So the day arrives when your SAT scores are going to be reported. You head to the College Board's website. You're nervous. You know your colleges look at the SAT scores and you don't want to have to report less than your best. Will the scores be lower than you hoped? Higher? What is everyone else getting? Will you get to brag about your good SAT score or will you have to just mutter your score when someone asks you what it is? shutterstock_194777405edited

You enter in your username and password. You scroll down and...Your score is about the same as your PSAT.

You shake your head in despair. You ask yourself why you messed up. Didn't you do everything right? You studied. You worked with a tutor. You made sure you went to bed early the night before even though you like to stay up late. Why the mediocre score? It's not fair.

And you're right. It's not fair. There are a lot of variables that go into the SAT. From your mood to the test's mood to whether your calculator has enough battery power, anything and everything can affect your results. That's why it's not a bad idea to take the SAT a little earlier on in your Junior year, say in January or March. Why? Because you can take the test again (and again, and again, if you wish.)

Don't worry - a good SAT Score is still in your future

The first time students take the SAT can often be a stressful experience. Even with practice beforehand, the process of sitting in a room, doing the test for four hours straight, with your brain yelling, "THIS IS THE BIG TEST," is quite different from just studying. Working an hour on SAT work at home is great, but it's a different beast from having to do the test for four straight hours.

The good news?

Now that you've done it  the first time it won't be as difficult next time. You'll be used to the process. You also might want to look into "super scoring". Many schools will allow you to pick and choose which results you submit. For instance, you might submit your Math score from the March SAT, but you use the May test for your Reading score. This takes off some of the pressure of making sure every SAT is your best. You could end up with the same score on two tests, but by super scoring you'll be able to increase your grade because on one test you got a 550 in Math and a 570 in Reading, but the second test you did the reverse. With super scoring you can just pick the best from each test and all of a sudden your score is high. Not all schools allow super scoring, but you should definitely look into the schools you're interested in and see their thoughts on it. The more information you have, the less stressful the process is.

Lastly, a mediocre score might be disappointing in the moment, but it could also be a great motivator. You'll be able to see where your weak spots are and you can formulate a plan on how to improve. This way, when you next take the test you'll know exactly what to pay attention to and where to make sure you don't make the same mistake as last time.

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