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Beating the New SAT: FAQs and Ten Things To Know (page 5)

By — John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
Updated on Jul 20, 2010

When Will I Receive My Score?

It will take approximately six weeks to get the results. Your scores will be automatically sent to you and up to four colleges you identified on your registration form. You have to send score reports to every college you apply to anyway, so you might as well take advantage of this free service. You can request score reports for additional colleges on the Internet by going to www.collegeboard.com and following the relevant links. At press time, these reports cost $6.50 each. At the busiest times of the year, it can take up to a month for the College Board to mail out these reports after you request them, so be sure to plan ahead—particularly if you are applying early action or early decision and have a deadline looming.

Yes, if you screw up, you can pay your way out. Call the College Board at (800) 728-7267 with credit card in hand, pay them the $23.00 penalty plus $6.50 per report, and they'll mail out reports to anyone you want within two business days.

I Performed Below My Expectations—Should I Take the Test Again?

It depends on what you're talking about.

If you were expecting a 2100 and ended up with a 2080, no, you should not take the exam again—unless of course, you commit to another program of study that gives you reason to feel that you'll raise your score by 50 points or more. If, in contrast, you were expecting something around a 2100 based on your sample tests and you ended up with a 1950, now maybe you have reason to revisit the exam.

First, call two or three of your top-choice schools and find out what they do with multiple SAT scores. Will they just look at the highest one, or will they average your scores? If they average the scores, you'd have to do substantially better the second time around in order for an averaged score to make a meaningful impact on your application.

If you do decide to take the exam again, don't just reload and fire away at the next possible administration (unless, of course, you have no other options). If the administration you took is one of the ones where answers and reasons are provided, ask for that feedback and study where you went wrong. Learn from those mistakes and figure out how to recognize and correct them. Then go back, drill with those kinds of questions, take more sample tests, and then take another shot.

Review: The Ten Things To Remember About The SAT

  1. In the fall of your junior year, go to the College Board's Web site (www.collegeboard.com), research the schedule of spring SATs, and figure out which one you are going to take.
  2. Begin preparing for the exam four to six months before your chosen date.
  3. Register for an SAT-prep course or use a prep book, but in either case, study actively; learn the question types and strategies for each of them; and track, catalogue, study, and learn from your mistakes.
  4. About a week before the exam, start getting up early and doing banks of SAT questions to get yourself in the habit.
  5. On the day before the exam, stop studying and try to relax. There is nothing you can do to "cram" for the SAT, and if you've been studying diligently all along, there is nothing that you should need to do on the last day.
  6. On the night before the exam, gather together your number 2 pencils, eraser, calculator, ID, test pass, and secret stash of energy food, and put it all together in one place so that you can simply grab it on your way out in the morning.
  7. Have a good dinner and get a good night's sleep.
  8. Have a good breakfast and arrive at the test center early. If you have the option to choose a seat, choose one in the back corner of the room away from the windows.
  9. Force yourself to stay on schedule. The biggest mistake students make on the SAT is spending too much time on a stumper and then running out of time.
  10. Don't cancel your score unless you got sick during the exam, know you misbubbled, or know for certain that you had to guess on an inordinate number of questions due to timing problems.

 Additional Resources

    Kaplan SAT Review Course (offered in cities worldwide)

    The Princeton Review SAT Course (offered in cities worldwide)

    Gruber, Gary R. Gruber's Complete Preparation for the New SAT. New York: HarperResource (annually)

    KAPLAN, SAT Premier Program, Kaplan, Inc. (annually)

    Princeton Review. Cracking the New SAT. New York: Random House (annually)

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