Super Scoring & College Admissions

Super Scoring has become commonplace in the college admissions process. The common application even has a section now where you can super score your tests. But what is Super Scoring and how does it affect your college admissions?

As the name implies, Super Scoring is the best of your test scores. Over time, the College Board and the college admissions officers have made their approach to testing more flexible. Super Scoring comes into the picture only when a student has taken the tests multiple times and would want to pick the highest scores of individual sections from multiple tests to have a better overall score.

For example, let’s say a student takes the SAT Test in March and scored a 600 on Critical Reading, 650 on Math, and 550 on Writing, for a composite SAT Test Score of 1800. Then the same student takes the SAT Test again in October and scores a 650 on Critical Reading, 600 on Math and 600 on Writing for a composite SAT Test Score of 1850. In an effort to allow students to show themselves off at their best, officials have allowed students to highlight their best efforts on the ACT and SAT. So with Super Scoring, the student can poach the best section scores from each SAT Test date to create the best possible out come for the test. In this case, the Super Score composite would be 650 on Critical Reading (from the October SAT Test), 650 on Math (from the March SAT Test) and 600 on Writing (from the October SAT Test) for a composite Super Score of 1900.

ACT and SAT won’t Super Score for you but many colleges will. To find out you need to ask the college where you intend to apply if they Super Score. Don’t be surprised when you find that some schools will Super Score one test but not the other. ACT Super Scoring isn’t as prevalent among institutions probably because the ACT is a composite score. When a college admission officer sees an ACT score of 27, for instance, they don’t know what the underlying scores are for English, Science, Math and Reading.

So does it make sense to Super Score for everyone? Not always because Super Scoring comes down to the math. Leaprogram.com gives the example of a student who takes the ACT Test: the first time she scores 93 points for a 23.25 composite that’s rounded down to a 23. The student takes the test again a second time scores 94 points for a 23.5 composite, rounded up to a 24. If you Super Score you get 95 points for a 23.75 average, rounded to a 24. The family was shocked to learn that the student would need to gain four more points across the test to get a 24.5 which would round up to the 25 average she covets.

According to Leaprogram.com, since the student had not yet done any test prep, it would make more sense to engage in some prep and test one more time in the fall. However, statistics show that most students don’t increase their test scores the third time around, as compared to second attempts. In a case like this she might just be better off investing her time in writing a great essay and flawless application.

Make sure to do the math before you decide if Super Scoring will work for you. If you decide to retest, do it early so you have more time to make a decision. Open test registration for fall tests is in July of each year for both the ACT and SAT.

To learn more about how Westface College Planning can help you prepare for college call us at 650-587-1517 or sign up for one of our Tackling the Runaway Costs of College Workshops.

Photo Credit: JobyOne

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