason why many students shudder at the thought of sitting for a standardized exam again.
However, if you do not initially earn the score you need, retaking a standardized test may be unavoidable. There are many myths and reasons why people will tell you not to retake an exam, but it is in your best interests to debunk these myths and to instead focus on your prep. Here are four of the most common myths about retaking standardized tests:
Myth #1: You will not improve your score
While it is true that your score might remain the same—or even decrease, especially if you do not prepare for your second testing session—it is more likely that your score will increase.
According to the ACT, 57% of students who retook the exam increased their score. Only 21% of test-takers had no change, and only 22% decreased their overall score. The SAT reported similar results, with 55% of students who took the exam as a junior scoring higher as a senior. 35% decreased their overall score, and 10% saw no change.
Myth #2: Colleges will reconsider your application if your score decreases
Schools can see that you sat for a standardized test more than once, but most colleges and universities will only consider your highest score. In addition, schools often post their review policies for exams online. Be sure to read this policy, and to contact the college if you have any questions.
Remember, too, that demonstrating your work ethic and your ability to achieve a higher score are traits that most schools look for in applicants.
Myth #3: Standardized tests are intelligence tests, which you cannot study for
This myth states that no matter how many times you take the exam, you will receive roughly the same score. The score you earn is the score you are destined for. This is simply not true—again, over 50% of students improve their scores.
The ACT and SAT are largely designed to test the information you learn in high school. So, if you learn this information more thoroughly, you can likely improve your results (just like on any other exam). The ACT and SAT also test your ability to take tests. How quickly can you reason? Can you accurately eliminate wrong answers? These are all skills that you can strengthen with practice.
Myth #4: You do not have time to retest
Did you know that you can retake the ACT or SAT while you are completing your college applications? It typically takes several weeks for colleges to receive your ACT or SAT scores, and it may take them several more to process your results. The entire process may thus take a month or longer. To be safe, allow yourself extra room, but do not forget that this still leaves you with about two months before your application deadline to take the ACT or SAT one final time. Why not take advantage of this chance to improve your portfolio?
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