Superscoring is a method of score interpretation that lets you select your best section scores from multiple tests to get a new final score, thus giving you an edge over other test takers. If you think you did not perform up to the mark on an SAT® or ACT® test, you can always retake it, and choose your best scores to be sent to your prospective colleges.
Before we step into the details of what SAT and ACT superscores are and how they are calculated, let’s first address a few important questions about superscoring.
Who is eligible and do all colleges allow superscoring?
All students who have taken the SAT/ACT more than once are eligible for superscoring, but not all colleges accept superscores. To know if the colleges of your choice accept superscores for the SAT/ACT, it’s recommended that you check out their test score use policy.
Can superscores be trusted?
There have been some concerns that focusing on just the top subject-test results is not an accurate way of checking the aptitude of students. However, research has shown that SAT/ACT superscores predict college readiness more than any other scores.
Is superscoring fair to all student populations?
Yes, research has shown that superscoring did not change the differences in SAT/ACT performance, thus making it fair to all the students with no disadvantages to any group of students.
Are you interested in knowing what an SAT superscore is?
SAT superscoring is a way of score interpretation where colleges consider your best section-level scores from different SAT exams. Here’s an example. The first time you took the SAT, you scored 550 on Math and 700 on Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. You were unhappy with your composite score of 1250, decided to study up on Math, and then retake the SAT a few months later. On your second test, you scored 650 in Math but only 600 in Evidence-Based Reading and Writing. That means your composite score for the second test was still only 1250.
Here is where you can superscore by adding the higher Evidence-Based Reading and Writing score from the first test to the higher Math score from the second test. Now your composite score would be 1350.
Note that the same procedure of superscoring will also be followed for the digital SAT where you will be able to select your best Reading and Writing, and Math section scores from multiple test dates to get a new composite score.
How to calculate your SAT superscore?
Let’s say you take the SAT twice. When you get your results, you need to look for your best section scores. Once you have selected your highest section scores from multiple dates, you can add them together to get a new composite score.
Refer to the example of the SAT superscore calculator in the table below to understand in detail how superscoring works.
|Section score||SAT Score #1||SAT Score #2||Superscore|
What is the difference between superscoring and Score Choice®?
Where superscoring allows the colleges to choose your best section scores from all your SAT scores, score choice gives you the option of choosing which SAT score report you want to send to colleges. For example, you take the SAT three times and receive 950, 1200 and 1050 as your respective scores. You can send the score report from your second attempt to prospective colleges for consideration using the score choice option.
To send your SAT superscore to colleges, be sure to check out our blog on which colleges superscore the SAT.
Wondering what ACT Superscore is? Read on! Your superscore is formed by your best individual section scores contributing to your finest composite score.Your highest score from each section from different tests is combined to form the highest composite score. It is necessary to have scores from at least two test events in order to send a superscore. If a college to which you are applying accepts ACT superscores, sharing your superscore will make you a more competitive applicant than the rest.
How to calculate an ACT superscore?
You need to compare your English, Mathematics, Reading, and Science section results from different tests and choose the highest score from each section. Once you have selected your highest score from each section, divide the sum of all the scores by four to find your new composite score. In case you receive the result in a decimal form, round it up to the nearest whole number.
To help you understand this process in detail, we have put together an example of the ACT superscore calculator in the following table.
|Section score||ACT Score #1||ACT Score #2||Superscore|
Does the ACT writing score count toward a superscore?
No, as the writing section score does not contribute to your ACT composite score, it is not taken into account for superscoring.
How is the ACT Composite score different from an ACT superscore?
The composite score is the average of the four subject scores from one test attempt. On the other hand, your ACT superscore involves the best subject scores from multiple test attempts. Note that your superscore will always be higher than your composite score from a single test.
To send your ACT superscore to colleges, read our blog on which colleges accept an ACT superscore.
Tips for Applying to Schools That Superscore SAT or ACT
Follow these tips for applying to schools that superscore:
- Start by taking the exam early: Since superscoring gives you the advantage of taking the test multiple times, be sure to start taking the test at the beginning of your junior year. This will give you enough time to work on sections that require practice.
- Practice across multiple test dates: Because you can take the test multiple times, focus your practice on specific sections for specific test dates. Since superscoring removes the pressure of a good total score, your goal should be achieving the highest scores on specific sections.
- Concentrate on one section at a time: With superscoring, you are not burdened with preparing for the whole test, so take this into account while making a study plan. Concentrate on one section at a time.
- Keep an eye on acceptable college scores from previous years: Checking out the previous acceptable scores for colleges that superscore will give you an idea about how many points you need to score for each section to get admission.