We had our DD21s junior planning meeting with her GC today. While going over her test scores the GC asked if my daughter was going to retake the SAT (she took the October 2019 test) which kind of surprised me. My dd had initially considered a retake but had settled on not doing so. Now with her GCs questioning her decision and encouraging a retake she is again thinking about it. Not sure what to think!
Honestly, I think she could just as easily end up with a worse score as a better one. 1570 is great. Leave well enough alone!
If money isn’t an issue and your kid REALLY enjoys test taking a lot, then sure why not. Perfection can be one’s goal in life.
FWIW, as I watch the UMich forum, UMich defers and rejects 4.0/1,600 applicants. The forum is littered with 1,550+ kids that were deferred and can’t understand why.
I also attended an evening seminar/meeting a couple years ago at my kid’s HS with a Stanford admissions representative. He mentioned that Stanford rejects 70% of the 4.0/1,600 applicants.
How experienced/qualified is your GC? Did he/she even know your D’s first score or was he/she going down a list of generic questions?
Retaking a 1570 is a monumental waste of time. Time/effort budgeted to test prep should now turn to SAT2’s (assuming her targeted schools require/recommend them) and AP’s.
All the hard data that have ever come out, all from Harvard, show that kids with 1600 SAT enjoyed admit rates north of 50%. Some of the data of course is getting dated now… Add the condition of 4.0 UW GPA, and let’s just say I am highly skeptical of that 70% figure at Stanford.
Nevertheless, I say 1570 is fine, especially as it is single sitting. My own current junior got a 1580 first time on the 10/19 test (not including 7th grade talent search result, also 1500+), and they are done with testing.
I wonder just how many 1570+ single sitting scorers retake? I suspect not too many.
No, your kid has better things to do than waste time and money retaking a 1570. Now, if you were interested in having your D take the ACT, and you don’t mind spending the money, maybe that might be something to consider. (I personally would not do it. My D20 got a 1580 on her first try for the SAT and we considered her “done”, but I see a lot of others on this forum take both and given her 1570 SAT, she is likely to get a 36 or darn close to it).
Agree on the SAT2s suggestion. With a little prep, it is not difficult to score 800s in math and sciences. The curves are very forgiving, unlike on the SAT itself.
That’s my error. The Stanford rep only mentioned Stanford rejected 70% of the 1,600 SAT score test takers. GPA wasn’t mentioned. My apologies.
What is the GC’s reasoning for retaking? My S20 only has a 1540 from his 2nd time taking the SAT. We called it done after that. That’s all he needed to get accepted to a bunch of good school. There are other important things such as spending the time in writing good essays or play play a bigger role in EC.
Just by the SAT score alone, its place in the overall scheme of admission is pretty meaningless, just as Stanford’s rejection of 70% of the 1600 SAT scorers is meaningless without the GPA, essays and EC’s.
Think of SAT scores (and GPA) as “threshold” as opposed to the “higher-the-better.” Once the quantitative meets the institutional threshold, the rest matters a whole lot. An applicant with the SAT score of 1510 with an outstanding qualitative application package can make it through the admission gate whereas the perfect scorer can be turned away.
Once you’re over 1550, retaking is pointless, IMHO, from a logical standpoint. I’d question the GC’s logic in recommending this, other than “well, that’s what we usually recommend”).
I can understand the emotional desire to retake if one of the scores is a 790 (been there…). But that’s not a rational decision.
Another vote to not retake. Focus on the rest of the application and SAT II subject tests if necessary.
Thanks for all the replies. It seems that students at her school retake to get the highest score possible. A couple months ago during her GIEP meeting the gifted students advisor also asked if she planning to retake. She has a 790 in math and 780 in erw, and was initially upset about the math score (she was hoping for an 800). She did minimal prep for the test (only took about 5 -6 practice tests at home during the weeks leading up to the exam), so she could probably retake with minimal time commitment. I think she will think about it over the summer, and if she really wants to she can take it again in August. She has 6 APs coming up in May, and will be taking the Chemistry subject test in June.
Why? While getting 1600 is cool, the different between a 1570 and a 1600 is rarely the result of any actual difference in academic talent, especially for a student who has taken it once, and OAs know it. I am highly skeptical that a student with a 1600 SAT has any real advantage over a student with a 1550-1590, even if all other things are equal.
We do not know whether
Since the numbers of students with SAT score are correlated with GPA and income, which are also correlated to EC opportunities, it is much more likely that the 1600 is no more than an indicator of the other qualifications. I think that almost all of the kids who got 1600 on their SATs and were accepted would have been accepted with a 1570-1590 SAT score as well, especially if it was a single test score.
How many kids who come here who have an SAT of 1600 aren’t also 4.0 UW GPAs with the most challenging courses that their school has to offer, have multiple academic awards, glowing recommendations from their teachers and GCs, etc? How many of them have national awards in their ECs as well (national STEM competitions, etc)? Almost every student who pops up here with a 1600 SAT has profiles which would put them in the 50% range or higher of acceptance to Harvard, according to the same hard data.
@RockyPA OK, so I think I understand your D a little better. If she thinks she can get an 800 on math, and she feels she just made a silly error that she wouldn’t normally make, then she might want to go for it. There is always the superscore option if she does a little lower in the EBRW portion.
Yes, exactly. However, until her GC brought up retaking she had decided that the 790 was ok. Now she is reconsidering. Silly mistakes can be repeated though, so she needs to be prepared for that!
Historically on retakes, half go up and half go down. How will DD feel after putting all the (unneeded, IMO) time and energy into prep and her score decreases?
That GC is an idiot.
I would only retake if it made a difference for merit money. I know at least one CC poster who’s kid got 1570 on the SAT and is now encouraging her D to take the ACT for possible 36 and more merit. That’s rough for the kid but I guess families got to do what they got to do…
Yes, this is true, but only because (1) extraordinary talent is quite rare, and (2) the SAT is a low ceiling test that effectively penalizes students for careless errors, errors which are correlated with measures of conscientiousness rather than aptitude. With regard to (2), conscientiousness is only imperfectly correlated with aptitude, though it does show no doubt a small positive correlation.
If you think of extreme talent in any field as being beyond three standard deviations above the mean (a reasonable definition in my opinion), then there are not more than about 5,000 kids evidencing extreme academic talent at most in any given year, and some portion will not go to college for various reasons, including choice and being low SES. It’s useful to remember here that the Ivy League plus a few other T10 schools alone collectively enroll about 20K students per year.
All that being said, there are a very few kids who, even if the SAT difficulty were doubled, or the time allotted halved, could still score within a careless error of a perfect score, even on the tougher test. Most of these kids will be at 1600 on the current test (that is one reason why there is a fat tail at the 1600 limit), although a few will be down around 1550-1590 of course. (Again, the same measure of conscientiousness could prevent even the kid with extreme aptitude from acing the easier test.)
So, again, it is correct to say that for any given kid, we cannot distinguish the level of talent from a 1600 versus, say, a 1570. But in the aggregate, because idiosyncratic factors wash out and there is a truncation factor because of the low ceiling, the group of kids scoring 1600 will be more talented on average than the group scoring 1580, which will be more talented than the group scoring 1560… all the way down the line.
For this reason and others, we always observe admit rates rising monotonically with SAT scores, at least at the most elite schools, whenever we can find actual data. Again, this is because in the aggregate scores are correlated with ability, first and foremost, and it is that ability which drives the rest of the accomplishments contained in a successful application.