Retake the SAT in Senior Year: The Regardless Retake

Matt Larriva
Sep 04, 2012
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Why Should You Retake the SAT If You’ve Scored Over 2000?

Much of the current wisdom would tell us that SATs should be completed by Senior year. But I’ve been reading and researching and I have a different perspective on Senior year strategies — regardless of your scores, you should retake the SAT Senior year.

In brief, by the time one is a senior, one’s GPA is fixed. By that time, there are about 36 grades which compose the GPA (6 classes per 6 semesters), and, to illustrate, 2 Cs in one’s senior year would only lower a 4.0 by 0.05.

So there’s not much room to move from a GPA improvement point of view. However, there is a lot of room to move from a standardized testing scores point of view.  Here’s why:

Small Standardized Test Score Improvements Matter More than Small GPA Decreases

So my theory is that time spent in standardized test prep (instead of focusing on school), during senior year, costs less in terms of potential GPA sacrifice, and gains more in terms of potential score percentile upsides. How could it gain more? Because a senior has an increased knowledge base relative to his younger test-taking self. He or she also has fewer distractions (AP test, SAT IIs, Finals).

For Example:

If a 4.0 student with 90th percentile standardize test scores spends all their time on school then at best they remain a 4.0 student with 90th percentile scores. However, if a 4.0 student spends all their time on standardized testing (and maybe lets 2 classes go from As to Cs) they have the potential to become a 95-99th percentile scorer, and would practically only drop to a 3.95 GPA. So by choosing to retake the SAT, this student becomes a more desirable applicant.

If you were a college counselor, who would you want: a 4.0 student with a 2000 on the SAT, or a 3.95 student with a 2200 on the SAT?  

If you need to retake the SAT, here is a calendar of the upcoming test dates: http://sat.collegeboard.org/register/sat-us-dates