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How Many Times Should You Take the SAT or ACT?

A question we often get at CROSSWALK is, "How many times should a student take the SAT or ACT?"

The short answer is at least twice. The average student gains a significant increase between the first and second sitting. Thus, it is worth planning for at least two tests. (And by the way, the ACT is offering a 2 for 1 deal right now just in case you want to plan to do that.)


The long answer is more complex. If two is good than three, four, five or six is better, right?


Wrong. Most students hit a plateau after three or four test sittings. You see, test taking is a skill that can be built with continued practice. But the testing window is relatively short, maybe 6-12 months. This is not enough time to push through learning plateaus.


Students can see big jumps between the first and second sitting, then maybe a smaller jump between the second and third. But the average student doesn't see big jumps after four, five or six sittings.


More is not always more.


But avoid less. Plan for multiple sittings. This is not a test to take once and be done.


Also, mix in some unofficial practice tests. The name of the game is familiarity. The more familiar a student is with the test, the more comfortable they are. Less stress means greater performance.


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