When it comes to standardized tests, simply spending time on practice tests and getting a high score isn’t enough. There are several other factors that you will also have to consider to get the maximum value from tests and to make your scores work for you. First, you have to decide which four schools to send your reports to as part of the free service. Then, you have to decide whether or not to send your ACT / SAT scores to test optional colleges. After that, you also have to find out if the college uses superscoring.
What Exactly Is Superscoring Compared to Just Your ACT / SAT Scores?
Not every college weighs ACT and SAT scores the same way. Some schools require applicants to submit their test scores as part of their application. Some are test optional and others use superscores to weigh and assess test scores.
Schools that use superscoring will look over the scores you’ve obtained in all your test attempts and only consider your highest scores from each section.
Let’s say on SAT Test 1 you scored a 680 in the Verbal section and 700 in the Math section. On SAT Test 2 you scored 650 in the Verbal section and 770 in the Math section. A school that uses superscoring would calculate your composite score bases on 680 Verbal and 770 Math, which are the highest section scores from two different tests.
This could make a huge difference to your application depending on your test scores over multiple tests.
Most colleges apply superscoring only for SAT scores. Only a few apply it for ACT scores. Knowing the superscoring policy of a school will give you a better idea of how your scores will be assessed. This will help you make an informed decision about which test scores to submit if you’ve taken multiple tests.
Here are three things to consider when sending out your test scores to prospective colleges:
1. Find Out Which Colleges Do Superscoring to Weigh Test Scores
You can find this information easily on each school’s website. Most schools publish their superscoring policy alongside other testing policies and application requirements.
If you cannot find the necessary information online for a particular college that you are applying to, you can get the details from their admissions office.
2. Send Only 2 Score Reports, No More
This applies when submitting score reports to any school, regardless of whether they use superscoring or not. The problem with sending more than two score reports is that it gives the appearance that it took you several attempts to ace the tests. This could be particularly damaging to your chances of getting accepted when you’re compared with another applicant who has a comparable academic track record and only one strong test score.
3. How to Choose Which Two Score Reports to Send
Let’s say you took three tests. Ignore the composite scores of all three tests and focus only on the section scores. Select the two reports in which you scored the highest in each individual section. These are the two reports you should submit to a college that uses superscoring to weigh test scores.
Do not use this strategy for colleges that do not use superscoring. When applying to these colleges, you need to submit the test report with the highest composite score.
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