View Full Version : Should i retake the SAT?

sotally tober
01-13-2003, 10:05 AM
I am writing this at risk of me sounding like a pompous ass.

Heck, anyway, my problem is this: should i take the SAT again?


I recently took the SAT back in December, and scored 1510. I must confess that the score I was aiming for is 1520 and above. But, now, having realised that higher scores are within reach, should i go for it?

I'm not American, so other than a general 'it's not bad', I have not much idea where it stands.

FYI, I'm neo-college material, and I need a high SAT score for a scholarship. I figure I could do better for the 2nd time round; but I'm not sure by how much [but i'm pretty sure itll be a positive improvement] . Also, time and money are important resources to be considered too.

If I have to resit for the exam, I have to do it soon, by the end of the year.

So, my fellow dopers, what gives.

A little advice?


My Darn Snake Legs
01-13-2003, 10:29 AM
I only took the SAT once and that was because I got the score that I needed for my university. A 1510 is a pretty bad ass score in my book! Isn't the top score a 1600?

Still, the test is not incredibly expensive and it you feel that you can do better on it the 2nd time around I'd say go for it!

Why settle for less than your best? Especially so if a scholarship is involved!

01-13-2003, 10:31 AM
1510? That is a high SAT. Our daughter got a full scholarship with a score of 1290.

There are two types of college scholarships: merit and need. SATs help in the merit category, but so do good grades in high school as well as a track record of taking challenging courses. Need scholarships are based on how much money you earn, and if you're worried about paying for college, there's a good chance you'll get some need-based aid.

It wouldn't hurt to take it again -- college usually take the highest SAT scores, so it won't make a difference if you do worse. But I wouldn't be concerned about your scores.

Fretful Porpentine
01-13-2003, 11:02 AM
I'd say do what you like, but don't bet on getting a higher score the second time. The SAT is generally more accurate at measuring differences between students in the middle of the score range; an element of randomness comes into play with upper-end scores like yours. Most admissions officers are aware that there is no practical difference between a student who scores a 1510 and one who scores, say, a 1550.

On the other hand, getting a perfect 1600 does have a certain cachet, and if you're feeling lucky it can't hurt to try.

01-13-2003, 11:07 AM
I also had a lower than anticipated score, primarily in Math. I was dead tired when I took it. I took it again, focusing on Math, and was much happier with my score. If you can, and think you'll do better, please take it again.

01-13-2003, 01:04 PM
First time I took it, I got 1370/1600. Second time, I got 1490. For me, knowing that I already had a good score to fall back on really allowed me to relax -- I was stressed the first time I took it, and didn't think as clearly.

However, I think the ETS reports both scores, so if you have a bad day and get 1350, it may weaken your 1520, which is an excellent score. In your case, I would only retake it if you think you may not get into the school you want to go to with a 1520.

01-13-2003, 01:26 PM
You could if you wanted. I did, and ended up with 690 V/790 M. I thought that worthwhile.

01-13-2003, 03:46 PM
The answer to your question depends on one thing only: will 1520 get you into the college you really want to attend?

If the answer is "yes" (and I'm almost certain it is), then there's no compelling reason to take it again.

01-13-2003, 04:13 PM
Um I scored 1520. :D

And yet I still barely graduated high school and am now rotting in a damned community college. I feel depressed and sick.

01-13-2003, 04:21 PM
Originally posted by Fretful Porpentine
Most admissions officers are aware that there is no practical difference between a student who scores a 1510 and one who scores, say, a 1550.

Ditto. A 1510 will get you into any school in the country. You have nothing else to prove.

01-13-2003, 05:29 PM
With that score, I wouldn't bother. You can, more or less, name your price with that score at a lot of universities. I had colleges wanting to throw money at me with a 1310. Plenty more will want a 1510.

Besides, you're much more likely to lose points on retests. The score report from my last SAT test informs me that the average person with my verbal score (a 790...now *that* was a fluke) loses 36 points on a retesting. Pretty big difference.

Albert Rose
01-13-2003, 05:42 PM
Invest your money instead. Your 1510 is excellent.

01-13-2003, 08:25 PM
For the record, it is not at all the case that a high SAT score guarantees admittance to the college or university of your choice.

Trust me on this one.

01-13-2003, 10:01 PM
I just wanted to pop in with the fact that some universities will let you use the top score in each section, meaning that if you test twice and get a 800 V/ 700 M the first time and a 700 V/800 M the second time, you can essentially report that you got a 1600, instead of a 1500. I have an acquaintance who got a 1600 on two tries. While not as impressive as getting a perfect score on one try, it sure ain't bad.

01-14-2003, 12:37 AM
How does an 1180 rate? How hard will I have to look for scholarships or financial aid?

Super Gnat
01-14-2003, 12:53 AM
Average score is 1000, so 1180 isn't that bad. You might want to take it again though.

I got a 1500 with scores from two different testings, and nobody cared. They'll just attribute a low testing score to a bad day and ignore it. If the disparity is unbeliveably great the College Board is probably breathing down your neck anyways, so *shrug*. And I got accepted at 2 Ivy League schools, so you're probably set as long as you have a decent GPA.

sotally tober
01-14-2003, 08:03 AM
Thanks for the advice; I appreciate it.

I am seriously thinking of retaking the test, but it'll take me a while to decide.

Meanwhile, I'll just keep my options open.:D

01-14-2003, 08:48 AM
Oh man, I feel like I'm in high school again. "So what did you get on the SAT?" :: puke :: Btw, a 1510 is a kick ass score, you should be fine. That is, assuming your grades are dandy... and extra curriculars/community involvement, have great teacher recommendations, write a killer essay, bla bla bla and whatever else garbage college admissions officers are looking for. Good luck with admissions. Not that you need it with your uberscore. Getting in is the hardest part. After that, you're more or less set. Just slack off, enjoy the parties and end up with a degree for doing nothing other than boozin' for four years straight. Unless you're a sucker like myself and plan on going to law school or graduate school in general. In that case, you actually have to pay attention in class and try to get good grades and stuff.

01-14-2003, 09:54 AM
Don't take it again. There is too much to lose and very little to gain. While a 1510 certainly does not guarantee you admission to any of the most selective schools, it is plenty good enough to get you into any of them if the other factors are up to par (grades, essay etc.).

Harvard loves to publish how many people they turn down every year with 1600 SAT's. That is usually because those students have some other strike against them. Perhaps they got smug with their test scores and perhaps let their grades slip. On the other hand, all of the top schools accept students every year with SAT scores far (and sometimes very far) below yours for a variety of reasons.

It sounds like you are obsessed with that one little composite score when nobody else is going to be. Don't put on a vanity show. It is never flattering. Use that energy in more productive ways for your future.

01-14-2003, 10:04 AM
Double what I just said. I just looked up the median scores for all U.S. colleges and CalTech has the highest median SAT score in the nation at 1400 and MIT is 2nd at 1375. You admitted that you didn't know how your score compared so that should put it in perspective. I don't know where you got the idea that 1520 has any significance but it doesn't.

01-14-2003, 10:40 AM
Originally posted by MaxTheVool
For the record, it is not at all the case that a high SAT score guarantees admittance to the college or university of your choice.

Trust me on this one.

Oh, I DO trust you. There are other factors at work in the admissions process, especially at the elite colleges. If the OP wants to go to Harvard, MIT, Cal Tech, or some other such elite school, he'll be competing against a LOT of people with very high SAT scores. So, the admissions departments can be very choosy. If the OP has poor high school grades, the admissions department may discount the high SAT score ("smart kid who doesn't study or work hard- who needs more of those?").

So, it's true that the SAT isn't everything, and the OP's 1520 score doesn't guarantee he'll get into his favorite college. But if he DOESN'T get into his favorite school, it WON'T be because his SAT score was 10 or 20 points too low.

01-14-2003, 10:41 AM
Unless things have changed since I took the SATs many years ago, your scores aren't reported unless you request them to be reported.

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