Super score strategies after a 34

Hi all, my son is scheduled to take the ACT again this upcoming Saturday. He scored a 34 on his first ACT and at this point he’s really only taking another to try to super score.

He scored a 36 on English and a 9/10 on his essay. These and every other section were at the top end of his practice tests. Only exception was Math. On math his practices ranged from 33-36 and he posted a 33.

From a super score perspective, the only score he isn’t fully happy with is Math.

I have an extreme question and then a more realistic question:

Extreme: since Math is the only score with a realistic chance of an increase, is there any negative consequence of not answering any section but Math? Ie. could he be doing mind exercises and mediation right up until Math?

More realistic: He sees no point in taking English (36) or the essay (9/10). Can he blow these sections off?

I ask this not to shirk work. I ask because being intellectually on point for hours and hours is really frigging hard. The more he can focus on the one section where he underperformed, the better I think he’ll do.

All of this is purely based on Super scoring. Our list of schools all super score.

There might be a negative consequence of not answering the other sections. It would be odd and could signal laziness, not worth taking the chance IMO. He’ll be sitting for the other sections anyway, but he can still focus on the math section. Its what my DD did and it worked for her. Also depending on the school the AO sees all the scores, its only when they go to the admissions board do the edit the scores so that the board only sees the superscore, if the AO decides they don’t like your scores/application you may not make it to the board.

If he applies to a school that requires you to submit all scores you’re going to have one very low score to report. I think if it’s that important to him to retake it he should plan on doing the whole test with effort.

In addition to what was mentioned above, IMO, you also run the risk of having the score flagged by the testing agency if there is a huge drop. They could question the validity of the first result.

If a student is retaking, the best effort needs to be made on all sections.

The essay section is optional and thus you can choose not to sign up for it. However, a college that actually requires the essay may not use a test that has no essay section done.

It is my understanding that ACT cancels tests that leave a section unanswered.

As to just blowing off a section by doing something like providing random answers without reading any of the questions or answers, be aware that colleges that superscore state they use the highest section scores in determining admission; however, that policy does not in any way prevent the college from considering against you the fact that it appears you purposefully blew off sections of the test. Moreover, if the resulting score is much lower than your existing score, ACT will likely flag the test for investigation and then probably cancel it, or, much worse, ACT will cancel your first test.

I would stop worrying about the ACT score and start worrying about other parts of the application. (ESSAY)