No matter how hard you study, how many extra pencils you pack or how punctual you are, standardized exams often have a way of causing even the best test-takers to be dissatisfied with their scores. Not loving yours? If you feel like the number you received doesn't accurately reflect your abilities, there are a few things you can do.
1. Retake it. The most obvious next step for a lot of people is to retake the SAT, and then only submit your higher score using Score Choice. This time around, though, focus your study efforts on the sections of the exam that slowed you down the most. As Peterson's notes, just one or two more correct answers can up a section's score by at least 50 points. Just keep in mind that The College Board doesn't recommend taking the SAT more than twice, since there's no evidence that taking the test multiple times will significantly increase your score.
2. Be okay with it. If you're ever given the opportunity to explain your less-than-perfect test score, say in an essay or interview, and can reasonably do so, you might want to consider keeping it as is. And give yourself a break. You're most certainly not the only one who wishes they did better, and many colleges today realize that the rest of your application—and who you are as a person—is more important than your test score.
3. Apply to test-optional schools. Continuing on that last note, a lot of colleges are actually adopting test-optional policies. That often means that applicants aren't even required to send their scores in with their applications, so there's no need to stress out about the number. (Did you know Siena is test-optional? Find out what that means to us.) Like others, we don't believe that standardized test scores can really dictate or predict your success in college, and if you agree, you may very well be interested in what else we have to offer.
Whatever you decide to do, re-read what we say in #2: give yourself a break! As long as you can honestly say you did your best, that's ultimately the most important thing. Practice as much as you can, remember your calculator and know that you're more than just a test score.
And that said, we hope you'll apply to Siena right now—regardless of your current score. You'll hear back from us right away with an admissions decision.