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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?

  • UMTYMP studentUMTYMP student Registered User Posts: 949 Member
    This thread touches onto something I've been wondering. Call it the 2400 exceptional hypothesis: the average student who scores a 2400 is significantly more accomplished/intelligent than the average student who scores a 2390. As far as I know the 2400 exceptional hypothesis is an open empirical question. One way of testing it would be to look at college acceptance rates. Assuming colleges don't have a strong preference for a score of 2400 over a score of 2390 we could look at acceptance rate of 2400s - acceptance rate of 2390s. If the number was significantly greater than 0 it would support the hypothesis. I suspect colleges are unlikely to release such data however. Another way of testing this would be to retest a large number of 2400s and 2390s. If the hypothesis holds 2400s would be significantly more likely to get 2400s when retaking the SAT than 2390s. 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.
  • watermeloncholywatermeloncholy Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    I highly doubt that hypothesis is true...
    2390's could probably be 2400's if they took the test another time (or another couple of times).
  • 47621786408946474762178640894647 Registered User Posts: 4 New Member
    What about 2400 legacies?
  • UMTYMP studentUMTYMP student Registered User Posts: 949 Member
    That wouldn't necessarily disprove the hypothesis. I agree that there is a decent chance a 2390 would get a 2400 if they retook the SAT. And certainly some 2400s would score in the (probably high) 2300s if they retook the test. But what the hypothesis is about is whether there are a non-trivial number of 2400s who are virtually certain (or even just very likely) to get another 2400 if they retook it. Here is an example that may clarify things. Say a 2390 retook the SAT five times. Because of regression to the mean we might expect to see the 2390 get scores something like 2330, 2350, 2370, 2390, and 2400 on the five retakes. A non-exceptional 2400 who retook the test five times might scores like 2350, 2360, 2370, 2390, and 2400. An exceptional 2400 if such people exist would get scores more like 2380, 2400, 2400, 2400, 2400. If such exceptional 2400s existed in non-trivial numbers they would likely be far more accomplished on average than other 2390s or 2400s and then this would imply that the average 2400 is significantly more accomplished than the average 2390.
  • aegaisaegais Registered User Posts: 41 Junior Member
    @watermeloncholy: My 2400 is not the only one I know of. At my school, there is one more 2400, and I know at least 5 other ones. Almost all, if not all of them, have impressive achievements in other parts of their application. I am not saying that 2400s are necessarily more smart, but that people who get 2400s usually excel at other things as well. After all, if they were driven enough to get a 2400, they probably have the drive and motivation to pursue other subjects/areas as well.

    @UMTYMP student: Leave it to you to create a math problem out of this :P. Do math.

    As for people who can repeatedly get 2400s, I and another person did not miss a single question on the SAT, and could easily repeat the feat. I am sure that other people exist who can consistently score 2400s. In the end, SATs are merely repetitions and variations of the same set of problems.
  • mathmommathmom Registered User Posts: 31,782 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. :)
  • JimboSteveJimboSteve Registered User Posts: 834 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.
  • JimboSteveJimboSteve Registered User Posts: 834 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
  • adcombadcomb - Posts: 194 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.
  • UMTYMP studentUMTYMP student Registered User Posts: 949 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.
  • watermeloncholywatermeloncholy Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    Why would you take the SAT multiple times after you got a 2400?
  • UMTYMP studentUMTYMP student Registered User Posts: 949 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.
  • siserunesiserune Registered User Posts: 1,625 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.
  • siserunesiserune Registered User Posts: 1,625 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).
  • SubsidizeSubsidize Registered User Posts: 206 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.
This discussion has been closed.