SAT Scores Went Down

Why SAT Scores May Go Down the Second Time Around

SAT scores went down????

It is one of the most frustrating experiences for your student after a second nerve-racking round of test taking, your student’s SAT scores went down.  Surprising to students and parents, SAT scores do not always increase the second time around – even with test prep and investments in resources.

According to the College Board, 45% of student retakes result in a stagnate or dropped score.

We would like to address the possible reasons scores may drop, when to be concerned and next steps to help support students, boost their confidence and begin anew.
Now is the time that rising seniors might be increasingly motivated to put in that extra work in order to optimize their educational choices post-high school and we are here to help.

  • When should lower SAT scores be a concern? A loss of more than 100 points on one section is a reason for concern.
  • If SAT scores drop what does the decrease typically look like?  If a student’s scores drop the average is 15 points in writing, 4 points in reading and math scores tend to stay static or a small decrease of 4 points on average.

What factors might contribute to decreasing SAT scores?

Possibility #1 The higher the initial test score the more likely it is the student’s subsequent score would drop. The first thing to consider is it is possible the student did better than expected the first time and the lower score is a correction – not a popular response to parents who have invested in test prep I am sure but we want to understand all possibilities as documented by the College Board

Possibility #2  It is possible the second take the student had bad luck – for example, the student’s guesses did not break his/her way or the student ran out of time this go around. This can easily happen if the student hit a particularly difficult reading passage and fewer tough math questions. Even small score changes – 4-5 questions can have a large effect on your final composite
Possibility #3 Were there problems at the test center?  Not getting the proper amount of time on a few sections or dealing with noise or an uncomfortable temperature can affect your score
Possibility #4 Personal reasons? Perhaps the student had difficulty sleeping the night before or wasn’t feeling well that day.
Possibility #5  Review study habits.  Attending the classes or tutoring sessions might be one component of a test prep program.  Tutoring sessions are designed to teach the students test taking tools. Students successful in boosting their scores are also expected to study an additional 4 hours per week over the course of the 8-week program.

So what to do next?

First and foremost don’t panic or discourage your student.  Our team of instructors is ready and able to review test results and develop next steps to your student’s path to success.

Additionally, we are happy at no charge to provide a diagnostic test to consider if your student’s test-taking style leans towards the ACT or SAT.  For example, the ACT includes more geometry,  Algebra 2 and slightly less complex reading passages when compared to the SAT.

College Placement Consulting offers comprehensive college planning services.  In helping to identify each student’s next best step in the college process, our goal at CPC is to eliminate stress, de-mystify the process, and internally motivate each student by using state of the art resources and top-notch specialists.  If you are interested in learning more, you can schedule a consultation here or contact us at 410-822-4500 or

Larry Patterson
Dr. P has worked in education since 1966 and has been a tutor and SAT instructor since the business opened. He believes that every student can be successful in ...
Visit Us On FacebookVisit Us On InstagramVisit Us On TwitterVisit Us On Pinterest