Should I Retake the SAT?

I recently took two SAT’s in March and I’m not sure if I should take it a third time. I got a 1520 on my first one (730 V 790 M) and a 1490 on my second one (710 V 780 M) . The higher verbal score was about 20-30 points below what I was scoring on practice tests. If I were to take the SAT again, it would be the May test date. I’ve already signed up for it but I can cancel it if it’s not worth taking (I first wanted to see how I did on the March school day SAT). I’m taking the AP Lang exam this year, which has a MC section similar to the SAT reading. I want to apply to some selective schools (Tufts, NYU, Brown, Vanderbilt). Would a higher score make much of a difference?

Thanks for your advice!

I doubt that “how much” a difference a higher score makes is a question that can be answered. In general, a higher score is better than a lower score, until you at or above 1550 or so where you’re simply in the “top” scoring group. The difference between 1520 and 1550 is unlikely to be large. But every schools has a “last 10 students admitted” and “first 10 students declined”, and the differences between applicants at that level are extremely small.

It may be a question of how confident you are that you can score better, how much time you will invest to take it again, and what else you could do with that time.

Given that it’s in the very near future, that you’ve already registered and only get $10 back for canceling, and almost all schools allow score choice these days, I’d probably lean towards taking it.

Thanks for your reply. I’m not really sure how much better I’ll do if I retake it. I was thinking that studying for my Lang test would help with the SAT reading (that section was my lowest scoring section). I’m still on the fence though. With so many schools going test-optional, it seems like the SAT is not as important as it seems. I think I’ll retake it with some reading prep and see how I do.

It’s not unusual for the difference between those scores to be zero on the raw score. The SAT is scored on a curve. If you happen to take it with a bunch of other strong testers, your score will be lower. Schools know this. My son is a good example. He made a careless mistake (he know that because it was in the easiest category :rofl:) on the math section and missed a single answer. It pushed him down to 760. In the old format, getting one answer wrong on math could result in a score anywhere between 760 and 800. He just took it with a bunch of other stron math students so that mistake hurt more. On another day it would have been an 800.

For the question I got wrong for my first testing date I accidentally bubbled my answer for a percent question as a decimal instead of a percent (if the answer was 12% I bubbled in .12 instead of 12). I got lucky though because I only lost 10 points from that. :sweat_smile:

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Update: I improved my math by 10 points but my English went down. My superscore is now 1530. Would it be worth it to try to bring my English up to at least at 750 to have a 1550 superscore?

Personally, the difference between 1500 and 1550 is marginal, and the time you’ll need to put in could be used for other things like college apps. Are you going to an english/reading related major? If you’re going to a STEM field, an 800 Math score will make up for your lower reading score.

I got a 1550 on my SAT, but with the Test optional policies this year it feels worthless so I don’t think you need to work more on your SAT.

I think it’s easier to improve the math section with prep. English section is more reflective of many many years of reading comprehension, grammar, and frankly, just having grown up hearing proper spoken standard English. I think those scores are probably good enough for anywhere.

It is FAR from worthless. Test optional, but they will still look at your score. Now if it were test blind (which it is in CA), THEN it would be worthless.

This is where I feel that National Merit has become more valuable - it’s an award, but it’s a reflection of superb standardized test scores. Test-blind schools can take into account one’s superb test scores, if they’re presented as National Merit or Commendation awards.

One of my top schools became test blind, so that was a bummer.

I agree about National Merit, great as an award and can provide merit scholarships.

Ok, thanks. I’m not really sure about my major right now but it probably will be something related to math, so I won’t retake. Also, I likely will be a NM Semifinalist because my index is 223, which would help (I scored higher in English on my psat than my sat :sweat_smile:).

That’s fantastic, if you make National Merit. Be sure to submit the paperwork to become a finalist. The beauty of it is that since you can put this award on your applications, it lets test-blind schools know that you are very bright and very high-achieving. It confirms your high GPA and high ability (as compared to someone with a high GPA from a low-performing high school).

Good decision not to retake. Super score of 1530 is more than high enough, such that the time spent preparing for another retake would be better spent on other aspects of the application.

Especially as your verbal SAT testing history appears to be 730, 710 and ? [but less than 730], it might well take a lot of effort to get into the 750+ range and the 20 points superscore difference just wouldn’t be worth it, especially with NMSF - btw congrats!