If you’ve taken the SAT or ACT more than once but are still unhappy with your score, you may want to superscore your test results. Many colleges and universities allow students to submit a composite score for either test, enabling you to choose your best scores for each section taken from multiple test dates and create an overall score that is higher than any one-day test result.
How SAT Superscoring Works
The SAT consists of two sections: Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. The maximum score for each section is 800. The composite score is the score for both sections put together. Here is an example of how a student could superscore the SAT in order to increase his or her chances of getting into a prestigious college or university:
The first time Sally took the SAT, she scored 550 on Math and 700 on Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. Because she was unhappy with her composite score of 1250, she studied up on Math and re-took the SAT a few months later. On her second test, she scored 650 in Math but only 600 in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. Sally’s composite score for the second test was still 1250, but she can superscore it by adding the higher Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score from the first test to the higher Math score from the second test. Her composite score would then be 1350.
Superscoring the ACT
The ACT consists of four sections that each yield a score up to 36. The average grade from all four sections makes up the composite score for the ACT. Even so, the same principle for superscoring the SAT applies to superscoring the ACT. Consider the following example:
The first time Kevin took the ACT, he got a 20 in reading, 25 in math, 30 in English, and 20 in science. His composite score was 24. Because this was rather low, Kevin opted to retake the ACT. This time, he got a 25 in reading, 20 in math, 25 in English, and 25 in science. His composite score from the second test was still 24. However, by superscoring the tests and choosing the highest grades from each section, he would get a composite score of 26.
Bear in mind that although many colleges and universities allow superscoring, not all do. Check the admissions policies of the universities you want to apply to before assuming you can superscore your test. If you discover that the university you want to go to doesn’t accept superscores, don’t get discouraged. Remember that your score is only one factor that the admissions department takes into account when considering your application. Your life experiences, coupled with a personalized written essay, can get you into a great school even if your grades or test scores are less than ideal.
If you’re planning on taking the SAT or ACT a second or third time, optimize your study time to make sure you are studying information that will significantly raise your score. UWorld offers a plethora of practice tests and other tools to help you shore up your weak areas and ace the test of your choice.