After you take the SAT or ACT, you wait for agonizing days until the scores come back… and then what? It’s hard to decide whether or not to take the SAT over again, and that’s not even considering the opportunity cost of giving up your Saturday morning of cereal and cartoons.

So, do you need to retake the SAT? In order to decide, you need to do this for every college you’re considering applying to:

  1. Search for your college on CollegeBoard’s website. The search engine is labeled College Search.
  2. Click Admissions link.
  3. Scroll down to SAT Total Range.
  4. Evaluate yourself based on where you are compared to the mid-range.

For example, Loyola Marymount shows:

SAT Total Range of 1230 – 1410.

> If your SAT score is 1320 or higher, you’re a good candidate.
> If your SAT score is above 1410, you’re a strong candidate–and you’re on track to receive an academic scholarship from the college.
> If your SAT score is below 1230, consider taking the SAT or ACT again. Keep in mind that 25 percent of admits score below this number, so don’t become too discouraged.

You can do the same exercise for ACT scores.