Low(ish) chem score for future chemistry major

<p>Hi, so I took the June Chemistry test and got a 700. I know its a decent score (at least outside of CC :p) but I was wondering if I should retake it because I plan to major in chemistry. Ironically it's my best subject yet it's the lowest out of all the other subject tests I took.</p>

<p>Should I just leave it and hope that a good grade in IB Chem HL next year will make up for it and show colleges that I do have a sufficient mastery of the subject or retake it in October? </p>

<p>Thanks for any advice! :)</p>

<p>I think you should retake it. If I scored a 700 in Math or Physics (my probable majors), I would definitely retake.</p>

<p>For purposes of admission into top schools, maybe you should retake it. However, your ability to get a higher score the "second" time will not indicate how well you will do in chemistry at a top college. You only get one oppurtunity to take exams in college. And you'll find out that retaking the test for the sake of getting the higher score will be meaningless as you see many without extensive exposure to the subject matter excel in chemistry in college. And you will see those with lots of exposure screw up at times. You don't need to be perfect before coming to college to excel. Unless you are specifically applying to a competitive program in chem (but I don't know what school makes you apply to the chem major itself), it's really not worth it. </p>

<p>Trust me, I'm a chem. major at Emory, and no matter your level of exposure it's tough. Your SAT/IB "scores" will hardly help you "in" college. It' what you actually got from the courses themselves. I remember many people in my freshmen orgo. section failing out (about 15-20 withdrew by the end of second semester) of the course, even though everyone had a 5 in AP or a 7 on IB, and some even had taken IB orgo. General chemistry was a similar case for my friends w/AP-IB credit. Even though chem. here is supposed to be easier than intro. bio (both are still difficult), 2-3 friends I know of actually flunked the first exam in chem 2 (AP/IB credit only exempts chem. 1 here).</p>

<p>Where do you seek admission? I'll give a more definitive answer based on that.</p>

<p>^Thank you for the story. You helped solidify my decision to take first semester of General Chemistry when I go to a university, despite my receiving a 5 on AP Chemistry.</p>

<p>@OP I recommend a retake.</p>

<p>700 is a good enough score, BUT since you want to major in chem then a score of 750+ would be much better for you. I think you should retake because of your circumstances.</p>

<p>Again, depends on where they are applying. Then again, the fact that they are taking SATIIs tells that they will apply to a top school. However, I hated the SATII subject tests (though I did well). They just seem stupid. Now schools use them to select students claiming they want to major in something before they even arrive as if it is not subject to change. So ridiculous when you actually think about it. The idea that a 700 isn't good enough and that getting higher a "second" time will indicate how well they will do once they in college is dumb. SAT Is are hardly effective as a predictor, especially amongst high-performing students in college. I know some people here who have admitted low SATs and are doing quite well. SATIIs are a crock. I guess it's supposed to be the American equivalent to A-levels (which are now being scrutinized by various officials claiming that they have been watered down or inflation has occurred. It's almost getting to the point that some prefer IB over it.)</p>

<p>But ignore my rant. Retake the test to solidify your chances at gaining admissions to a top school. Just don't expect it to mean much once you get there. They design the courses so that nearly everyone is back on equal playing field and you have to work to earn good grades in the science courses as the inflation is much less/non-existent (when compared to say the humanities, which can buffer your GPA if you actually know how to write well), especially at intro. level (gen. chem., orgo., and bio). I don't know about Ivies/peers of Emory, but here, if you are lucky and they happen to curve in an intro. course, it will only be 1-2 points per person. Even with that, less than 20% may receive an A-range score. The same could be said for orgo. where the curve is larger, yet only 5-10% get A range grades in the course after it. The curve is kind of bell"ish" with most being lumped in the B-/C+ range. The median is normally curved to B-/B, and the mean is C+/B-.
I wish you luck, hopefully your journey through the chem. program at X-university ends up successful.</p>

<p>Thanks for everyone's input! And yeah, I understand what you mean. Obviously getting an 800 on it doesn't mean I'm a chemistry expert (it just kind of shows how well I can memorize things) but some of the top schools on my current college list are MIT and Harvard. Although I know the SATs aren't the whole application, I don't want it to drag me down especially since it seems like a lot of students who apply to those sorts of schools tend to have scores in the high 700s.</p>

<p>I mean, I'm happy with my score. It's just that when I looked it up, it was in like the 67th percentile. Do colleges look more at the score or the percentile or both?</p>

<p>^ they look at just the score</p>