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The SAT Superscore is a fairly recent concept that has come about in the realm of standardized testing and college admissions.
The basic idea behind the SAT super score is that a college will look at multiple SAT test dates that you’ve taken, and combine your highest scores in each section from across the different test dates to give you a “superscore” that may be higher than any individual SAT score you received.
An example of how SAT Superscoring works:
To clarify the idea of the SAT superscore, let me give you an example of an SAT prep student who takes two different official SAT tests.
Test 1: Math: 560, Critical Reading: 580, Writing: 480, Total SAT score: 1620
Test 2: Math: 580, Critical Reading: 540, Writing: 570, Total SAT score: 1690
SAT Superscore: Math: 580, Critical Reading: 580, Writing: 570, Total SAT Superscore: 1730.
As you can see, this student’s SAT superscore is higher than either SAT exam by itself. It is calculated by combining the higher Math and Writing scores from Test 2 with the higher Critical Reading score from Test 1.
Seems like a great deal, right? You get a higher score than you would otherwise! SAT superscoring can be extremely helpful to students who take the SAT more than once (as most students should anyway).
Will SAT Superscoring help me? Maybe not:
In my professional opinion, the SAT superscore comes with a two-part disclaimer:
First of all – if you’re being superscored, so is everyone else that you’re competing with. So in the end, I’m not sure that anything has really changed – college admissions are just as competitive as they were before.
Second – not all colleges will superscore the SAT. Nowadays, many admissions offices WILL superscore and are most interested in your best performance on each section. They understand that test day is difficult and stressful and you aren’t always feeling your best.
After a bit of digging, I found a list of colleges that superscore the SAT, straight from the College Board. This list will give you an excellent idea of how each college will view your SAT scores from multiple test dates: SAT Score Use Practices by College.
One big warning about that list: don’t just trust the list for important college decisions, because it may not be updated often enough. CALL or e-mail each college individually and ask what their SAT superscore practices are if you really want to know!
Do colleges superscore the ACT test too?
Just if you’re curious, I did some research on this topic, and some colleges also superscore your ACT exam.
However, my research seems to indicate that more colleges superscore the SAT than the ACT.
Just food for thought – after all, I’ve been saying for a long time that if you’re going to do standardized test prep, it’s smarter to stick with SAT prep than with ACT prep!
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