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I'm in a weird spot with testing...

noobrektnoobrekt 3 replies2 threads New Member
Hey everyone.

I'm a high school junior looking to get into one of the higher colleges like Carnegie Mellon, UPenn, Columbia, etc. (computer science) My grades are decent but I'm at a pretty weird spot with my testing. As of right now, I have a 35 in the ACT (1st time) and a 1500 in the SAT (1st time, big yikes), and I'm not really sure what to do next. Should I try retaking one/both? Which of the two do I submit? Both?

Thanks so much.
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Replies to: I'm in a weird spot with testing...

  • Mwfan1921Mwfan1921 2577 replies36 threads Senior Member
    I don't understand what is weird...those are both great scores, the ACT 34 is higher as it concords with 1540 SAT.

    What are the subsection scores in both tests? If your ACT subsections are relatively consistent, IMO you are done with SAT/ACT testing.

    For the schools you named in your post some require/recommend SAT subject tests, so that should be your next step wrt testing.....go to each website and see what subject tests are required for the school/program/major you intend on applying to. For example, here is CMU's subject test info: https://admission.enrollment.cmu.edu/pages/standardized-test-requirements

    Good luck.
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  • RichInPittRichInPitt 1308 replies19 threads Senior Member
    What do you mean by “decent”, “weird” and “yikes”?

    What are your actual ACT section scores? 35 could be between a 34.5 and a 35.25, which ranges from 1530-1560 SAT. I would say those are quite attractive for your targets, with the possible exception of CMU CS if it’s a 34.5/1530 where it would be sufficient but at the lower end of accepted students.

    With those scores, you should be aware of the SAT/ACT concordance and be able to figure out which to submit (hint: starts with an A).

    You seem to do better on the ACT, so if you have scored higher on practice tests than your actual score, and believe you can improve, then taking it one more time may not be a bad idea.

    But other aspects of your application may be more important at this point. From a testing standpoint, getting solid Subject Test scores should be a priority if you haven’t already taken them.
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  • noobrektnoobrekt 3 replies2 threads New Member
    My ACT (34.5 overall, sorry) section scores were 36 Math / 35 Reading / 34 English / 33 Science, which is one of the main reasons I want to retake it (having a low science score feels wrong as someone who's going to apply for computer sciece)

    The main reason I'm concerned with this is because I don't really have to worry about my subject tests (800 Math 2, 800 Physics, 800 Chem); I don't want my real testing to look too lame next to my subject tests.
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  • makemesmartmakemesmart 1681 replies14 threads Senior Member
    You are done with standardized testing. ACT 35 with three 800-subject test scores are great. Focus on your GPAs and other aspects. Good luck.
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  • KnowsstuffKnowsstuff 4614 replies18 threads Senior Member
    If your going to lose sleep over it then retake it. But listen to the above advice and keep your GPA high. Take rigorous classes and write an amazing essay.

    Also have have back ups that you will be happy to attend.
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  • noobrektnoobrekt 3 replies2 threads New Member
    Sorry for the bump. I have no idea how I forgot to mention this. I got a 7 on the Writing part of the ACT (which is probably not great); does that change me needing to retake it or not? How much do colleges care about the writing part?
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  • LindagafLindagaf 9524 replies511 threads Senior Member
    They don’t care about the essay much, if at all. A 7 is fine. Honestly, you’re looking for problems where there are none.

    Up to 40% of test takers who scored very highly the first time do worse on a retake. Many of those schools will require all scores. Do you want to risk that? It’s going to be very tough to beat what you have. Along with your very high ACT, your SAT subject test scores amply show your abilities. You’re tempting fate, IMO.
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