Take SAT exam again?

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Bitzer
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Take SAT exam again?

Post by Bitzer » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:37 pm

My son is unhappy with his SAT score and believes he can do better (?) given a second chance. My thought is that a second try at the SAT doesn't look good on a college application. My wife says many students retake the SAT and it doesn't really matter. We would like to think he'll do much better the second time around, but that remains to be seen. Any ideas? Thanks

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by Ruprecht » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:38 pm

take it again.

But study first.

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by livesoft » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:47 pm

It is not a problem to take it again. My score went up by 200 points back in the Seventies when I took it again. My first time, I am sure I had a 40+ hours a week job plus high school that semester and I was sick that day. The 2nd time, I was not sick and had ditched the job.this

To make this anecdote more recent, my teenagers and their friends took the SAT more than once without issues.
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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by clevername » Tue Dec 20, 2011 9:48 pm

Nobody will know how many times he took it. When you report scores to schools all they are going to see is the best results from each section. So if you get 800 math and 0 English, and then take it again and get 0 math 800 English, all the school will see is 1600.

There's a new section now that I'm not familiar with, writing I guess, but AFAIK the reporting process hasn't changed.

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by Archie Sinclair » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:35 pm

clevername wrote:Nobody will know how many times he took it. When you report scores to schools all they are going to see is the best results from each section. So if you get 800 math and 0 English, and then take it again and get 0 math 800 English, all the school will see is 1600.

There's a new section now that I'm not familiar with, writing I guess, but AFAIK the reporting process hasn't changed.
I'm afraid that's not so. In general, colleges see all scores. It is sometimes the policy of a school to consider only the highest scores, but not all schools have this policy. There is a new program, "Score Choice," that allows a student to submit only the test from a certain date, if the school allows it, but schools can insist that all scores be provided. http://professionals.collegeboard.com/t ... res/policy. There is, however, no way to submit the math section from one test and the critical reading section from another.

Can I suggest, respectfully, that an investment site isn't the best place to get informed judgments about the latest in standardized testing? A school counselor, or a recent book on "cracking the SAT" or whatever from the library, might be a better source of information backed by real statistical data. Bogleheads wouldn't invest based on somebody's anecdote from decades ago, and they shouldn't make important educational decisions on that basis either.

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by CaliJim » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:42 pm

If you get a 2400 the first time - no need to take it again. If you don't - study and try taking it again and again.

A big improvement will help. A small improvement or no improvement won't matter.

I have been going through the college application process w/ my HS Senior. She took the test twice. Scores in some areas were better, some were the same the second time.

Some colleges say they use the best score from each section.

Other colleges take the scores from the single sitting with the best total score.

In my area, trying to get high SAT scores is a competitive sport. Overachieving parents have their kids start taking it in 10th grade. They have SAT tutors. They attend SAT seminars. They take SAT summer school classes. It's 'out of control' - but in a world with a tight job market, where what college you go to can have a big impact on career choices - it matters.

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by Helloeeze » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:47 pm

My daughter's friend last year took it 7 times. She got into UC Santa Barbara but didn't get into UC Davis.

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by dgm » Tue Dec 20, 2011 11:56 pm

i know someone who took it 3 times. got into MIT.

you can DEFINITELY study to get a better score but you need to practice and study. this is both from personal experience and anecdotal stories

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by sscritic » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:04 am

It's December. Is he a junior?

I took mine in the early 60s. I remember riding my bike over to my girl friend's house when I got my scores because there was a swimming party that day and I knew my friends would be there so I could brag about my scores (my personality was well formed by 16). Swimming party means summer and bragging about scores means second test. So I would have taken it early my junior year and then again in the early summer after my junior year. Fifty years ago (wow, that sounds strange) taking it twice was the norm in my upper middle class environment.

Now why anything that was true fifty years ago should be relevant, I don't know. But this thread did bring back some memories; I remember my main goal was beating Walter C. who had topped my first score and was the leader in the club house before I finished on the 18th green. [This also shows that we tested on different cycles, offset from each other by a couple of months.]

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by ensign_lee » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:11 am

It is definitely the better idea to take it again. Retakes don't count against you...AT ALL. There is literally no reason to, unless of course the cost of taking the SAT itself is a burden.

Best to try to take one of those SAT prep courses he's worried about his score though.

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by celia » Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:04 am

sscritic wrote:It's December. Is he a junior?
If he is a HS senior, the January test scores probably won't get to the colleges in time. He'd need to check what the due date is for each college he is applying to.
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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by nisiprius » Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:24 am

What colleges do is an impenetrable mystery, so ignore all wise talk about what "they" are looking for unless it comes directly from a admissions officer. If your son wants to take it again, let him take it again, because he wants to.

It's good experience in quizmanship. I think he's somewhat likely to do better the second time if for no other reason that the first time is in itself practice for the second. Now he has some idea of what it feels like.

In post-college real life, there will be more high-stakes tests--for the bar exam, for a drivers' license, for Professional Engineer certification, whatever--and most of them can and are taken repeatedly by candidates, so in that sense it's a kind of life preparation.

I agree that he should do some test preparation. In fact, while it is still fresh in his mind, he should be sitting down with, perhaps, some book containing sample tests and doing his best to remember where he was feeling most insecure and what weak spots need to be shored up. I don't think I'd pay a lot of money for a formal test-prep course or anything like that. I think I'd say to him "if you want to take it again, you can, but it's up to you to prepare for it."

P.S. I took a formal mass-administered test a couple of years ago. For adults. Very serious. There were people sitting at desks in the hallway stationed at every corner between the test room and the john so that if you took a body break you were never out of line-of-sight. Boy, was that ever a flashback. Some things never change. Do not break the seal until I tell you. Use a #2 pencil. Be sure your marks are heavy and black. BEGIN. And boy oh boy, in that hushed room, at the end of three hours the sound of the proctor's voice saying "STOP." makes you jump.
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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by dickenjb » Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:26 am

Take it again. No stigma attached. Many kids take it 2-5 times. My son improved his verbal 60 points after I coached him for an hour and he retook the test. From 540 which is not good to 600 which is pretty decent.

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by Rodc » Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:29 am

Being an under achiever I took it as a junior 38 years ago, score was fine so I was done. No desire to work hard and do better. :)

But it was the norm in my middle class neighborhood to take it twice.

I now live in a neighborhood as described by CaliJim and SATs are a competitive sport. Our public high school has had the highest average SAT scores in the state 5 years running. Virtually no one takes it once unless they get a perfect score. We send lots of kids to MIT, Harvard, Stanford, etc (that is a competitive sport too among too many parents, which is not good for many of the kids but that is another topic).
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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by rdmayo21 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:08 am

He should definitely take it again. I never took the SAT, but I did take the ACT 4 times, improving my score by about 3 points each time. Although, test prep is essential.

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by dumbmoney » Wed Dec 21, 2011 10:15 am

I took it (well, what it used to be - I believe the test radically changed some years ago) twice a couple years apart.

And got exactly the same score.
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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by njuser » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:09 pm

Definitely take again, but do a few practice SATs (you can buy a book on Amazon) first. Each one is ~4 hours long but he can complete a section or two at a time. Also go to the College Board website and sign up to receive an 'SAT question of the day' via emails.

Test results will often improve with some practice (and maturity). My son took it in May, got ~1300 (math and reading) then took it again this past October and got 1500 (math and reading) It made the difference between getting a full scholarship to one college vs. not getting anything.

I wouldn't take it more than 3 times total. Is he a junior? Wait until the spring of 2012 or early fall of next year so that he has time to practice.

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by jasonlitka » Wed Dec 21, 2011 12:26 pm

I took the SAT 3 times. Once I was sick and did just OK (I think it was around a 1300 or so). I went again a few months later and pulled (if memory serves) a 1460 which is the score I had submitted on college apps. I went back for a 3rd time AFTER I was accepted to school just to see if I could hit 1500. Missed by 20 points.
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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by VictoriaF » Wed Dec 21, 2011 1:04 pm

nisiprius wrote:In post-college real life, there will be more high-stakes tests--for the bar exam, for a drivers' license, for Professional Engineer certification, whatever--and most of them can and are taken repeatedly by candidates, so in that sense it's a kind of life preparation.
I took a large number of tests in the post-college (real?) life, some of which in the past few years. The Mensa test was the most stressful for me, because one can take it only once. If one fails the general test, American Mensa offers an option of the "culturally-neutral" test. The latter is based on symbols only, and I preferred to be tested in a range of cognitive skills.

As for the SATs, I think taking it two times is OK, but more than that may be interpreted negatively by the college admission officers. One can make a "mistake" the first time, but having had the experience of the first real SAT, there is little excuse for one not doing one's best the second time. However, ultimately this depends on the scores and the college. If one is applying to elite schools and the total score increases from 1580 to 1600, that's probably OK.

But for the elite schools (Harvard, Princeton, etc.), perfect performance on regular SATs is a given. They are more interested in the SAT II subject tests. And with SAT II, one can request to conceal the scores until they are explicitly released. A student can take a large number of the same and different SAT II tests and shortly before applying for college release the best results. The greatest risk here is forgetting to request the release in time.

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by 555 » Wed Dec 21, 2011 3:55 pm

I think Terry Tao only took the Math SAT once. He only got 760, but didn't bother improving it.

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by Bob's not my name » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:12 pm

VictoriaF wrote:But for the elite schools (Harvard, Princeton, etc.), perfect performance on regular SATs is a given.
Yes. 7,000 boys get a perfect 800 on the (now easy) math portion every year. MIT accepts 500 boys, or 7% of that number, and all the elite schools like to brag (after they've bragged about having students from all 50 states) that they reject a lot of perfect SAT scores. Your SAT score should be as good as you can get it, but that and two bucks will get you a cup of coffee.

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by Bob's not my name » Wed Dec 21, 2011 4:14 pm

555 wrote:I think Terry Tao only took the Math SAT once. He only got 760, but didn't bother improving it.
My kid got a 760 at age 13. Good kid, but not a math prodigy. Goes to show how useless the test is.

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by Info_Hound » Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:01 pm

Daughter took the SAT twice and had good results. Worth the money and not considered a bad thing to do by colleges.

Some colleges will take the highest score of each section (vs. session) so it gives an opportunity to boost the lowest score, only if studying is done prior to the test.

OK, something that came to mind while reading this thread. If they are a Senior, it is probably too late to get another SAT test taken prior to the college submittal deadlines. I seem to recall that the latest a Senior could take the SAT and still make most of the college application deadlines was the December test. If they are a Junior then this is not an concern.

Good Luck!

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by momar » Wed Dec 21, 2011 6:48 pm

nisiprius wrote: In post-college real life, there will be more high-stakes tests--for the bar exam, for a drivers' license, for Professional Engineer certification, whatever--and most of them can and are taken repeatedly by candidates, so in that sense it's a kind of life preparation.
Eh?
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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by menlo » Wed Dec 21, 2011 8:42 pm

Bob's not my name wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:But for the elite schools (Harvard, Princeton, etc.), perfect performance on regular SATs is a given.
Yes. 7,000 boys get a perfect 800 on the (now easy) math portion every year. MIT accepts 500 boys, or 7% of that number, and all the elite schools like to brag (after they've bragged about having students from all 50 states) that they reject a lot of perfect SAT scores. Your SAT score should be as good as you can get it, but that and two bucks will get you a cup of coffee.
I second this.
Last edited by menlo on Thu Aug 22, 2013 12:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by TRC » Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:30 pm

I scored less than a 1,000 in 1995. My earnings today are in the multiple six figures on a 4 year degree from a no name private college (and my testing skills still suck). Communication skills, leadership, attention to detail, and work ethic are far more important skills than a silly test.

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by nisiprius » Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:40 pm

Bob's not my name wrote:
VictoriaF wrote:But for the elite schools (Harvard, Princeton, etc.), perfect performance on regular SATs is a given.
Yes. 7,000 boys get a perfect 800 on the (now easy) math portion every year. MIT accepts 500 boys, or 7% of that number...
MIT has been coeducational since 1870, although co-eds were rare until the 1960s when MIT got more serious about it and built a women's dorm. Currently MIT is darned close having equal numbers of male and female undergraduates.

The 19-year-old MIT student who wore a home-made circuit board with flashing lights as a personal fashion accessory, and was naïve enough to think that a mild degree of creative nonconformity was acceptable off-campus, and got arrested at gunpoint at Logan Airport because of it, was a Tech coed, bless her.

Added: She has a blog. With entries like Valves and Actuators I Know and Love Part 1: Storm Surge Valves.
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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by VictoriaF » Wed Dec 21, 2011 9:42 pm

TRC wrote:I scored less than a 1,000 in 1995. My earnings today are in the multiple six figures on a 4 year degree from a no name private college (and my testing skills still suck). Communication skills, leadership, attention to detail, and work ethic are far more important skills than a silly test.
The "silly test" requires communication skills, attention to detail and work ethic, if not leadership.

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by ram » Thu Dec 22, 2011 12:44 am

My son took SAT twice. He says many/most(not all) colleges look at the best score in each subject.
He went from 760 to 800 on reading from junior yr to senior yr, but dropped from 760 to 730 on math.

He also took the ACT twice.
Ram

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by Bob's not my name » Thu Dec 22, 2011 4:08 am

nisiprius wrote:
Bob's not my name wrote:7,000 boys get a perfect 800 on the (now easy) math portion every year. MIT accepts 500 boys, or 7% of that number...
MIT has been coeducational since 1870
I know, but the math on the math isn't as bad for girls (500/3,000) so I cherry-picked my data.

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by nisiprius » Thu Dec 22, 2011 9:50 am

Bob's not my name wrote:
nisiprius wrote:
Bob's not my name wrote:7,000 boys get a perfect 800 on the (now easy) math portion every year. MIT accepts 500 boys, or 7% of that number...
MIT has been coeducational since 1870
I know, but the math on the math isn't as bad for girls (500/3,000) so I cherry-picked my data.
Apologies for misunderstanding.
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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by 555 » Sat Dec 24, 2011 12:28 pm

Bob's not my name wrote:
555 wrote:I think Terry Tao only took the Math SAT once. He only got 760, but didn't bother improving it.
My kid got a 760 at age 13. Good kid, but not a math prodigy. Goes to show how useless the test is.
This seems like a very good score at that age, (okay so Terry Tao was 8, but that's an extreme case) so now I'm curious how hard this is. I have an advanced Kindergartner, so I'm curious about these kinds of things for the future.

Does it involve taking all high school subjects first? What percentage of 13 year olds can do this, 1%?, 0.1%?, 0.01%?

I saw this
http://cty.jhu.edu/set/index.html
http://cty.jhu.edu/set/eligibility.html
where a SAT score of at least 700 by age 13 qualifies a student for their highly selective program, which suggests these score at these ages are rare. Were you involved in such things?

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by Rajsx » Sun Dec 25, 2011 8:17 am

Have him take it again, my son was better off retaking it & so were his friends. Do visit this site, it will give you all the info about the SAT & ACT scores & college admissions. http://www.collegeconfidential.com

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by InsideTheCult » Sun Dec 25, 2011 8:33 am

Bob's not my name wrote:My kid got a 760 at age 13. Good kid, but not a math prodigy. Goes to show how useless the test is.
Useless? Wow, what an uneducated Prole of a parent.
760 is a great score, and MOST people can't do this even with expensive tutors.
He's got a gifted son who has mastered Algebra and Geometry by 8th grade.
Yet, this A-hole of a father dismisses it. Sorry, but what a grade-A piece of shiite parent

This is the same uneducated low class mentality that will either not allow his kid to go to college ("since it's a buncha book learnin' crap")
or send him to a 3rd rate state school (b/c of his miser tendencies) forcing his brilliant kid to hang out with meth addicts.

Take some of your cheapskate Boglehead savings and spend it on some lifetime therapy for your son. He's going to need it.

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by JimHalpert » Sun Dec 25, 2011 8:57 am

won't hurt to take it again; a lot of kids do.

perhaps the question should be if your child should take the ACT exam instead. they test knowledge differently, find out the differences between it and the SAT and decide.

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by TomatoTomahto » Sun Dec 25, 2011 10:54 am

InsideTheCult wrote:
Bob's not my name wrote:My kid got a 760 at age 13. Good kid, but not a math prodigy. Goes to show how useless the test is.
Useless? Wow, what an uneducated Prole of a parent.
760 is a great score, and MOST people can't do this even with expensive tutors.
He's got a gifted son who has mastered Algebra and Geometry by 8th grade.
Yet, this A-hole of a father dismisses it. Sorry, but what a grade-A piece of shiite parent

This is the same uneducated low class mentality that will either not allow his kid to go to college ("since it's a buncha book learnin' crap")
or send him to a 3rd rate state school (b/c of his miser tendencies) forcing his brilliant kid to hang out with meth addicts.

Take some of your cheapskate Boglehead savings and spend it on some lifetime therapy for your son. He's going to need it.
Man oh man, I interpreted "Bob's" post entirely differently. I took it as a modest form of bragging about his son or daughter (why did you assume it was a son??? :) ). Ask yourself how many "grade-A piece of shiite parents" have their children in a position to take the SAT, much less score to so well. My take, over and above the gentle boasting, is that Bob (not his name) views the test as not massively indicative, but I think he secretly feels his child is just a little bit of a prodigy.

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by Ozonewanderer » Sun Dec 25, 2011 11:51 pm

I would vote to take it again. IIRC colleges just use the highest score for admission evaluation purposes. In the 60's I first took the Preliminary SAT (PSAT) which was supposed to be a good predictor of how I would do on the SAT's. On the actual SAT exam my score went up 40%. I would think one would have a good chance of getting a better score the second time around.

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Re: Take SAT exam again?

Post by 555 » Tue Dec 27, 2011 3:51 am

555 wrote:
Bob's not my name wrote:
555 wrote:I think Terry Tao only took the Math SAT once. He only got 760, but didn't bother improving it.
My kid got a 760 at age 13. Good kid, but not a math prodigy. Goes to show how useless the test is.
This seems like a very good score at that age, (okay so Terry Tao was 8, but that's an extreme case) so now I'm curious how hard this is. I have an advanced Kindergartner, so I'm curious about these kinds of things for the future.

Does it involve taking all high school subjects first? What percentage of 13 year olds can do this, 1%?, 0.1%?, 0.01%?

I saw this
http://cty.jhu.edu/set/index.html
http://cty.jhu.edu/set/eligibility.html
where a SAT score of at least 700 by age 13 qualifies a student for their highly selective program, which suggests these score at these ages are rare. Were you involved in such things?
I found out an answer to my question, which is that getting a score of at least 700 in the Math SAT prior to age 13 puts one in the top 0.01%. So the test is good at separating the upper levels for younger kids, even if it is useless for this for high school seniors.

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