By Matt Larriva, Founder, Powerful Prep

The History and Definition

About a decade ago, The CollegeBoard introduced Score Choice, a system by which students could pick which SAT dates’ results they wanted to send to schools. If you took the test 5 (or 10) times, you could send only one score—presumably your best—and your prospective University would be none the wiser. The ACT followed suit with an equivalent program.
Many colleges saw the potential for test-abuse and responded by asking to see all scores from all proctored sittings. The schools claimed that they would consider the highest score, but wanted to see others for context.
Around this time, the concept of a Super Score evolved. A Super Score is simply a score composed of the highest scores in each section. If you took the SAT twice, first scoring 700 on Math and 500 on Reading, then scoring 500 on Math and 700 on Reading, your Super Score would be 1400 (the highest Math + the highest Reading).

The Old School of Thought and the New Wisdom

Both Score Choice and Super Scores are attempts at putting one’s best foot forward, but they’re both something of a façade, and it was a long-held belief that the more elite institutions would not consider Super Scores nor accept Score Choice. But The Princeton Review and PrepScholar recently performed an interesting analysis suggesting that the tides may be shifting in students’ favor.
We can generally look at what the ultra-competitive universities allow, in order to see a canary for how the admissions landscape is shifting. Of the top 10 schools (US News and World 2016 Universities) here is the breakout:

What Does This Mean?

Unless you’re dead-set on Princeton or Yale, you have some good built-in flexibility in the testing process. Here’s how you can maximize your outcome: plan to test about three times or more. If a school allows score choice, you can maximize your high-score potential without negative repercussions by testing often. Historically, the rule of thumb was don’t test more than three times, but this, we note, is not the case any longer.
Second, this should go a long way to reducing stress levels. Students should take comfort knowing they do not have to be perfect on every section, on every test day. It is enough to be outstanding on one, mediocre on the rest, and then repeat the process, shifting the distribution.
And that, perhaps, is the biggest takeaway: schools are becoming more flexible with their methods of processing students’ test scores, and students are the beneficiaries. Specifically, non-perfect-scoring students (almost all, then) will now have a slight boost, as they have more opportunities to demonstrate their testing prowess.

About the Author

Matthew Larriva is an Ivy League graduate and an expert of test prep, test taking, and the pre-college process. He has passed two of Degree Library’s 10 Hardest Exams in the World including the Mensa admissions exam, and the CFA exam–the test The Wall Street Journal called the world’s hardest test.

He enjoys skydiving, and has played oboe at Carnegie Hall twice. In addition to publishing two books on test prep, Matthew is the founder of Powerful Prep , a leading concierge tutoring firm, dedicated to transparency, massive point gains, and customized curriculum.

Powerful Prep hires only Ivy League grads, offers industry-leading point gains, and has the highest reviews of any college program in Southern California. The program has been featured multiple times on CBS as the premier test prep program in the LA area.  He tutors locally and globally for those seeking the best in test prep. You can read more about his program at Matthew Larriva – Premier SAT/ACT Tutoring.

Kevin OrganisciakSAT, ACT & High School NewsACT,SAT,score choice,superscoringBy Matt Larriva, Founder, Powerful Prep The History and Definition About a decade ago, The CollegeBoard introduced Score Choice, a system by which students could pick which SAT dates’ results they wanted to send to schools. If you took the test 5 (or 10) times, you could send only one score—presumably...Business Guidance for Tutors, Test Prep Instructors, and Admissions Counselors