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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.
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.