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1550 SAT: What’s Next?

scottt23scottt23 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
Hello everybody! I just took the SAT for the first time this past December with the essay, and received a 1550 (CR: 760, M: 790, Essay: 6/8/6) after a few months of preparation.

I was just wondering if I should consider preparing more and retaking the SAT/ taking the ACT from this point forward. I feel like if I’d studied harder, I may have received a higher score on my SAT. Also, I’m considering applying for some highly competitive schools (Ivies, Stanford, etc,) and although I know both tests aren’t required, most applicants I’ve heard of who’ve received acceptances have taken both the SAT and the ACT. Would I be considered less competive at such schools if I don’t take both tests?

Replies to: 1550 SAT: What’s Next?

  • damon30damon30 Registered User Posts: 299 Junior Member
    @OP Congrats! +1 what @SatchelSF said. Close thread.
  • scottt23scottt23 Registered User Posts: 7 New Member
    @SatchelSF @damon30 Thank you guys so much for replying! I’m pretty sure now that I will not be retaking the SAT. Do you think it would be worth it to take the ACT going forward, or do you think the same sentiment still holds true for that too?
  • MWolfMWolf Registered User Posts: 390 Member
    There is really no need to take the SAT again, or to take the ACT. A score of 1550 puts you within the range of admitted students at even the most selective schools. Now you should focus on your academics and on keeping your GPA high. There is really no difference in chances of acceptance between a student with a 3.95 GPA and a 1550 SAT, and a student with a 3.95 GPA and a 1580 SAT.

    You should also start preparing for subject SATs, if these are required or recommended at any school in which you are interested.

    BTW, 1550 is an excellent score, and is within the 99th+ percentile for scores.
  • SatchelSFSatchelSF Registered User Posts: 1,285 Senior Member
    edited February 9
    ACT not worth it in my opinion. You'd need a 35 to even be comparable to your current SAT score. And because there are so many ways of achieving a 36 - there are actually 15 combinations that work - I don't even think anything other than a "true" 36 (perfect on each of the sections) would have any real value over a 1550 single sitting SAT score.

    I'd be curious to hear what others think.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 5,881 Senior Member
    edited February 10
    Depends upon your purpose for taking the ACT or SAT. Some folks make substantial money as standardized test tutors and scoring a 36 on the ACT is a great credential as would scoring higher on the SAT.

    In terms of college admissions, a 1550 SAT score is fine, although the 790 out of 800 on the math portion might bother one. If planning to work even part time as a math tutor, I think that there is value in earning a perfect 800 on the math portion of the SAT.

    Students learn when prepping for standardized tests so it is not wasted time, although it may not be the best use of your time depending upon your objectives & goals. Just depends upon what you enjoy doing & how you want to spend your time.
  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff Registered User Posts: 2,140 Senior Member
    Good points but unless its going to bug you then no. Having perfect score in my mind can work against you since many schools might think you want to go elsewhere. I would work on your essays and showing interest in schools you really want to attend. Also keep in mind, every year kids with perfect or close to perfect scores get shut out of universities they "assumed" they would get into. Have true backups /safeties even with your scores.
  • PublisherPublisher Registered User Posts: 5,881 Senior Member
    Since OP is targeting Stanford & the Ivies, I do not think that @Knowsstuff's rationale applies in this case.

    Perfect or near perfect standardized test scores help in some employment situations. McKinsey & Co. and some US Government positions are examples of where one's standardized test scores come into play to a certain extent.

    Since you are in testing mode & ready, willing & able to prep more, do it if it matters to you.
  • NCKrisNCKris Registered User Posts: 73 Junior Member
    Your SAT score is great, and you don’t need to take it again. If you want to take ACT for another reason, then do so. Your time will be better spent to strengthen the rest of you application.
    How are your grades, ECs etc. ? For selective schools, the whole package is important in holistic admissions. Every year, they reject thousands of high stats kids. Just know that it is a lottery and make sure to have other options.
  • PetraMCPetraMC Registered User Posts: 519 Member
    IMO no, don't retake it and don't take the ACT. Rejoice and live your life.
  • Groundwork2022Groundwork2022 Registered User Posts: 1,158 Senior Member
    I would not retake the SAT, nor would I take the ACT. It isn't going to be a 1550 vs. a1600 that keeps you out of a top school. No T20 school values perfect SAT scores above the holistic evaluations.
  • drearyandwearydrearyandweary Registered User Posts: 15 Junior Member
    Congrats I’m in a similar situation and what I’ve been told is to focus on others parts of the application like ecs and other competitions
  • LindagafLindagaf Registered User Posts: 8,561 Senior Member
    I disagree with @Publisher . You run the very likely risk of getting a lower score on a retake. Apparently up to 40% of already-high scorers do worse on a retake. At that level, all it takes to lower your score is one or two more wrong answers. Your score is already extremely high. All colleges will be more than thrilled with it. No college is going to care that you scored 790 and not 800 on math.

    As far as I am aware, no college prefers a student take both tests. If you do decide to take the ACT, you also run the risk of getting a lower score than your SAT. (And vice versa, for those reading.) This is not uncommon, my own son being a case in point. He scored 790 on SAT math, but a 31 on ACT math. Because of that disparity, he submitted both tests. At any rate, those highly selective colleges you want to apply to will most likely require ALL test scores.

    FWIW, I am an extremely busy test prep tutor. Confession: I have never taken an official SAT or ACT. Not that I noticed OP saying he/she wants to tutor, but I work professionally with at least four math tutors who either have never taken a standardized test, or who did it back in the 80’s, which isn’t terribly relevant now. I suggest you stop while you are ahead. It’s not uncommon for a student to do too much prep and start overthinking things, especially on the SAT.
  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff Registered User Posts: 2,140 Senior Member
    @Lindagaf. Great points. My own son needed some help with timing of the Act. We hired a very well known gre /sat /act math dude. Very affordable also...

    He told us his act score was like 32 but his math was 36. My son ended up with act 34 with 35 math /science.

    If this kid wants to tutor others in college to make some money, I am sure he can make it happen. I don't think this is his strategy at this point.

    He is very fortunate he has the skill to sorta wake up without much prep and get that score. It's really awesome.
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