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How Can Super Scoring Help My SAT/ACT Scores?

If you’re applying to college, you may have heard friends talk about “super scoring” the SAT or ACT, but not know exactly what this entails. What is “super scoring?” Which colleges do it? And which tests (SAT or ACT or both) does it apply to? These are the right questions to ask, and here are some helpful answers.

First, what is a super score?

Super score /ˈso͞opər skôr/

Verb

1. to aggregate the section scores of an SAT or ACT test so that the composite score is composed of the highest section scores from more than one test.

“I got a 650 EBRW and 700 Math score on my December test and a 680 EBRW and 690 Math score on my January test, so my super score is 680 EBRW and 700 Math, or 1380 composite. Awesome sauce!”

In other words, if you take the SAT or ACT more than once, some colleges may be willing to look at your best score in each section to give your a combined total score that’s higher than what you got on any single test day.

Consider the following scenario:

SAT tests
Date EBRW Math Composite
October 620 680 1280
November 650 650 1300
December 680 660 1340
Super score 680 680 1360


Whether you are taking the SAT or ACT, we typically it is recommended that you take the chosen either test more than one time. The
ACT reports that, of students who took the test more than once, 57% were able to increase their composite scores. Our own internal data show that students typically achieve their best scores after the second or third 2-3 official test attempts.

If you are taking the test more than once, you may have questions about whether the colleges on your list will consider super scoring your results. That is, which colleges super score? And for which tests?

For the majority of colleges, if you submit multiple SAT tests, they will take the highest section scores from any test sitting and combine them for a super score. As in the above table, even though the highest composite score from the three tests was in December, the super score ended up higher due to an impressive Math score in October.

While most colleges super score the SAT, only a few have warmed up to the idea of super scoring for the ACT. A few notable institutions that super score the ACT include Boston College, Bowdoin, Claremont McKenna, Davidson College, Johns Hopkins, Seattle University, Tufts, and UNC – Chapel Hill. Georgia Tech is unique in that it super scores the SAT and ACT test individually or together, taking the highest section scores from both tests.

Your typical college will simply take the highest composite ACT score. Consider a new scenario in which a student took three ACT tests:

ACT tests
Date English Math Reading Science Composite
September 23 25 21 26 24
October 23 27 24 24 25
December 22 29 22 20 23
Super score 23 29 24 26 26


For this set of tests, most colleges will use the October ACT score of a 25 when considering a student for admissions. The few colleges that super score the ACT would consider the revised composite score of a 26.

It’s always important to make sure you know the exact score review policy for each college you apply to, as these policies vary by school and can change over time.

Because colleges and universities are still updating their websites to reflect their updated SAT and ACT policies, you will want to check with your list of colleges and universities to determine whether  they super score the SAT and possibly the ACT.

Armed with information about super scoring policies, in addition to score choice – a service which allows you to choose which scores to send to colleges – and deleting test scores (a service provided by the ACT), you have many options to put yourself in the best light when the admissions officers look at your test scores.


Applerouth is a trusted test prep and tutoring resource. We combine the science of learning with a thoughtful, student-focused approach to help our clients succeed. Call or email us today at 202-558-5644 or info@applerouth.com.