Let’s say you’ve done all the prep work for college and something happens that completely derails your plans. Maybe a loved one is ill and you have to take care of them. Maybe you’re recovering from a long-term illness. Maybe you’ve realized you’re just not ready. Or maybe you didn’t get into the school you wanted and you don’t want to deal with the hassle of a transfer.

Life happens. And sometimes things don’t always go according to plan. When situations like this come up, one of the first things my students want to know is how long an ACT score or SAT score is valid. Keep reading if you’re searching for these answers, too.

How Long is an ACT Score Valid?

Let’s say you took the ACT and you want to know how long the score is valid so you can determine if you need to retake it or if you can still use your same score. The good news is, the ACT doesn’t have an official expiration date on their scores. It is worth noting that after five years, the ACT company recommends you re-take the test. Chances are high that you have grown and changed since you initially took the ACT. Fifty-seven percent saw a composite score increase when they retook the ACT so the odds are in your favor that you could see an improvement too.

How Long is a SAT Score Valid?

Because the ACT and SAT are distributed by two different testing companies, the answer for how long is a SAT score valid is different from the answer for the ACT. So, how long is the SAT score valid? Technically forever. Typically restrictions are applied by the college or university you’re interested in applying to. Five years is usually the cap, but it’s not one enforced by the College Board, the company behind the SAT.

In fact, if your score is older than five years, the College Board attaches a note to its official report saying it could be less effective at predicting college success or academic performance. However, it’s very important to keep in mind that the SAT recently underwent a huge renovation and older scores are no longer comparable with the new 1600 scale test. Many universities will not accept an older version of the test, because of how drastic the changes are.

Why You Need a College Consultant More Than Ever

No matter what your situation or why you didn’t go to college right after you graduated from high school, a college consultant is going to be the biggest asset for you during the application process. Why? College consultants are trained to know the application process backwards and forwards. It’s also their job to assess your situation and determine how to handle certain aspects of your history, even how to leverage them to your advantage in the admissions process.

I’ve trained my own staff of college consultants and I’m extremely proud of the work they do. We are a group of passionate individuals who care about your success. Because we know what it takes to get into some of the most competitive schools in the country, we can help you navigate the application process. So if you had to take a gap year for whatever reason, we can help you figure out what colleges are going to be excited for your application and fight for you to be their student.

Why Working With a Tutor is Essential

Depending on how long ago you took the ACT or SAT, you might not have been regularly using the skills necessary to do well on these tests. Brushing up is always a good idea, but to ensure you have a really strong application, it’s a good idea for you to work with a tutor. In fact, students who work with a tutor perform higher in the math and reading or writing portions of standardized tests. Working with a tutor can provide intensive practice in areas you’re struggling with and even boost your confidence when you’re trying to tackle something as monumental as retaking the ACT or SAT.

I’d like to point out that there is nothing wrong with re-taking these tests. These days, I encourage my students to take them up to four times if they’re unhappy with their scores. You can take them up to twelve times if you have to. You don’t have to, but I just wanted to assure you that there is nothing wrong with taking these tests again. Okay? Okay.

In addition to training college consultants, I have dedicated a significant amount of time to cultivating a group of tutors who can help you improve your ACT or SAT scores. That’s because I only invite those who have taken home top scores in their specific standardized test. They’re able to tailor each session to your personal needs and keep you from getting off task. Tutors are honestly good for you and can help give you extra guidance or tips on conquering the trickier parts of the ACT or SAT.

So now we know how long a score is valid, whether you took the ACT or the SAT and we know that five years is a good unofficial cap. Partnering with a college consultant and a tutor will be important steps while you navigate this next chapter in your life. Remember to brush up on your high school skill set and that there is no shame in retaking the ACT or the SAT. Study hard and you’ll be well on your way to getting back an amazing standardized test score you’ll be proud to send off to the college of your dreams.

Have any more questions about standardized tests? Leave them in the comments section below!