Submitted by Mark Greenstein and the Ivy Bound Test Prep / Rising Stars Team
Though the SAT administrators did the best thing possible with the mis-directions in some of its June test booklets, many students are anxious. “My score will be tainted,” is a reasonable suspicion.
Admissions committees have the right to devalue scores. To our knowledge none has done a devaluation since the late 1980s when law schools perceived that high-end LSAT scores were “too common” to be counted as they previously were. No college has announced a devaluation for upcoming June scores, and we don’t expect any to. The scorers are taking 72% of the Critical Reading questions and dismissing 28%. They are taking 70% of the Math questions and dismissing 30%. 100% of the Grammar (part of the SAT’s “writing” section) is being taken.
Nevertheless, students who fear a good score report will not stand out well have an easy prescription:
Take the SAT again in October.
No college cares how many times you take the SAT. Your skills will almost certainly not fade over the summer. Your vocabulary (not a skill, but knowledge) can hold its own with 60 – 90 minutes’ a week of review over the next few months.
The best thing about an October test is…you could build your skills still higher! Our students who are not satisfied with their spring SAT scores use part of the summer to build their skills to CRUSH the next test.
Thus, here is our prescription….
For students with a June score that’s better than their practice test scores and would be a “keeper” if colleges don’t denigrate the June results: Study fairly hard and test again.
For students with a June score that’s significantly worse than their practice test scores but would be a “keeper” if colleges don’t denigrate the June results: Test again but potentially you need not study hard. Just stay on your vocabulary absorption, and have two or three ramp-up sessions with your tutor in the fortnight before the test.
For students who have a June score worse than their prior actual scores….unless your desired colleges have changed to “less competitive,” you MUST test again. This is a no-brainer.* (*There is a “some-brainer” if you need to do SAT Subject Tests and the SAT again this fall. Ivy Bound’s Test Prep Advisors can help you sort that out.)
As always, students who studied hard and following two SATs that are both well below their desired score, should consider the ACT. Practice Test using The Real ACT Prep Guide and view the correlation-to-SAT tables. If your ACT practice test score is at or above your best SAT practice test score, taking the ACT may be wise. But don’t abandon the SAT unless you have crushed the ACT.