Don’t Stress About The SAT

Here’s why the SAT shouldn’t be perceived as a make-or-break test


The SAT is a three-hour exam taken by every 11th grader during April

For many, the end of the school year is a mountain of stress. Whether it be AP Exams, finals, or the SAT, it’s guaranteed you’ll be cramming for the big exams, and you may even pull a couple of all-nighters trying to study. The SAT in particular seems perceived as this big, menacing test that will make or break your future. In my case, I was worried that my score would dictate my entire outcome in life. But, that simply isn’t a realistic mindset. Sure, the SAT is important, but it’s just that–a test. With that in mind, here are three reasons you shouldn’t stress about the test.


1. Most Colleges Are Test-Optional

Here’s the deal–most colleges these days don’t even require scores. That includes your high-end universities like Colorado School of Mines or your average state schools like CU and CSU. In my case, I wasn’t very proud of my score, so I opted not to submit my SAT when I applied for college. In the end, it all worked out, and I was accepted. With that being said, you should still check and see if your preferred college requires scores (Click here for a list of test-optional universities). Colleges will care more about your GPA, as it’s an indication of your entire body of work during high school, rather than an exam taken within three hours. Not to mention college essays and letters of recommendation, which can make or break your acceptance status.


2. You Can Retake the SAT

This may not be a practical solution for everyone, but it should be known that the SAT is not a one-and-done test. You can take it as many times as you want, if you so choose. As of now, it costs $55 to take an additional SAT. So, if you really feel the need to increase your score, just know that you’ll have a plethora of opportunities to do so.


3. You Can Still Reach Your Dream School!

Let’s talk worst-case scenario. You don’t like your score, even after retaking it. The colleges you want to go to require the score submissions. So you end up getting rejected from your dream school. It’s not the end of the world! There are dozens of paths to getting where you want to go. You could attend another university and then reapply after a year or two. Or you could go to community college, get a two-year degree, then transfer to your desired school. Whatever it is, there are always multiple paths to college. A bad SAT score doesn’t mean it’s the end of the line for your college hopes.



Overall, there are multiple reasons not to worry about your SAT scores. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t give full effort towards the test, however. A good score can improve how colleges see you, so don’t blow off the exam, just because it may be inconsequential. Be prepared for test day. Bring water, snacks, and even a watch to help manage your time. Just remember though: the exam isn’t a deal-breaker for your future.