When Adults Take the SAT

By Mark Greenstein, Lead instructor, Ivy Bound Test Prep

SAT (and ACT) for Adults
The SAT is not just for teenagers.  Adults who are not satisfied with the score they earned as a 16 year old have every chance to take the SAT again.  Many do so to burnish their record for graduate school.  Some will do so to boost a transfer application in college.

Perhaps the most motivating reason for adults to take the SAT is for career opportunities.

Some of the most prestigious financial firms, consulting firms, law firms, and laboratories take SAT scores into account.  Some consulting firms recruit based on a candidate’s SAT scores, even when they are applying 10 years after high school.

For adults aspiring to careers where even a single industry firm cares about scores, taking the SAT is a low-cost career booster.  A better score gives you workplace clout; it can only help with career offers and salary increases.  The firms that hire by taking SAT scores into account WANT TO TOUT a high average.  The the higher the score an applicant can present, the more hiring her/him helps that average.

Adults who want to assure themselves of the highest SAT scores possible can take advantage of a condensed prep course.  Ivy Bound offers an online SAT “Boot Camp” class that’s suitable to an adult’s schedule.  No fluff — just the strategies and practice problems that can propel a significantly higher score.

Many adults tell us they are scared about the math.  They have done little to no math since college.  Three things should assuage their fears:

1) The math is largely a test of skills, not knowledge; good prep quickly re-kindles dormant skills.

2) Even if the math score falls, super-scoring allows an evaluator to COMBINE THE BEST math score with the best reading and writing scores.  So that 750 math earned as a 16 year old, can be combined with high reading and writing scores earned at age 25.

3) The reading, the essay, and the grammar sections of the SAT are easier to nail.  You’ve been using THOSE skills ever since high school!

The ACT is an alternate test that many employers appreciate just as highly.  It takes slightly more hours to study for, but for those whose vocabulary is not strong, the ACT may offer a higher upside.  The ACT is also a highly coach-able test.

Ivy Bound offers SAT and ACT classes online.  If a class schedule is not suitable, Ivy Bound offers private tutoring, at your home, at your convenience.  The investment in a better SAT score can be a big step to a lifetime of higher earnings.

The 2000+ SAT Score: One Last Chance For Adults.
Newsflash for adults who took the SAT prior to 2005: the 2400 scale is vanishing in January.  The 11-year experiment of SAT scores that use THREE 200 – 800 sections (2400 maximum) will end with the January 2016 SAT.

If you took the SAT prior to 2005 you were limited to 1600 points.   Back then 1520 was impressive; now it appears “below average.”  If you took the SAT back then and wondered “what could I do on the new 2400 scale?” you have four chances to have that question answered: in October, November, December, and January.

Yes, adults can take the SAT.  It’s offered at your nearby high school, and you can still fit into the students’ chairs.  No college is looking, and there’s no pressure (your diploma will not be rescinded).

For adults who take the SAT, future employers MAY be looking.

Whether for career opportunities, pride, or just curiosity, the SAT is easy to access.  Www.collegeboard.com is the registration area.  It takes $57 and 20 – 30 minutes to fill out a new registration (you do NOT have to fill in all the fields they ask about school and career).  Taking the SAT then means sitting in on a Saturday morning with a bevy of teenagers.  But don’t be surprised if other adults are in the room.

After the January test, the SAT will be harder to prep for.  The Revised SAT will require higher math skills and more intricate reasoning.  And the 2400 maximum will revert to 1600.

Ivy Bound offers an online “SAT Essentials” class on Saturday mornings that helps prepare testers for the November 7 and December 5 tests.  Ivy Bound also offers “SAT Boot Camp” classes before and after Christmas to help prepare for the January 23 test.

For Adults Who Took The SAT Prior to 1995:
Those who took the SAT prior to 1995 faced a 1600 maximum instead of the current 2400.  They also faced a harder test.  The SAT was “recentered” in 1995.  Recentering instantly pushed pre-1995 testers to scores that became on average 90 – 120 points higher.   But these adjustments were never reported.

The 1995 change meant an impressive score appeared diminished.   A 1220 in 1993 would become a 1320 in 1995.  And when the SAT again changed scales in 2005, to a 2400 maximum, the 1220 appeared appallingly low (a 1220 currently puts a student in the lowest 10% of students bound for 4-year colleges).

There is a small group who will be highly disadvantaged when the SAT reverts to a 1600 scale: those adults age 40 and over who would like to be compared on the 2400 scale.  Some of these adults are looking at career tracks where the employer is looking for high scorers.

Others are in careers, education for example, where a high score is an enhancement to prestige, and possibly earnings.

Still others have children they’d like to see motivated to excel on their very-meaningful upcoming SAT.   They don’t want the parent-teenage comparison of 1220 when their smug teen says “I can already trounce your score.”

Parents in their 40s and 50s used to have the excuse that, “Well, the SAT wasn’t that important back then.”  But few teens buy it.  “You want me to prep, but you didn’t prep back in the 1980s.”  And in case there is a career move that will require a burnished SAT score, the evaluators will not brook hearing, “I didn’t try hard back in the day,” when other candidates possess established high scores.

The SAT will offer the 2400 scale (and with it, an easier-to-prep-for mode) from now through January.  Ivy Bound urges adults to prep for the NOVEMBER test so that if they are not in top form on Test Day, they still have December and January as back-up dates.   Ivy Bound offers Saturday morning online classes leading up to the November SAT, and private tutoring can be arrange to target any of the upcoming dates: October 3, November 7, December 5 and January 23.

For adults who took the SAT before 1995, it might make sense to establish yourself on a fair basis whenever your score is being compared.  If studying for the SAT WITH your teenagers makes sense, take (or make) a “family SAT class.”

Ivy Bound is one local firm that offers family classes – tutors come to your home, at your convenience, when you are all together.  (Yes, Ivy Bound recognizes that getting a parent and two teens together for more than 30 minutes is a high challenge.)

See also:

Early “Career” Assessments: The bad, the good, and the beautiful.

Unfair Advantage? Where IEPs Abound, More Students Get Extra Time for SAT

SAT Prep is Not “Gaming the System”

Tainted Success (?) What happens with my June SAT Score?




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