How to Survive a Bad SAT Score

Last updated on November 15, 2017

In figure skating, there’s a term that signifies the section where skaters receive their scores after a performance. It’s called the “kiss and cry” area.

For many juniors and seniors in high school, they are experiencing their own version of this off-ice waiting room right now, only in the form of anticipating their SAT scores. Many students put pressure on themselves and these tests, in a make-it-or-break-it manner.

However, remember, when it comes to the SAT, pretty much no one is perfect (only 1 percent of students get a 1600), so don’t stress yourself out if you don’t get an amazing score.

Here are some tips on how to survive a bad SAT score:

1. Relax.

You can retake the test!

And you can superscore your results by taking the best of your first and second tries (think of it as your Greatest Hits compilation of SAT scores).

2. Figure out your strengths and weaknesses.

What did you do right on the test? What did you do wrong? Figure out where you’re most vulnerable and work on that for the next go-around with the SAT.

3. The SAT is just not that into you, nor you into it.

You can always look at test-optional schools. These schools do not use SAT or ACT scores for admitting substantial numbers of students.

4. Amp up your extracurriculars.

If you’re worried that your entire college career hinges on this test, a test you don’t take well, then be a well-rounded student. Participate in activities that will beef up your high school resume. Join student council. Volunteer. Better yet—start your own club. Colleges care about the SAT, but they also care about what you do outside of the test.

5. Start an SAT study group.

You more than likely won’t be the only one disappointed with your scores. Find others in the same boat as you and start a study group to help you do better on the next test.