Should I retake a 1510 SAT?

Hi, I’m currently a junior and I got a 1510 on my SAT, 710 on reading and writing and 800 on math. I also took the ACT this weekend, but I’m not confident I did well. I’m planning on applying ED to UPENN for biomedical engineering. Most of the schools I’m planning on applying to are going test-optional, including PENN. Taking these tests takes a really big toll on my mental health and time. Is it worth retaking the SAT? If I don’t, should I submit my 1510?

I wouldn’t retake if takes such a toll on your mental health and time. If you don’t get into Penn next year, it is very unlikely that it will be because of a 1510 SAT score.


I don’t think you need to retake it, and submitting would be fine. Congrats on the 800.

If you want Penn, I would try to retake. It shouldn’t be hard to bring up that 710 with a little more preparation. Every little bit helps your AI score.

If you want Ivy - Take it one more time. If you bring the 710 up then you can super score. If not I would still submit anything over a 1500

I would not retake the 1510 if it doing so would add too much pressure/stress.

@lil_shortay Do you have any knowledge of whether AI is being used this year at the Ivies, and if so how, considering a large proportion of applicants are TO?

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Isn’t AI always evaluated at some point so the admissions officers and readers know in what order to read the files, as well as to establish that the applicant is able to do the work? I acknowledge you know far more than I do about all this, but I always thought you had to determine those numbers first. I wasn’t aware that any of the Ivies or comparable institutions stopped measuring the academic index. Even without test scores, I thought it was still being determined. I had no idea that wasn’t being considered any longer. I’ll be gosh darn! That’s shocking to hear. I mean that.

OP, I’m sure then that your testing scores are just fine and that they will be impressed with the 710. I’m sorry. I’ve been misinformed since I thought it was a tad bit low, not much, just a tad. Anyway, for what it’s worth, Penn is most likely a stressful environment, or at least it’s known to be. I can only imagine, and it’s simply my humble opinion that if sitting for the SAT once more, if able, is going to cause excessive levels of stress, then I might reconsider applying to this particular school. There have been several issues with students and mental health services, CAPS, and the complaint has been raised that not enough is being done to help students with depression and stress. I do wish you the best and congratulations on your test scores if you decide to submit them in the fall. Hooves crossed!

I really don’t know and was asking you if you did! I genuinely don’t know how (or if) the Ivies are calculating AI for the TO applicants…test scores are 2/3 of the formula. So…just prospecting for info😁 I learn a lot on CC!

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Ah, got it. I thought if the scores were there, they were being factored in. I mean, if this were me, I would just sit for it again if I was going to use the scores, because as far as I know, if you send that it gets calculated into the AI when the file comes in. Of course, admissions will always take someone with a little less here or there if they like the applicant, but I would probably try to make sure everything was as high as I could possibly get it. I do agree with everyone that if taking it again stresses the OP out that much, I’d just leave it be.

I realize I’ll get thrashed by someone on here for saying this, but, for what it’s worth, it does seem like some of the Ivies are giving a tiny bit of preference for those students with the test scores and who are meeting that basic threshold/numbers/gpa that each office is wanting to “ideally” see in an applicant, as opposed to students applying without scores and a similar GPA and rigor. Again, I don’t have that info directly, but it’s just something I’ve observed. I’m really curious to see these numbers when all this is over. Cornell, for example, seems to really be showing some preference for applicants who are bringing the scores they want to see-along with the 3.8-4.0 uw gpa they prefer, as opposed to applicants who have great grades and no testing. (I do realize admissions always makes exceptions here and there for someone, so a GPA, a number, a marker, a threshold, whatever, is never set in stone.) Just from what I’ve seen this first cycle, it really does seem to be the case right now, at least for me that’s what it seems.

I’m not saying that’s fair if someone doesn’t have tests, and for all I know, admissions probably doesn’t think it’s fair either, but what are ya gonna do? It is what it is. If I had two applicants with the same high GPA and course rigor, and they both blew me out of the water with their essays, and one had great test scores and the other didn’t have them at all, I’d probably go with the one who was able to get to a testing center somewhere, even if my office was telling applicants that it didn’t really matter. My point with this is, I have no idea how each individual reader is handling a situation like the one I just cited. Of course, the admissions people are usually—depending on when it is during the reading cycle—reading apps for a specific area or region, and that’s also leveling things a bit with whether or not someone had scores. So, if someone got to a testing center in said state or location or school, and someone else in that same state, location, or exact same school didn’t, I’d be fibbing if I told you I wouldn’t go with the one with those solid test scores. One caveat to all this is that it’s most likely rare that two apps are really that equal, but I’m guessing it does happen every now and then. For that reason, I’d still try to get to a testing center and would do all I could to get that 710 to at least a 750+, which I know the OP can probably do. That’s just my two cents, and it’s probably wrong. Just something to chew on. I’d be covering my cute tail.

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Sure, you could improve your language subscore, probably without a lot of work. But would it make any difference? While YMMV, 1510 was exactly the score that was good enough for my D to get into a college with a single-digit acceptance rate this year.
But my guess is that you’ll try to retake it because why not, there’s time, and why torture yourself later that maybe, just maybe, it would have mattered.

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Admission, in the end, really isn’t about grades and scores. I would spend your time and energy on something else that you really want to spend your time and energy on.

It is not fair to favor those who submit scores, for many reasons, including the fact that they have said they are test-optional. Kids without cars, loss of family income during COVID, or with health conditions would certainly be disadvantaged. Favoring those with test scores goes against everything top schools have been saying they were trying to do in terms of equity for quite a few years.

That said, they are going to have to use other ways to determine ability to do the work, if anyone in admissions feels that scores do that. I am not sure they do.

Even in non-COVID times there is recognition that money buys test prep and other advantages. Back in the dark ages when I took the SAT’s, they were aptitude tests and none of us prepped at all.

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