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big difference in ERW/Math, what's the best strategy?

Techno13Techno13 223 replies8 threads Junior Member
Got SAT Try #1 scores today for D21 (a junior.) ERW 780, Math 670 for 1450. She has not had a math class in 6 months but is starting one in November (IB HL Math Analysis) and I imagine her math score will increase somewhat for the May SAT. Not sure how much, she's targeting a 700+. She is looking at elite LACs and LACs a notch below elite, T50ish (acceptance rates range from 15-50% and her 1450 is generally in the top half or much higher, but the math is more like 25% - 50%.) So, my question is for her retake should she study for both subjects or focus exclusively on math? Should she even take the ERW portion? How do Adcoms really view this? All her target schools superscore and only one is not score choice. I just don't know if they *really* superscore to the point where she can totally blow off ERW. All test dates coincide with something else like IB exams, finals, etc. so getting ERW off her plate could have its benefits. Thank you.
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Replies to: big difference in ERW/Math, what's the best strategy?

  • helpingmom40helpingmom40 87 replies5 threads Junior Member
    My D20 had very similar scores (780/680) and just submitted her applications tonight (to elite LACs). She didn’t have any SAT subject tests but did submit AP scores (all 5s). She took pre-Calc last year and in taking IB math now (her opinion is the math she is doing now would not help at all on the SAT). We used a private tutor for math because she just lacked confidence. They worked exclusively on Algebra 2, since that is the extent of math on the SAT. All of the feedback she has gotten from GC, private admissions counselor, and school interviewers has been very positive. One Dean of Admissions told her this week that seeing students with score differences is very common there and they expect to see it because the environment at that specific school allows students to explore their strengths and interests. If your D is not looking for a STEM major, I think she is fine but ask me again in December when we hear the ED result!
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  • Techno13Techno13 223 replies8 threads Junior Member
    ask me again in December when we hear the ED result!

    I may well take you up on that! I imagine is it more common at LACs. She is definitely not interested in a STEM major.

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  • MWolfMWolf 1664 replies10 threads Senior Member
    You also may want your D to try ACTs, now that it's possible to take the different subjects separately. Your D isn't likely to do worse in language, but being able to focus on the math part may help.

    On the other hand, you may be correct that she simply hasn't thought of math in a while. Has she done calculus already?
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  • Techno13Techno13 223 replies8 threads Junior Member
    She had Precalc the first two trimesters last year. So it's been a while. I don't think she will like the idea of starting over with the ACT though. Also her science score would be terrible as all her science classes have been terrible.
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  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 2442 replies35 threads Senior Member
    You also may want your D to try ACTs, now that it's possible to take the different subjects separately.

    Separate section retakes don't start until Sept 2020
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34475 replies382 threads Senior Member
    Do her targets publish score ranges separately for M and CR? That can give an idea. At least, the CDS should include that (though not all colleges fill out every section.)

    Whatever you decide, it's important her apps and supps nail showing her match. Try to glean what they look for, besides scores.
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  • Techno13Techno13 223 replies8 threads Junior Member
    Yes we've looked at the CDS for each school. We know the math needs to be a bit higher but the question is how to approach the retake (just math, both but only study for math, etc.)?
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  • momofsenior1momofsenior1 7581 replies61 threads Senior Member
    You need to check if the schools your D is interested in all super score. If they don't, she needs to study for both sections.
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  • Techno13Techno13 223 replies8 threads Junior Member
    Yes, they all superscore. I just don't know if that's a real thing. If you sit it out and make a 400 is that frowned upon? If you try but didn't study and your ERW score drops to 700 does it discredit the 780?
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  • lookingforwardlookingforward 34475 replies382 threads Senior Member
    It's straightforward: best scores in the different sections.
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 1107 replies16 threads Senior Member
    If they all superscore, then I’d follow the obvious strategy and focus on Math prep. If she was capable of scoring a 780, she’s not going to fall apart on a retake. A 550 EBRW the second time might raise a flag, but I’d bet she’ll be over 700 even completely ignoring it, which wouldn’t cause any concern.
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  • wisteria100wisteria100 4219 replies47 threads Senior Member
    Schools that superscore are doing so partly (in some cases mostly) for their benefit, so they can show higher scores. Yes, have your D focus on the math, but at the same time don’t bomb the English portion. That may be perceived as lazy.
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  • helpingmom40helpingmom40 87 replies5 threads Junior Member
    One other quick point, there are a few schools that require you to send ALL SAT scores from every test date, for example, Colgate. I would look into the schools she is considering and see if they are one of those schools. I would spend some time considering how score fluctuations can impact an admissions decision if she needs a third time and the school wants to see all scores. You can’t predict the difficulty of a particular exam and corresponding “curve” so I would make sure she was as best prepared as possible for both sections.
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  • blossomblossom 9902 replies9 threads Senior Member
    She should study the math. Not for the SAT, but because boosting her math skills is going to pay off for the rest of her life.

    I've told this story before on CC- but try buying carpet at Home Depot sometime. I did- and the computer was down. The very nice department manager told me to come back because it was "not possible" to give me a quick and dirty estimate without the computer. For a room which was 10X12. I showed him on the back of a receipt how easy it was to multiply then divide and he was flummoxed- like I was Albert Einstein.

    I've had this experience everywhere. The pharm tech at a national drugstore chain who couldn't convert the dosage for an over the counter decongestant without calling his boss (that one was simple addition). The sales clerk at Macy's who couldn't do the "20% off" coupon from a $100 item. Waiters who can't figure out how to take off the dessert that never came (I get it- subtracting $8 from a $32 check seems really hard).

    But more than the stupid arithmetic- your D needs math to understand what the doctor is telling her about a diagnostic scan, to understand political polls, to figure out her marginal tax rate and whether to cash in her stock options someday and whether or not she should invest in solar panels for her house, and which is the better deal- the fixed rate or variable mortgage. Boosting her math confidence now is a solid investment in her future, whether or not it boosts her SAT score.

    Signed- a former math-phobe who got treatment in grad school and is forever grateful.
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