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Old 06-05-2010, 12:27 PM   #1
miyavvii
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Hi there,
Recently I have undertaken 2 SAT II subjects - the Math Level II and Physics.
I have done well for the math scoring 800 while I have done really bad in Physics , scoring 640 ( did not managed to complete ).

I was wondering if when I retake, would the better of the scores for the Physics subject replace the old one ? Other there would be a history of the scores for the subject taken.

Thanks

Last edited by miyavvii; 06-05-2010 at 12:28 PM. Reason: Would Mod please shift this to the US forum. Thanks
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Old 06-05-2010, 01:51 PM   #2
Butterbeer
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most schools take into account your highest score. even though some schools may get to view a record of all your scores, normally they won't penalise you for improving on your score in subsequent tries.

but there is a caveat to this: too many tries (e.g. more than 3 tries) but only marginal improvement in scores (e.g. 640 to 660 to 680) won't reflect well on you, as it seems that you are unable to improve your proficiency of the subject significantly despite repeated attempts and preparation.
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Old 06-05-2010, 03:42 PM   #3
miyavvii
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oh icic.
Thanks for the verification. Btw, is there a validity period for the results ?
I've ask the invigilator previously but was not able to get a clear answer.
Thanks
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Old 06-05-2010, 04:59 PM   #4
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5 years i think. but please check the college board website.
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Old 06-08-2010, 05:25 PM   #5
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I personally doubt the merit of advising students not to take the SAT more than 3 times. I doubt whether schools really have time to dig up your testtaking record and see how many times you have tried. If a school explicit says it only looks at your highest score/combination (please check this), they couldn't care less about your other scores. Even if a school needs all your scores and doesn't say the above, it does not really mean they will look at all your past scores. Nowadays in most admission offices, test scores are entered into a computer or transferred electronically from testing agencies (eg collegeboard), updated and then printed out on a small slip of paper attached to your file. This is done by a different person (euphemistically called "data entry specialist") from the "readers" (who will decide your fate). So don't fret over this too much.
Anyway I think taking the same test more than 3 times won't probably increase your scores by a lot and is probably just a waste of time which you could have spent on other things.
If a school allows ScoreChoice, use it to give you some peace of mind. And yes, feel free to take physics again.
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Old 06-08-2010, 06:17 PM   #6
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Colleges also have an incentive to consider only your best scores regardless of how many attempts you've taken, because it would boost their admitted students' score profile. This is also why many of them combine your best score for each section of the SAT I across multiple attempts, and not your best total score from a single attempt.
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Old 06-08-2010, 06:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Anyway I think taking the same test more than 3 times won't probably increase your scores by a lot and is probably just a waste of time which you could have spent on other things.
probably the most important point in this entire thread. which leads to the merits of advising one not to take the SAT more than three times.

Quote:
Colleges also have an incentive to consider only your best scores regardless of how many attempts you've taken, because it would boost their admitted students' score profile.
a somewhat irrelevant argument. High scores boost the admitted students' score profile, but only because the admitted students probably have (generally) the highest scores amongst all applicants in the first place. in this case, the technique of considering best scores for applicants with both low or high scores gives neither an advantage.
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Old 06-08-2010, 07:54 PM   #8
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Quote:
a somewhat irrelevant argument. High scores boost the admitted students' score profile, but only because the admitted students probably have (generally) the highest scores amongst all applicants in the first place. in this case, the technique of considering best scores for applicants with both low or high scores gives neither an advantage.
If colleges look unfavourably on retaking the SAT many times, they would only hurt their admitted students' score profile, since they would then exclude some people with high scores from many attempts. By disregarding the number of attempts, they can admit those high-scoring students, which boosts their admitted students' score profile. Therefore,

1) You won't be disadvantaged no matter how many times you attempt the SAT, because colleges have an incentive to treat you the same way they would treat someone with the same score from fewer attempts.

2) Because colleges don't care how many times you take the SAT, if you have the money, you can keep on retaking the SAT until you get a superscore you like. The superscore can only increase, whether by luck or through actual improvement.
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Last edited by LockT31W; 06-08-2010 at 07:57 PM.
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Old 06-08-2010, 08:54 PM   #9
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Quote:
If colleges look unfavourably on retaking the SAT many times, they would only hurt their admitted students' score profile, since they would then exclude some people with high scores from many attempts.
If college looks unfavourably on retaking SAT many times: People who have high scores from many attempts would be excluded because there are people who have the same scores (or better) from fewer attempts.

If college has no preference for either type: People who have high scores from many attempts would be included, but so will those who have the same scores from fewer attempts.

Thus in either case, ceteris paribus, the incentive does not exist since the admitted student profile will not be worse with either outlook.

Following the line of argument, it will then not be safe to assume that colleges will assume the "no preference" outlook if they are rational, since there are no actual incentives to do so.

Hence, you MAY be disadvantaged depending on how many times you take the test and how you fare for each of your attempts.. The discounting effect is not linear and is of course dependent on the quality of the other parts of your application.

Of course, this is under the assumption that colleges rank and choose students according to SAT score only, which is not true in reality.

haha sorry for the seeming excessiveness of this post, its just a rather intellectually interesting issue to stimulate my mind in the midst of NS. the real practical advice is that: don't spend too much unneeded time on the SAT, especially when you know that your test scores aren't going to improve despite repeated attempts, as seen probably from your practice test attempts. . Save the money and the energy for building up a stronger application in other areas. SAT scores ultimately add little marginal benefit after a certain threshold (usually 2200).
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Old 06-08-2010, 10:01 PM   #10
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Quote:
If college looks unfavourably on retaking SAT many times: People who have high scores from many attempts would be excluded because there are people who have the same scores (or better) from fewer attempts.

If college has no preference for either type: People who have high scores from many attempts would be included, but so will those who have the same scores from fewer attempts.
This is exactly what I mean. In the first case, you are excluding some people with high scores from the admitted pool. The college's admitted pool declines in SAT score profile. It's as simple as that. Say you want to admit 2000 students, and it happens that the top 2000 of your applicants have scores >2200, and half of them took the SAT more than 3 times. If you don't exclude them, your score profile is exactly >2200. If you exclude them, you need to make up the difference of 1000 using applicants with lower scores, which hurts your score profile. It's simple arithmetic here.
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Last edited by LockT31W; 06-08-2010 at 10:04 PM.
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