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Can you take the SAT after high school?

Once you graduate from high school, you won’t have to think about taking the SAT again, right? 

Not exactly.

The SAT is open to individuals who have already completed high school in addition to those who are currently enrolled in high school.

Reasons why adults take the SAT 

While the SAT is a test many students only take during their junior and senior years of high school, there are plenty of reasons why a high school graduate would want to take this test:

Applying for college

If you are applying for colleges after taking a gap year (or a few), you will likely need to take the SAT. 

Adults who never took the SAT because they weren’t originally planning on attending college will need to earn a good SAT score in order to get accepted into many colleges and universities. 

Even adults who took the SAT in high school may need to retake the SAT in order to improve their score or make sure they are meeting application requirements. Many colleges and universities require applicants to share scores that were earned within the past five years. If you took the SAT more than five years ago, you will want to retake the test.

Earning scholarship money

Many scholarship committees have stringent requirements, like specific SAT scores, for students to meet in order to earn or retain their scholarship money. This means that students that do not meet the SAT portion of these requirements will need to retake the SAT. 

For instance, if you are applying for a scholarship during college that requires you to have a minimum SAT score of 1350, you will want to take the SAT if your high school score was beneath this threshold.

Transferring schools

When you apply to a 4-year institution from a community college or from a different institution, admission is not guaranteed. You will want your application to meet any and all requirements, and you will also want to show admissions boards that you will be a good fit for their school.

If you are applying to transfer to a school that requires updated SAT scores, you will need to take the SAT. 

You may also want to retake the SAT if your score isn’t within the 75th percentile for students who attend the school. This will make your application more attractive and boost your chances of admission.

Taking the SAT as an adult

For the most part, taking the SAT as an adult is the same as taking the SAT as a high school student. You will take your test on a Saturday morning in a room with a proctor and several other high school students, and you will have to sign up for the test on the College Board website.

However, there are a few key differences:

  • You cannot use a student ID to get into the test. You will need to bring a government-issued ID like a driver’s license.
  • The waitlist process is different for adults. If you are over 21, you cannot be placed on a waitlist for a specific test administration.
  • You will not be able to receive the same fee waivers as high school students

Aside from these differences, the process for taking the SAT is the same for adults as it is for high school students.

What to expect when you take the SAT after high school

When you take the SAT as an adult, there are a few factors that you will want to consider:

Test changes

The SAT may not be exactly how you remember it to be. Depending on when you last took the test, it may look a lot different now. When you took the SAT in high school, was it out of 2400? Did you have analogy questions or have to memorize a list of 1000 SAT words? Were you penalized for wrong answers? 

If so, times have changed, and so has the test. Now the SAT is out of 1600, there is no essay section, vocabulary questions have been replaced with vocabulary in context questions, guessing incorrectly won’t cause you to lose any points, and analogy questions are long gone. Don’t head into the test thinking it will be exactly the same as it was when you were in high school.

Test difficulty

You should also expect the SAT to be more challenging than it was in high school. 

Remember the game show Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader? The reason why so many people lost on that show was not that they weren’t as intelligent as the fifth graders they were competing against. It is because the questions on the show covered material that many fifth graders would have typically learned recently and used frequently that adults had largely forgotten in the many years since they were in elementary school.

While a fifth grader may hear their teacher talk and remind them about photosynthesis on a regular basis while being surrounded by photos of the process in their school classrooms, an adult who does not work in a biology-related field may not have reviewed the steps in this process for decades. As a result, it may be more difficult for them to recall this process than it would be for a fifth-grade student to do so.

The same is true for the SAT. While it might seem like the test should be easy because it only covers high school concepts, you need to consider the fact that you may not have spent time thinking about these topics in a while. When you haven’t taken math classes in a few years, the algebra questions on the SAT might take you longer to answer than you might think. 

If you haven’t brushed up on grammar and math skills for a couple of years, you should study before you take the SAT as an adult.

Test preparation

Once you’ve determined the format of the test and the skills that you need to review before you take the SAT, you can put together a study plan.

Just like you would do in high school, it is important for you to dedicate several hours to studying for the SAT to earn a good score.

While you can certainly study on your own, the best way to prepare for the SAT is to work with experts. Hiring a private SAT tutor or taking an SAT prep course will give you the tips, tricks, and strategies you will need to do well when you take the SAT.

Whether you’re a current high school student or you’ve already graduated from high school, Prep Expert can help you prepare for the SAT. Our private tutoring sessions and SAT prep courses are taught by experienced instructors who scored in the 99th percentile on the SAT and will help you earn an impressive score.

Learn more about how Prep Expert can help you take the SAT as an adult when you visit our website.

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