The SAT score choice option is a new development in standardized testing, released by the College Board in March 2009.
Although it’s not exactly a game-changer, score choice can help certain students in the right situations.
To learn more about what SAT score choice is and how to make the best use of it, keep reading!
Score Choice lets you choose what SAT scores show up on your Official Score Reports:
Score choice provides the new option when viewing your SAT scores to choose SAT scores from specific test dates to send to colleges, and withhold scores from other dates.
For example, if you feel like you have one terrible SAT score and one great SAT score from a different day, and you don’t want colleges to ever see or know about your “terrible” score, you can use score choice to send the “great” score and hide the “terrible” score.
You do NOT get to pick and choose which sections you send from a particular date (which is more like SAT Superscoring); you can either send the entire test from a given day, or nothing at all.
Using the Score Choice option for SAT 2 Subject Tests:
One really cool aspect of score choice is the way that you can use it on SAT II subject tests.
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Remember that you’re able to take up to three different 1-hour subject tests in a single day of testing.
What if you ace your Physics subject test but bomb your American History test?
Score choice will now allow you to send ONLY the Physics score and withhold the American History disaster.
In my opinion, this is one of the most useful ways for students to use the Score Choice option.
Now you can take a few extra SAT Subject Tests without worrying that you have to be an expert in that field. You can try it out, and if it goes well, keep the score for that subject – if not, don’t reveal it to colleges.
The purpose of SAT Score Choice and how it helps you:
The main result of having this new option is that you can afford to stress out much less about the SAT.
If you bomb a test on a given day, you won’t have to report it. Just let the stress leave your body as you think about this.
You’ve got real flexibility now in reporting your scores. Send your best, hide your worst. With some of the pressure removed, you can focus on performing in a safer testing environment.
Score Choice is optional and you have to select it yourself:
If you want to make use of the score choice option, you need to make sure to activate it yourself. I’ll explain how in a minute.
If you don’t deliberately choose to use score choice, it is disabled automatically.
In the absence of your score choice selection, all previous SAT test scores will be automatically sent to colleges when you make a score report request from the College Board.
How and When to Get SAT Score Choice:
This should be done either during the test registration process (before the test, when you are choosing where to send your four free score reports) or after your scores are available. On the phone, you’ll just talk to a representative and get things sorted out.
Online, you can simply select the “Send Score Reports” option from your account, and during the process, you will see a large blue button that says “Choose Scores.” Clicking this button will let you select the test dates to send.
If you decide to send all your scores, you can simply ignore this process and all SAT scores will be sent automatically to each school that you send a score report to.
Does Score Choice cost extra money or carry any charges?
No – although there are a variety of fees associated with the SAT test, score choice is a free option.
It costs the same amount of money to send 10 SAT scores to one college as it does to send only 1 SAT score. You’re paying for the act of sending scores to a college, not for the number of scores that you happen to send.
Does Score Choice actually make a difference?
To tell the truth, I don’t think that the new score choice option makes a tremendous difference. Keep in mind that it’s optional and that many students will NOT choose to use it.
Also, most colleges typically only are interested in your highest SAT scores anyway, and just ignore your lower scores.
So, in general, the main function of Score Choice is simply to reduce pressure and stress on students who feel that they cannot afford to make any mistakes or get a low score, ever, on the SAT test.
However, there is definitely a big benefit when it comes to the SAT 2 Subject Tests – using Score Choice to send your strongest subject scores will definitely make things a little easier.
What if I’m unsure about using Score Choice?
If you’re unsure, you should just send all your scores.
Keep in mind that Score Choice is very new (only a few years old) but somehow the college application process has been rolling along fine without it for decades.
Colleges are used to getting multiple SAT scores for an applicant and will have their own methods for prioritizing the different scores.
As a rule of thumb, they’ll be most interested in your highest scores – in your potential – not in bashing you for low scores from earlier tests.
Extra SAT Score Choice links:
For more information about SAT score choice (actually, you basically know everything already, but you can clarify any questions you have), you can follow these links:
- Score Choice policy straight from the College Board
- A very simple and clear breakdown of Score Choice for students
SAT Test Anxiety: What Parents Need To Know
How to Get and Read SAT Scores Online
SAT Superscore: What is it?
The Real Price of the SAT Test: Costs, Charges and Fees
SAT 2 Subject Tests: What Are They and Who Takes Them?