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Is it true that there is a 40-50% acceptance rate for 2400ers?

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Replies to: Is it true that there is a 40-50% acceptance rate for 2400ers?

  • mathmommathmom 32521 replies159 threads Senior Member
    I do know someone who got a 1600 in his first sitting (before writing was part of the test) whose tested IQ was 125. He was seriously disorganized and tended to blow off courses he didn't like. Needless to say, his 1600 only made him look like a slacker. :)
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  • JimboSteveJimboSteve 822 replies12 threads Member
    The qualities that allow a student to get a 2400 on the SAT aren't necessarily ones that will contribute that much to overall college apps - sure, it means they're "smart," but there are plenty of brilliant kids without 2400's.

    You misunderstand me; sorry I wasn't clear. Brilliant people do not usually have the desire to sit around with an SAT book and study enough to not get a single mistake, nor are they necessarily detail-oriented. That's an obsessive behavior that would correlate quite well with compulsive studying and a desire to "get everything right" in order to get into, say, Harvard. Intelligence matters little in admission. Obsession with academic success is the predominant criterion.
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  • JimboSteveJimboSteve 822 replies12 threads Member
    the average student who scores a 2400 is significantly more accomplished/intelligent than the average student who scores a 2390.

    Bull. The average student who scores 2400 is significantly more likely to be accomplished, yes, but that isn't because he's necessarily more intelligent. It means he's more willing to sacrifice copious amounts of time to SAT practice, something that not all intelligent people are willing to do. I spent the night before my test with my friends, eating out at a restaurant, going on a hike, and watching a bad movie.

    Perhaps this was not good for college applications, but I made that type of decision in many instances. Dedicate more time to an extra extracurricular, or hang out with friends? Varsity sports, or more time to hang out with friends? It is only by luck that I managed to find enough non-time-intensive, interesting extracurriculars to secure an admission here. I know some people who made different choices, and they too were successful, and there is nothing wrong with their choices. But to suggest that their dedication to perfection and resum
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  • adcombadcomb 118 replies76 threads- Junior Member
    * A person who worked at the Ivy league admissions office, once said that once an applicant passes certain score (ex. 2200 or 2250), the admission officers look for other things.
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  • UMTYMP studentUMTYMP student 935 replies14 threads Member
    @4762178640894647 According to Parchment a 2400 legacy with a 4.0 has a 71% chance compared with 32% for a non-legacy. Granted that is probably based on a relatively small number of students so you should assume there could be a decent amount of noise in the data.

    @aegais if I'm going to waste time on CC, I'm going to at least do some math/social science while I'm here.

    @JimboSteve I take it you deny the existence of people who can easily get 2400s without studying much or at all. If the hypothesis is false then the difference between 2400s and 2390s would be just a small amount of preparation and luck as you said. But if the hypothesis holds then among the group of 2400 scorers there would be some who could have gotten a 2390 or so on a bad day. There would also be another group of 2400s who can easily routinely get 2400s.
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  • watermeloncholywatermeloncholy 14 replies1 threads New Member
    Why would you take the SAT multiple times after you got a 2400?
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  • UMTYMP studentUMTYMP student 935 replies14 threads Member
    I don't think people actually do. This is hypothetically as a way to test the 2400 exceptional hypothesis so the retakes would be for research purposes not college admissions. In practice this is unlikely to happen so the retakes are purely hypothetical.
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  • siserunesiserune 1608 replies17 threads Senior Member
    A somewhat indirect way and theoretically inferior although certainly much more practicable way of testing the hypothesis would be to survey America's more accomplished high school students possibly over several years to get a decent sample size (RSI, Intel, IMO, maybe some others) and determine the ratio of 2400s to 2390s among this group. If the ratio was significantly greater than the overall ratio (about 1.9 for the class of 2011) it would lend support to the hypothesis.

    For the math SAT this was done in the Ellison & Swanson study of the gender achievement gap in US math competitions. They obtained math SAT scores for a set of students who had scores above some cutoff on the qualifying rounds of the US national math olympiad (e.g., USAMO qualifier, AMC over 120, or something like that). The rate of 800s on the SAT was surprisingly low. They describe it as 800 being "a random event" due to the scoring scale. On the modern SAT with its much lower ceiling and the added writing section, maximum scores require more perfectionism and (much) less ability compared to the pre-1994 test.
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  • siserunesiserune 1608 replies17 threads Senior Member
    From the Ellison/Swanson paper:
    Getting an 800 on the SAT is a random event – one needs to make zero mistakes in the course of answering 54 questions at a rate of 78 seconds per question. Indeed, the College Board reports that only 15% of students who retook the math SAT after scoring 800 scored 800 on the retake. The average retake score was 752 (which is only 11 points higher than the average retake score of students who scored 760 on their previous attempt).
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  • SubsidizeSubsidize 193 replies13 threads Junior Member
    Is the paper you mentioned current? If someone were retaking the SAT after having received an 800 math, it would be to boost their superscore, and there wouldn't be much motivation to go for another 800 on the math section.

    It's hard to believe that most USAMO qualifiers don't get 800s on the math section. Sure, the AIME stuff is much different from SAT math, but to get a good index you need to be very fast and accurate with the early AMC problems, which are similar to hard SAT questions. Certainly an 800 on the math section is not a random event--anyone who has been working hard math problems for a long time has a decent shot, and among those who eat math competition problems for breakfast it seems almost guaranteed.
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  • siserunesiserune 1608 replies17 threads Senior Member
    The paper is from 2009, with data from a recent year correlating AMC and first (no retake) SAT math scores in a sample of MIT applicants. For students with AMC score in the 120s and 130s the rates of 800 math SAT were 65 percent and 60 percent respectively (42 students total). Only for the very small set of students (five of them) with 140+ on the AMC was there 100 percent attainment of 800 on the math SAT. There are winners of the national competition who did not get 800 on the math SAT and I saw in the recent results thread someone with 10 on the AIME who got 780.

    That's for one section of the current SAT. Over three sections one would have to be perfectionist or specifically SAT trained to reliably get 2400.
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  • quickster94quickster94 200 replies0 threads Junior Member
    ^ It is important to remember that you don't have to get all the questions correct on the other two questions to get an 800. I got four questions wrong and a 10 essay for a 2400.
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  • UMTYMP studentUMTYMP student 935 replies14 threads Member
    @siserune Thank you for sharing that paper. I was very surprised that only 15% of people with an SAT math score of 800 who retook got an 800. This prompted me to look at my SAT score reports online and I saw similar statistics (it was 16% instead of 15%) but there is one caveat not reported in the article. The statistic seems to only be for students who took the test the first time as juniors who then retook it as seniors. Although this is damaging for the hypothesis the statistic would probably not include exceptional 2400s if they exist so I wouldn't say that conclusively falsifies the hypothesis. Similarly, although the sample size was very small, the evidence regarding high scores on the AMC 12 and SAT 800 was also damaging to the hypothesis.

    I'm curious to what extent this is unique to math as the possibility for dumb mistakes is surely greater on math tests and the curve is harsher near the top. If people who got 800s on critical reading or writing go look at their SAT score report and go under your score details they should be able to find what percentage of students with an 800 on reading or writing when they first took the SAT as juniors got another 800 when they retook as seniors.
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  • siserunesiserune 1608 replies17 threads Senior Member
    I think that much of this is peculiar to the new SAT and the psychology of test takers (at the high end). The test has become easier, duller, longer and manipulable through mind-numbing machinations such as calculator programming and retakes. Sheer jaded boredom makes it more difficult for highly intelligent individuals to focus on the trivia carefully enough to avoid errors and grab the last few points. If everyone were striving hard for an 800, those competition winners would be getting perfect scores at rates more like 90+ percent. But the incentive isn't there when they can demonstrate high math ability by more straightforward means. It is likely that many people who could get 800 are lazy or overconfident about accuracy of the answers, or finish quickly and rest before the next section, or take the test "cold" and are more prone to misinterpret a question or two compared to people who took multiple practice exams.

    In general I think a disproportionate number of the super-high SAT scores on today's exam (and to a lesser but significant extent on the older tests) are coming from perfectionist categories such as high school valedictorian, college admission obsessives, masters of test prep, immigrant cram school attendees, and doctor/lawyer wanna-bes. The grade and test equivalent of compulsive hoarding is rational to the extent that some scholarships and admissions are directly based on it, and there is less of the low hanging fruit to grabbed at university level and beyond.
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  • watermeloncholywatermeloncholy 14 replies1 threads New Member
    There are MOP students who don't get 800's on math. :P
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  • JimboSteveJimboSteve 822 replies12 threads Member
    I take it you deny the existence of people who can easily get 2400s without studying much or at all. If the hypothesis is false then the difference between 2400s and 2390s would be just a small amount of preparation and luck as you said.

    I would love to find some. That would require a very bizarre set of skills. Every question on the SAT is essentially simple, and with adequate time, few in the unstudied 2200+ range would have any difficulty getting all of them correct.

    However, to get all the math questions right with time constraints, most people must practice, so as to learn how frequently to check mental arithmetic, how to solve certain types of problems without having to think at all, how to spend the least time gridding in the questions, etc. To get all the critical reading questions right (here, I assume a sufficient knowledge of vocabulary, because that's not at all unreasonable), one must understand what is expected: not subtle answers, but the most plain and obvious ones available. (Don't forget, also, that many very intelligent people prefer reading slowly.) To get the writing questions right, individuals have to learn how to deal with the ridiculous, disgusting prose in the collegeboard's correct answers, and they must learn to ignore style completely, as the test-writers don't care about it. To get a good score on the essay, one must learn to write quickly enough to finish it, how formulaic the essays are expected to be, etc.

    The SAT is not a test of intuition and intelligence per se, but a test of how well you can learn to jump through hoops, and how much time you're willing to devote to doing so.
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  • JimboSteveJimboSteve 822 replies12 threads Member
    n general I think a disproportionate number of the super-high SAT scores on today's exam (and to a lesser but significant extent on the older tests) are coming from perfectionist categories such as high school valedictorian, college admission obsessives, masters of test prep, immigrant cram school attendees, and doctor/lawyer wanna-bes. The grade and test equivalent of compulsive hoarding is rational to the extent that some scholarships and admissions are directly based on it, and there is less of the low hanging fruit to grabbed at university level and beyond.

    Exactly correct.
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  • required3required3 45 replies5 threads Junior Member
    My D was rejected from all HPYMS with:
    1) SAT 2400 first sit. SAT II, MATH 800, Literature 800, Chinese 800, Physics 770. GPA weighted 4.51 (all As with one A-, always took hardest classes).
    2) President award for community service with continously working in a clinic more than 2 hours a week as a group leader.
    3) 4 years high school volleyball team player (refreshman, JV, Varsity, Varsity)
    4) 3 years student council
    5) Piano and Viola players, played twice in Carnegie hall for difference awards.
    6) State silver medol of NJ sicience olympic,
    7) NJ Governo school attendee.
    8) national merit semifinalist, finalist (PSAT 233)

    Rejection by any of HPYMS would be expected, but rejection from all of them was real big surprise to anyone knew her, from the school principal, teachers, students, friends and family members of cause.

    There were couple of her friends accepted by one of multiple HPYMS, none of them can be compared with from any perpectives. I believe, the "Chinese American" played most important role here, maybe also she shouldn't get 2400s as one of her friends suggested. But my daughter said how could I control to get 2390 or 2380?
    Lukily or unlukily she was happily accepted by Williams college. Anyway we are proud of her.
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  • goldenboy8784goldenboy8784 1663 replies35 threads Senior Member
    Was Williams the only school she got accepted to?
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  • required3required3 45 replies5 threads Junior Member
    that's all she applied
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