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Does it matter when you take the SAT/what is the curve?

CaliforniaMommaCaliforniaMomma 20 replies19 threadsRegistered User Junior Member
Can anyone explain is the SAT curved at each test? Why? If my daughter is a junior, how can you figure out the best time to take the test? She is signed up for Nov 2nd to do a baseline test and then maybe March 2020? Any thoughts of factors to consider?

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Replies to: Does it matter when you take the SAT/what is the curve?

  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7254 replies56 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    They don't call it a curve but there is a calibration process based on the difficulty of the questions.

    I don't think there is a way to predict which test date is going to be more or less difficult. Every test, there are people complaining here on CC that "their" testing date was the most unfair.

    IMO, be sure that your D prepares for her first sitting. If you want a baseline prior to studying, take a timed test at home and simulate testing conditions. Don't give the college board any reason to question a big jump in score from one sitting to the next.

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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 903 replies12 threadsRegistered User Member
    edited October 5
    It’s not curved, it’s equated. This means that when you take the test, the population of test takers that day, the difficulty of the test, etc., don’t matter. (Per the statistical process - some people don’t trust/believe it, but every standardized test uses it).

    If you are capable of a 650 but take the test with a population of geniuses who get 800’s, you still get a 650. If you take it when young kids in Talent Searches take it, and they all score low, you still get a 650 (despite “take it when CTY takes it” advice I heard years ago.)

    The experimental section of the test (every one has one, that isn’t scored) has anchor questions that are repeatedly used over time to aid in this equating process.

    https://blog.collegeboard.org/why-is-my-sat-score-lower-than-i-expected CB’s take on it.

    You can also search SAT Curve: Is It Real? for an article from a source that appears to be censored on CC if I provided the URL.

    Take the test when she’s ready. Nov. and March Junior year are when I plan to have my D22 take it. Nov. allows joint prep for the PSAT/NMSQT and March allows time for focused prep based on results from Nov. It also allow Fall senior year as an option if needed.
    edited October 5
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  • marvin100marvin100 8560 replies1248 threadsRegistered User Senior Member
    @RichInPitt is correct on all counts. There's no "easy month" or "hard month," and a generous curve means a hard test (and vice versa). The best time to take it is when you're ready; it's that simple.
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