New Trends in SAT Prep
Conventional wisdom held that students should try not to take the SAT more than three times; after that, college admissions officials apparently looked unfavorably on such repetitious testing.
Times have changed. Now, because of the combination of "superscoring" the SAT and the introduction of "score-choice," the minimum number of times most students should take the SAT is three times. Here is why superscoring and score-choice are such a powerful combination:
When colleges superscore the SAT (which most colleges do), they take a student's highest score from each section across multiple tests. Here are three examples of a student's test scores and how much superscoring can help.
As we can see, the composite scores remained roughly the same (which is in line with research by the College Board that SAT scores tend to stay somewhat constant without preparation in between examinations). However, the College Board states that each section score is actually a range of 60 points. For instance, a Critical Reading score of 590 is expected, according to the College Board, to vary between a score of 560 and 620.
These variances in sections scores, even if the overall composite scores on test dates do not increase, is what can create a great superscore. The superscore for these three test dates would be a 1770 -- a 60 point increase just from taking the test again! That might not seem like a lot, but college admissions officers state that even a 30 point difference in scores can make or break a student's acceptance into a school. Superscoring can increase a student's score by more than twice that amount.
With the addition of score-choice, students can test and re-test as many times as they would like and only send scores from the test dates of their choice. (Because there are three sections on the SAT, the maximum number of tests that a student would need to send to create their highest superscore is three tests.) Score-choice not only alleviates pressure when taking the test (which in itself can lead to a better score), but it also allows students to choose from innumerable tests to make the highest superscore possible.
Students can now enter the SAT with less pressure than ever before and choose between test scores to demonstrate their true potential to colleges.