First post. My son has taken the ACT 3 times. He’s currently a junior. He’s scored a 34 each time and it’s frustrating him. His superscore is a 35. Two questions. When universities report data regarding ACT scores (top and bottom quartiles, scores in order to qualify for a scholarship, etc), are they referring to superscores or a score on a single sitting? Secondly, he wants to take it again. How do colleges feel about an applicant taking the test 4 times?

He doesn’t need to take the act again. A 34 is a great score and most schools do superscore so will use the 35. Time to focus on the rest of the application.


I’m a test prep tutor. I would never suggest to a kid with three 34’s and a super score of 35 that he take the test again. He has many better things he could be doing with his time. With a score that strong, he is tempting fate and may get a worse score than his other attempts, which is very common. The higher the initial score, the harder it is to improve it.

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Varies by school. There is no common framework for college to follow when filling out CDS.

As the poster boy for overtesting. At least that’s how I’d view it. Time to focus on other aspects of the application as there is no need to retake a 34 for the 3rd time. And risk a lower score.

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I agree with you. I’m not suggesting at all that he take it again. I’m trying to talk him out of it. He just felt he could improve another point on the 2nd and 3rd attempts. You are confirming what I thought to be true. I appreciate it.

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I am always in favor of playing the parent card: “Sorry son, but I’ve paid for that test three times and you have three spectacular scores. I don’t want to waste my money, and more importantly, your time, on something that will have no tangible benefit.”


Others who have commented have far more experience than I do, but I think I would frame the discussion with my son in terms of, what can he do with his time that will make him a more interesting, memorable candidate? What can he do that HE will find interesting and memorable? I think something along those lines will set him apart more than another point or two on the ACT.

From the data definitions:

If a student submitted multiple sets of scores for a single test, report this information according to how you use the data. For example:

• If you consider the highest scores from either submission, use the highest combination of scores (e.g., verbal from one submission, math from the other).

• If you average the scores, use the average to report the scores.

Almost all top schools superscore the SAT, so the CDS data typically is superscored. I know ACT superscoring isn’t quite as universal, so it depends on the school’s policy.