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Lopsided SAT score

helpingmom40helpingmom40 58 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
DD is a junior right now and has taken the SAT 3 times with a superscore of 1460, 780 EBRW and 680 Math. She is looking at small, selective liberal arts colleges and majors in history/politics or International Relations and math has always been her weakest subject area. She worked with a private tutor for a year and was told her math score was just about as good as it was going to be and not to bother trying again since all 3 scores were within 30 points. I am wondering how schools view uneven SAT scores and how much that will impact an admissions decision. She is taking Pre-Calc this year and is petrified of AP Calc so she chose AP Stats for next year. Overall she has a GPA of 94.77 out of 100, will have taken 7 AP classes by graduation, and her lowest grades are 89-91 in various math classes.
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Replies to: Lopsided SAT score

  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7259 replies56 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    After three times, I think your tutor is correct about not bothering with the SAT again. Has she tried any ACT practice tests to see if she does any better with that format?

    IMO, how schools will look at a lopsided score for a non STEM student, depends on the school and how "selective" they are for admission.
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9229 replies495 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    780 and 680 aren’t really that lopsided. 680 is still a very good score. I’m a tutor, and I agree with what the other tutor said. IMO, if math isn’t her strong point, I do not recommend the ACT, which tests a higher level of math than the SAT, has a ridiculous time constraint, and also has the science section. The science section freaks out a lot of kids and is also ridiculously time constrained.

    IOW, it ain’t broke, and doesn't need fixing.
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  • wisteria100wisteria100 4203 replies47 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    Those scores are not that lopsided, and her math grades in school are also good. I think the best thing she could do would be to take Calculus as a senior. While not required, many schools look for that and all will consider the level of rigor in the high school program. She seems quite capable in math from the stats you provided, so she should be able to handle calculus.
    How ‘selective’ are the schools she is looking at?
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  • VeryapparentVeryapparent 881 replies16 threadsRegistered User Member
    So my D had a lopsided score too with math being the lower score. She took the summer to study for the August SAT. She used the PWN SAT math book and Khan Academy as well as taking a practice test every week. She only spent about 20 minutes a day drilling on problem areas. Her math came up over 100 points. I know yours has tried three times but mine found it extremely difficult to prep during the school year. Let me say first your daughter has great scores and will do well with how they currently stand. But if she was really motivated to try again the summer prep might be worth a try and its only a 20 min commitment a day...easy even with a full time job.
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  • makemesmartmakemesmart 1479 replies14 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @Veryapparent
    I agree with you that prep over the summer could be a lot better than over the school year. But I don’t know whether it is likely to improve 100 points from baseline of 680. From 600, yes! 680? Not so sure.
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  • helpingmom40helpingmom40 58 replies2 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thank you for the replies. She took an evaluative test that predicts whether the SAT or ACT fit her better and the SAT was the clear winner. She is looking at Hamilton, Colgate, Franklin & Marshall, so really selective. School counselor says after 3 tries, there really isn’t much improvement and schools like Colgate do not participate in score choice and see all scores. His thought was most schools do not want to see more than 3 attempts and she should just call it a day. I even asked about having her try again just to try and break the 700 mark and he said not to bother. I just wanted to see what others thought.
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  • VeryapparentVeryapparent 881 replies16 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited June 4
    @makesmesmart

    Mine went from 650 to 770. She only took test twice. The book I mentioned is designed for high performers to boost score. My daughters verbal was 780 so it was a glaring difference. We were shopping for merit so the score was incredibly helpful. She ended up with a full tuition ride. Totally worth the extra effort!
    edited June 4
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  • makemesmartmakemesmart 1479 replies14 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @Veryapparent
    Nice! Thank you for the clarification! That’s great!
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  • merc81merc81 10344 replies157 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    edited June 4
    Lopsided shouldn't be a thing, and if it is, it's a weird thing. 780/680 is a much better overall score combination than, say, 690/690. The only real question with respect to your daughter's standardized testing -- provided her testing is final -- might be whether her math score would be appropriate for her tentative colleges and majors of interest, and the answer to that is yes. I wish your daughter the best of luck as she moves forward.
    edited June 4
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  • whidbeyite2002whidbeyite2002 199 replies1 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @helpingmom40, I don’t consider your daughter’s score terribly lopsided and believe her tutor is pretty accurate. And her scores are very good! I believe 3 tests are enough.

    My own daughter’s scores show a clear strength in EBRW; she will be an IR major as well.

    I would encourage your daughter to focus on her class rigor (such as taking Calculus), personal statement, and supplemental essays. Wishing you all the best!
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  • TheSATTeacherTheSATTeacher 236 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @helpingmom40

    As another SAT tutor, I have to disagree with what your tutor said. My experience suggests that the vast majority of students are capable of breaking into the 700s on math, (and on EBRW) ESPECIALLY those who already have a 680! All the math on the SAT is very teachable. None of the math on the SAT is that advanced and none of the questions are impossibly difficult. Generally if a students is plateauing it is because there are weaknesses in her foundation that have not been sufficiently addressed, or because there is some topic (or more likely several topics) she is failing to grasp. I also find that many of my students also usually plateau for a bit after they have learned all the content on the SAT, but have not yet fully figured out/learned how to convert word problems into math (this is likely the case if section 4 performance is meaningfully worse than section 3 performance).

    Feel free to message me if you want me to answer more specific questions. Hope this helps!
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  • Techno13Techno13 175 replies7 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    Thanks for this discussion. My daughter will be in exactly this boat (based on PSAT and practice tests.) I don't think colleges will prefer AP Calc over AP Stats for a non-STEM major. In fact, Stats is far more useful for many social sciences. Not sure it will be easier though. Good luck to her!
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  • TheSATTeacherTheSATTeacher 236 replies0 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
    @Techno13

    I think top colleges prefer AP Calc--which is helpful for many social sciences. Besides, it is more about signaling then usefulness.

    @helpingmom40

    FWIW, I think most students find AP Calc easier than Pre-Calc. Most students who struggle with Calc struggle with the Pre-Calc elements.
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