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Frequently Asked ACT and SAT Questions

Jalen W.

This week, we’re going to answer a few of the questions I frequently receive from students. These are questions that have come up in practically every ACT and SAT prep class that I have taught. While this list is by no means exhaustive, there is a good chance that you’ve wondered about at least one of these questions yourself.


Is there a limit to how many times I can take ACT or SAT?

No. You can take the ACT and SAT as many times as you want.


Are there any disadvantages to taking the ACT/SAT multiple times?

The short answer to this question is “no.” Taking the ACT/SAT at least twice will likely increase your score because you’ll know exactly what to expect going into the exam the second time. In addition, both the ACT and SAT allow students to choose which test scores colleges do and do not see.


The long answer is a bit more complicated. Taking the ACT or SAT represents a monetary and time commitment. Each test date has to be paid for separately (there is no “bulk discount” for registering for multiple dates) and each exam is at least 3 hours. You also need to be careful when choosing which dates to (re)take the ACT or SAT. As we discussed in an earlier lesson, you shouldn’t sign up for test dates that are only a month apart because it can take up to that long to get your scores from the previous exam back.


What is superscoring? Does the ACT/SAT superscore?

Superscoring is choosing the highest score from each individual section of a test, regardless of test date. Let’s say you received the following scores on an ACT: 27 in English, 20 in Math, 25 in Reading, and 23 in Science. You weren’t happy with your Math and Science scores, so you decided to take the ACT again. This time you received 25 in English, 25 in Math, 23 in Reading, and 26 in Science. In other words, your English and Reading scores were higher on the first exam, but your Math and Science scores were higher on the second. A superscore of these two exams would be 27 in English, 25 in Math, 25 in Reading, and 26 in Science.


Superscoring is done at the college level on a college by college basis. The College Board and ACT, Inc. do not produce superscored test results themselves. If you plan to use your superscore, make sure that the colleges you are applying will superscore your ACT or SAT results. Most colleges do superscore, but there are exceptions.


Is [name of ACT/SAT prep book] any good?

Students will regularly ask me for my opinion on an unofficial ACT or SAT prep guide that they have either purchased or heard about. While we don’t provide book reviews at the Learning Island, here are some guidelines for what makes a good prep guide and for what makes a guide that you should be suspicious of.


A good prep guide:

  • Provides multiple strategies, approaches, etc. that you can choose from to find the one that works best for you.
  • Is upfront about its limitations.
  • Encourages you to buy the official guide for the exam you are taking.


Be suspicious of guides that:

  • Provide a one size fits all approach to test prep.
  • Claim to have discovered the definitive secret to preparing for the ACT or SAT.
  • Discourage you from buying the official ACT or SAT prep guide.

Claim that their practice tests can be a replacement for the tests in the official guides and/or those found on the official websites of the ACT and SAT. Only official practice tests can exactly replicate the ACT and SAT test tak

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