Is it worth it to prep for the SAT anymore?

So have been thinking about this for a while and the article just posted about the SAT going online made me even more interested in posting. Is test prep for the SAT (and ACT) worth the time and money in a time of many schools being test optional and more likely to follow suit? My S24 specific information is that we live in a very high NMF score state, he will hopefully have a 3.8-4.0 GPA with all honors and AP classes that are offered, and a single very high level music EC that will approach a hook. Is it worth it to spend the time and money on intensive SAT prep to have a score above high 1400s? 1500? or just skip the test entirely?

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Well we have decided that our S25 is only going to apply to schools that are test optional or test blind. The list of places is growing and I believe will continue to grow. Not interested in the SAT at all anymore after the &$@? show my D21 went through.


Colleges are still using test scores for merit, I’ve also noticed while looking at results threads that high test scores tend to have more acceptances than TO with similar GPA’s.


I imagine it depends on what school you want to go to - if it’s test blind, then no. Any other, unless they are getting a 1500+ on a practice test, heck yeah.

It doesn’t have to be professional - can be a book, olnine, self study or otherwise. And it doesn’t need to be overwhelming so much that it hurts your school performance. Not sure what BS the previous poster went through. Like any test, you study, you take it, and it’s over. Some take again and again - my son took the ACT 6 times - and the 6th time got him an extra $6K.

Why not take a practice test or two and see how you do?

But there’s a ton of test optional schools that have merit tables that include SAT/ACT. Here’s one for example. If he takes it and does poorly, he wasted some time - not a huge deal.

Out-of-State Freshman Scholarships – Scholarships | The University of Alabama (


Perhaps not. But at least let him take a practice test to see what he scores. If he gets a score in the mid 1400s and maybe doing some prep via books or online material gets him close to 1500 or maybe just above, that’s a score that might give him an edge at a lot of colleges.

All depends on where he plans to apply and what their mid-range of scores is. But I wouldn’t rule out the ACT/SAT from the get go without looking into it.


As others have said, it depends on the schools on the list. Florida publics are likely to require a test score for a long time…are they on the list?

Other schools have a strong preference for scores…Michigan, Auburn, Georgetown.

And some schools give more merit dollars to those with scores.

No easy answer, but having a strong test score is still an advantage at many schools. I would see how things develop over this year, and decide in the fall if it makes sense for your then junior to prep/sit for a test.


It depends on your child and their goals/needs. My S22 took the SAT once, got a mediocre score, and decided not to retake it. He went TO everywhere. That being said, the schools he applied to were in the 50-75 range (with the exception of one reach) not top 50s, so for those schools we felt confident he would be OK going TO. However, we aren’t chasing merit so we didn’t need to worry about that. I think the question is more difficult if you have a kid looking at a lot of top 50 schools (or top LACs) where a strong score could help the application OR if you are chasing merit. I do think your kiddo should take the test at least once, though, to see how it goes. He may get a great score first time around.


So more information, he would probably need intensive coaching to score over 1500 but could do it. Goals are Ivy and LAC but will submit a music supplement (classic instrument) and meet with faculty that will be a big boost. Will probably be a BA music major and possible double major but not double degree. We will be full pay. I was posting this as a more general discussion but this is the details for my S24.

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I’ll have my kid take it when it’s offered in school. If they are interested in studying and retaking it outside of school, I will leave that up to them. It is not worth arguing with them over studying or taking time away from their studies and ECs. It’s a crappy test that adds very little to the evaluation process and I predict it will be phased out.


There are more options besides spending lots of time and money on intensive SAT prep and skipping the test entirely.

For example, the student could try an old released SAT under testing time limits and conditions, check what type of questions are a problem, and perhaps do some preparation on that type of questions. This may not cost much time and money compared to the intensive preparation so commonly described on these forums.


Honestly, his audition and musical accomplishments will hold a lot more weight than test scores. LACs LOVE musicians and desperately need them to populate their ensembles, especially with COVID. There are fantastic talent scholarships available, too.


Your goals are high. Just playing devil’s advocate. What if he doesn’t get into any Ivy’s or reaches? Will there be any second guessing that’s he should’ve at least attempted to take SAT/ACT?

There’s no do-over.


I think that is why I am asking the question, should I spend tons of money and should he spend tons of time studying for a test when the schools will be test optional and he will be better served practicing and preparing for competitions and auditions?

I think that his baseline SAT will be around 1300, which with his grades and music should get him into our flagship and Oberlin, along with several other LACs.

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This is based on him having actually taken a practice test?

psat, unpreped, if he does self study he should be there.

I’d let him attempt it with minimal prep and see what he gets. Then go from there.


Yes. Practice and game conditions are different. Lots of posts on CC where actual scores vary from practice tests. Up and down.

The issue for us is this is the summer to get it done. He is not doing an intensive music program this summer and does not have free weekends during the school year for testing or prep programs. Next summer he would go to an intensive full summer music program and not have time for much. He was hoping to prep this summer and take the test at the end of August if he was ready. Crazy lives these kids lead!


Use the free or low cost options like Khan and see what happens. Then go from there.