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Physics SAT 760 - Take again?


Replies to: Physics SAT 760 - Take again?

  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 8,238 Senior Member
    There is this idea that applicants somehow have a better chance with an 800 than a 760 (your example) and it just isn't true.Your daughter has more than met any benchmark for any school, and after that it is about other things. Spending time on raising the score is silly, but some people do it- maybe because they want to be able to say they got perfect scores. But for admissions, it really, at this point, with a 760 already, is better to spend time on extracurriculars.

  • wis75wis75 Registered User Posts: 12,383 Senior Member
    edited July 16
    Life is for living, not just preparing for a future. In the not too distant future her HS test scores will be ancient history. Hopefully she will have a lot more going on than past glories of uber test scores. A lesson she needs to learn is to get on with her life.

    Just saw a You tube video H sent me- it was a 2014 lecture/talk given by then 95 year old physics Nobel Laureate Leon Lederman (heard him speak at an awards ceremony for a Midwest Talent Search years ago). In it he mentioned failing his qualifying exams twice- finally passed (barely). He obviously went on to great things. Your D needs to learn that life is full of failures/falling short of perfection. Move on. btw- Lederman said he mentioned to his wife while at the awards ceremony a line about did she ever in her wildest imagination dream they would be in Sweden for this. He said her reply was that he wasn't in her wildest dreams!
  • colorado_momcolorado_mom Registered User Posts: 8,380 Senior Member
    "she feels bad about the score though!" - Oh dear. It's a fine score. Perhaps the more important question today is whether she is getting to wrapped up with super competitive academic environment / peers. Do what you can to encourage her talents and keep her from getting stressed too soon about stats and college admission.
  • MassmommMassmomm Registered User Posts: 2,811 Senior Member
    She did the exact right thing, taking the exam as soon as she finished the course. Her score is fine! Tell her to move on to the next subject!
  • thumper1thumper1 Registered User Posts: 63,510 Senior Member
    @theloniusmonk please explain this
    If she's taking another subject test down the road, it may not be a bad idea to retake because stem applicants will have 800s on math 2 and a science, typically.

    Her 760 is an excellent score.

    In addition, there are TONS...and I mean TONS of STEM majors who never take a SAT subject test...at...all....because the vast majority of colleges do not require them...at all.

    There are thousands upon thousands of successful STEM applicants who do not have 800 on all of the STEM related SAT 2 tests....or who never had to take them at all.
  • theloniusmonktheloniusmonk Registered User Posts: 858 Member
    Let me clarify the typical applicant at the top stem schools - Stanford, MIT, CMU, MIT, Cal Tech, Berkeley (for sure out of state), Michigan (OOS) will have them.
  • nogddgnogddg Registered User Posts: 22 New Member
    The only reason to retake is if she picks a school and they will give credit for a certain score. But even those schools that I am aware of for that (Ga Tech) don't give credit for physics Sat 2. They do give credit for Chemistry with a 720. So obviously, they feel above 720, she mastered the material. So she should feel great about that score!
  • warbrainwarbrain Registered User Posts: 661 Member
    The statistical difference between a 760 and an 800 is akin to a pimple on an elephant's butt.

    Collegeboard even states on their website, you can't differentiate between scores that are more than 60 points apart. And of course, they should be the ones who believe in the accuracy of these tests the most. If your daughter wants to shine in physics, there are much more meaningful ways to do that (for example, taking advanced physics classes, doing phsyics research, or participating in contests like USAPhO.)
  • glidoglido Registered User Posts: 5,713 Senior Member
    @compmom is correct. There are other areas of the OP's future college application toward which she should be applying herself. Scoring a 760 as a freshman on one standardized test and then investing time preparing for a retake perhaps manifests a failure to adequately weigh the most productive uses of time. Time is finite, there are other courses, volunteer activities, a life to live and essays which describe aspects of that life. Best of luck.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 8,238 Senior Member
    edited July 17
    The real question here is why she feels badly about a 760. Is she in a destructive environment? Does she have a peer who got an 800? That peer does not have a better chance at getting in anywhere, based on scores alone.

    She is still young and in early high school. I think that there is time to help her develop healthier attitudes and focus, some of which others have described well.
  • sbjdorlosbjdorlo Registered User Posts: 4,791 Senior Member
    OP, I'll be the contrarian here, and say that if she wants to retake it at a later date, assuming she'll be taking more physics classes, and without too much hassle or studying, I don't see why she shouldn't. Furthermore, she'll want to check the policy of colleges to which she's applying as policy changes from year to year, to insure that colleges will accept a score that's older than two years. "What?" you ask, "Is it possible they wouldn't?"

    Here's our story:

    My eldest DS took two subject tests in 8th grade, the Math II (scored a 760) and the Physics (scored an 800). We saved both scores, but he retook the Math II in 10th or 11th without studying (since he had completed Calc III by end of freshman year) and easily got an 800 (the retake made sense only because it was easily done, he enjoyed testing, and he was planning on being a math major).

    He was happily applying to college with his 8th grade Physics subject test, and every school was happy to take it *except* Caltech. They said they wanted more recent scores (2 years or less). He had to retake the Physics subject test in January of senior year. Of course he got another 800 since he'd taken *eight* college physics courses by then, but that was their policy. My understanding is that they have since changed it (this was in the 2011-2012 application cycle).

    So-as time draws closer to college applications (junior year), check policy of colleges on the list to make sure they're ok with a freshman year score. Just in case...
  • skieuropeskieurope Super Moderator Posts: 27,168 Super Moderator
    f she wants to retake it at a later date, assuming she'll be taking more physics classes, and without too much hassle or studying, I don't see why she shouldn't.
    For starters, based on her reaction to the 760, I'd not want to be around if she gets a 740 the next time around. :)
    check policy of colleges on the list to make sure they're ok with a freshman year score. Just in case..
    That's always good advice regardless of the situation. While most things in academia proceed at glacial speed, testing requirements at some colleges seem to evolve on an annual basis. I will say that when I went through the process in 2015, no college had an issue with my Subject Tests being 3-4 years old
  • Sush2016Sush2016 Registered User Posts: 28 New Member
    edited July 17
    My question has generated lot of good discussion! Thank you all for sharing various points of views....!

    About retaking the test, my question was about retaking it now in August...Based on her summer schedule including summer camps travel and vacation time...she will have just about 10 days before test date in which she could potentially take some practice tests at home....Thats the kind of "preparation" I was referring to. Not sure how much impact it may make....I think her score report said that typically without any extra preparation, if she were to take the test again she would score any where between 730-790. Of course we believe the score will be higher because she knows she made silly mistakes in at least 3-4 questions last time...and the idea was by practicing taking the test ...one could reduce the probability of silly mistakes. Of course that is not guaranteed. So this would only make sense if test taking practice itself is an important factor to make any impact on the scores.

    When the school session starts she will be very busy and there is no question of investing any more time in "preparation" of this Physics test. She is trying to decide if she wants to go into finance as a major or do premed in college ....I don't see any particular inclination to do Engineering or pure science as a major ...even though she is really good in math and pHysics. She may take AP Physics in her Junior year ....but I gather Junior year is extremely busy with many things...so don't want to suggest leaving one more thing for then.
  • compmomcompmom Registered User Posts: 8,238 Senior Member
    edited July 18
    Well it won't harm her to retake, if it is during the summer. I mean she can just go ahead. But she should adjust her attitudes about a 760.

    Why is she thinking so much about college, a major and a career at such a young age? I mean, why is she thinking about finance and premed at, what, 15? I would strongly encourage you to discourage these discussions and encourage her try to enjoy high school and the present. She can work hard, is clearly very intelligent, and can make some of those decisions in a few years.

    Also, a person can major in anything at all and go to med school or go into finance. I know English majors who went into finance or consulting. For premed, you can major in English or music or art or whatever you want, and just cover prerequ's during undergrad or in a post-back program.

    I hope she can relax a bit!! And use that brain power for something else besides seeking perfect scores and figuring out her life path already!
  • sylvan8798sylvan8798 Registered User Posts: 5,957 Senior Member
    This is one of those threads...facepalm...

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