# Curve

<p>Just wondering, aren't the curves for fall generally harder than the spring ones? seeing as the spring dates are usually taken by juniors for the first time, and the fall one is taken by seniors (=second time)?</p>

<p>Then again, many or most of the high scorers from the spring aren't retaking in the fall so the competition could be less. There's probably a way SAT deals with this to even it out.</p>

<p>The curves do not depend upon the intelligence of the test-taking group from the particular date the test was administered.</p>

<p>A bit out of the question : what's a curve anyway?</p>

<p>it's probably spring...last year i took three tests, one in oct, jan, and may</p>

<p>oct: 2130
jan: 2130
may: 2350</p>

<p>so yeah...it's all in the scheduling</p>

<p>The curve assigns a scaled score (say, 500) from a raw score (say 35 out of 54). The curve corrects only for the small variations in the difficulty of the test, and 112358 is correct. See [thread=763933]this thread[/thread] for a link to the curves data.</p>

<p>How do spring curves compare to fall? Let's use May as a proxy for spring, and October as a proxy for fall.</p>

<p>Below,</p>

<p>E = easier test / harsher curve
M = medium test / medium curve
H = harder test / generous curve</p>

<p>The first letter is from October, the second is from the following May. For example, the October 2008 math was easier (tough curve), the May 2009 math was harder (nicer curve). If curves are harsher in the fall than spring, there should be a lot of E-H's. If curves are nicer in the fall than spring, there should be a lot of H-E's. </p>

<p>Math:</p>

<p>2005: M-M
2006: H-H
2007: E-E
2008: E-H</p>

<p>CR:</p>

<p>2005: M-H
2006: H-E
2007: H-E
2008: M-M</p>

<p>Writing:</p>

<p>2005: M-H
2006: M-M
2007: H-M
2008: M-E</p>

<p>My conclusion: randomness.</p>

<p>The short answer is the "curve" is a misnomer. All test administrations are "normed" such that a 500 is a 500 is a 500 regardless of which test day you take. (Contrary to a popular NYC college counselor.)</p>

<p>btw: OP, there are plenty of top Juniors who take the fall SAT and are (hopefully) one and done. They prep after soph year so they can try to ace the psat.....</p>

<p>fignewton--</p>

<p>so you're saying the difficulty of the curve is actually predetermined? I mean, the difficulties of the different sections on the test are decided by the testmakers with no regard to the test takers' results?
If so, I agree that the whole thing is rather random.</p>

<p>If not, I understand the logical point in each of your posts but still--I would think the fall date would have a very difficult curve simply because of the sheer volume of seniors taking it for the second time (many do even if they got a respectable score the first time..)</p>

<p>Also, I would think the spring curve would be easier because the vast majority would be first time test takers (correct me if I'm wrong); true, there are many students who get a good enough score the first time to not take the test again but a lot of students repeat the test in the fall, including some overachievers and perfectionists who scored well enough the first time and may do even better.</p>

<p>^^While perhaps logical thinking, you would be incorrect.</p>

<p>karenoona, your first paragraph is correct, the difficulty of the test (and thus the curve) is determined independently of the test takers' results. This determination is done using the non-graded sections (often called "experimental" or "equating" sections). The SAT curve is very different from the typical curve that a teacher may use to make the average grade a C, for example.</p>

<p>If in fact your score <em>did</em> depend on who else was taking the test, the SAT would be basically useless, since a 500 in the spring, say, would mean something different than a 500 in the fall. In the scenario you describe, all those seniors would "push down" your score from a 500 in the spring to, let's say, a 450 (assuming that you weren't any better at the test than before). So, a 500 in the fall means a higher math ability than a 500 in the spring. Luckily, the SAT doesn't work in this way.</p>

<p>There was a huge, eye-glazing (I have a bit of logorrhea sometimes) discussion about this [thread=760312]recently[/thread] in case you have time to burn :) What it all means is: don't worry about what time of year the test is or who else is taking it.</p>

<p>thank you that's a satisfying explanation. I knew there had to be one because the test administrators AND the colleges should have NO interest in having the difference in test dates mean something. thanks again</p>