How do you compare SAT subject test scores?

<p>Suppose a student sends three( or more ) SAT subject Test scores and another sends only two to a school like MIT which requires only two. Then how are these two students are going to be compared (not holistically, I mean who's going to be seen more favorably for the testing part of the app)? I am asking this in the MIT forum because 1) The ones who lurk around this forum generally answer questions sensibly 2) I'd like to know the official MIT answer.</p>

<p>I know that three or more sounds more impressive, but since they require two, anyone conforming to the minimum guideline shouldn't be at a disadvantage.</p>

<p>I'm not an admission officer, but I think that it doesn't matter. It depends on scores, but I think that if you want and if you have time you can take a third subject test, it mirrors your passion in science if you take another SAT II in science, or you can show your love in spanish taking the third SAT II in spanish; but as I've said, it depends on several factors, so I don't think that if you take three sat 2, you have a better chance to get in.</p>

<p>I'm pretty sure that they'll take the highest math score and the highest science score, and only consider those two.</p>

<p>^ They will consider other scores but will weigh those two scores the most.</p>

<p>Just to add a citation, from this</a> thread:

Incidentally, I would not interpret this to indicate that anyone submitting the minimum number of SAT scores is at any sort of disadvantage.</p>

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Yes, but we put the most weight on the best math score and best science score you have.

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Incidentally, I would not interpret this to indicate that anyone submitting the minimum number of SAT scores is at any sort of disadvantage.

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<p>I'm having trouble reconciling these statements.</p>

<p>^I'll leave it to Chris to clarify the position further, but my strong assumption is that additional good SAT II scores would be read more as an "oh, that's nice" than a "wow, that's amazing", and that the admissions officers don't do any interpretation as to why a candidate would send two rather than twenty.</p>

<p>^ I spent my time flying and riding rather than taking additional tests. I bet that was no less impressive, and it sure as heck was a lot more fun :D</p>

<p>I get the meaning of what all of you say. The thing is that as the MIT applicant pool is ultra-competitive, I imagine there would be a lot of applicants who've taken even 5 or 6 Subject Tests and there would also be some who've taken only two. It is very difficult to evaluate applicants only on the basis of their subjective achievements, and I guess the statistics of a very large number of applicants are going to be very similar. That is why I was curious about how additional test scores will be seen by admission officers. There is a lot of difference you know, in giving the two highest scores most importance and giving only the two highest scores any importance.</p>

<p>@edoardo I agree that passion is way much more important that SAT II test scores, but do you really think that taking Subject Tests can truly mirror a person's passion? I mean I'm very interested in U.S. history and World History, but I've not taken those Subject Tests and have no plans to take them because of logistical problems that I will face in taking them. That does not mean that I'm any less passionate about history than someone who has taken the U.S. History or World History Test. You're right in thinking that this has indirectly to do with sending my scores, nevertheless I am also curious about how this works.</p>

<p>@debarghya9: I was thinking about a unreal guy, who took two subjects test in Math and Physics, but he loved so much biology, so after taking courses at school, AP exams, and after doing research at local university, he took SAT II bio. </p>

<p>In this way it might help you, but the help percentage over all the application is about 1% xP.</p>

<p>^^ Sitting for extra tests is easy to do. At the end of the day, it's just not a particularly impressive way to spend your time, if impressing an admissions committee is your goal.</p>

<p>I think that there might be an advantage if you take more than the required SAT IIs in that you have a greater chance of getting at least a 700 in the scores you need to submit. So basically, it's like saying you have a greater advantage with regular SAT scores if you take more than once since you might have a higher score on the second or third time you take it. But other than that, I can't see how there would be any advantage to taking more than what's required.</p>

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But other than that, I can't see how there would be any advantage to taking more than what's required.

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<p>Then what does Chris mean when he says that additional scores are considered?</p>

<p>@ shravas I've already taken three Subject Tests, because it seemed something safe to do. My question is akin to Silverturtle's. I just wanted to know how the admissions committee see the test.</p>

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There is a lot of difference you know, in giving the two highest scores most importance and giving only the two highest scores any importance.

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<p>Judging from what admissions officers have said in the past, I don't think there is, at least for MIT.</p>

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<p>Silverturtle, I think the reading I have of this thread is the same as Mollie's - I think she seems to suggest that more tests is not better, but additional tests can be considered. What I interpret this to mean is that tests are basic markers of competence, not boosters. Think about it - plenty of people applying have much more meaningful academic achievements than SAT IIs. Markers of competence are there to do one thing - show that your high school grades don't totally oversell your ability, and that you won't die at MIT when you see basic stuff being taken for granted.</p>

<p>From a pure logical juggling act, let me throw out possibilities.</p>

<p>If two people have stellar scores on 2 vs. 3 SAT IIs, I doubt it matters - I don't think they're very fixated on these scores in the first place, and if you submit very high scores, I don't think they're going to worry how many of them there are, though perhaps 6 800s might raise an eyebrow in a positive way.</p>

<p>If your highest math/science scores are not all stellar, but good, then it <em>may</em> be nice to have an extra one or two and show you consistently did pretty well, so that they can feel very confident you can handle basic stuff.</p>

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<p>yep. </p>

<p>(although if you take it 20 tests 10 times each, it does begin to approach the realm of "what is going on here...") </p>

<p>Point is: if you take more than 2, fine, send them to us, but you will not be disadvantaged by sending two relative to those who send more.</p>

<p>To expand: </p>

<p>When you send us your standardized test scores, we compare them against past data to see whether your scores predict academic success or failure at MIT. </p>

<p>Turns out that so long as you have sufficient success in one of the math SAT IIs and one of the science SAT IIs you are fine. </p>

<p>So there isn't necessarily a great predictive advantage in getting an 800 on 3 science SATIIs as opposed to 1, in terms of how you'll eventually do here. Maybe something along the margins, but nothing that would make or break your candidacy. </p>

<p>That make sense to everyone?</p>

<p>Yep. Glad that's cleared up, I've been thinking about this a while.
Just a small question though - I haven't taken my SAT II's yet, but do you guys put a huge emphasis on the difference between a 700 and 800 on those tests? Or is it more like: "After you clear 700, an 800 is nice, but won't give you that huge of an advantage"?</p>

<p>^ Chris has indicated in the past that, once applicants pass a certain point, score increases do not positively correlate with success at MIT to any great degree; so such increases do not benefit one very much with respect to admissions. I don't remember what that point was, but I believe it was either 700 or 750.</p>