Understanding Standardized Test Scores and Next Steps
Determine the best option for your student.
How Scoring Works
FIRST, take a look below to understand your scores.
For the SAT
The SAT is comprised of four sections in the following order:
- Reading & Writing Module 1
- Reading & Writing Module 2
- Math with Calculator Module 1
- Math with Calculator Module 2
- Reading & Writing Module 1 & 2 = one score (200 – 800)
- Math with Calculator Module 1 & 2 = one score (200 – 800)
- Perfect composite score = 1600
For the ACT
The ACT is comprised of four sections in the following order:
- English (Grammar)
- Math with calculator
- English (1 – 36)
- Math (1 – 36)
- Reading (1 – 36)
- Science (1 – 36)
- Perfect composite score = 36
The overall ACT score is the average of the individual scores on each of the four sections, rounded to the nearest whole number. Thus an average of 23.5 becomes a composite 24.
NEXT, make sure you understand superscoring by reading the information below:
Many students will take the standardized exams multiple times in pursuit of an optimal score. A great many universities will either allow multiple scores for admissions or allow for “superscoring” SAT or ACT scores.
What is superscoring?
Superscoring occurs when universities or colleges use just the highest math score and the highest reading score from all combined testing efforts:
SAT 1st test:
Math = 650 | Reading = 510 | Combined = 1160
SAT 2nd test:
Math = 620 | Reading = 590 | Combined = 1210
SAT 3rd test:
Math = 680 | Reading = 550 | Combined = 1230
Superscore used by university:
Math = 680 | Reading = 590 | Superscore = 1270
Each student is different
In our work here at Loudoun Test Prep, our goal is to maximize your student’s score based on your student’s ability. Because every student is different, with different starting points and aptitudes, we cannot guarantee any specific score improvements. We do our best to prepare each student in terms of topic knowledge, test-taking strategies, and test-testing endurance. Through these three vehicles, we tend to increase test-taking confidence and produce optimal results for our students.
That said, there remain many variables which we cannot control. For example, we cannot guarantee whether a student gets a good night’s sleep the night before the exam, whether they oversleep and are rushed to get to the exam in time, whether they are coming down with a cold the day of the exam, whether they eat something that upsets their stomach the day before the exam…you get the idea.
Little room for error and each exam is different
In addition, for those seeking very high scores (for example 750 and above on the SAT), there is very little margin for error. Missing a single question by making a “dumb” mistake (which is very easy for anyone to do), can make the difference between a perfect score and a 750. Also, remember that each SAT and ACT exam is unique, and therefore, though there are themes and strategies that we train our students to address, we cannot predict everything, nor expect our students to perform perfectly.
Finally, take the pulse of your student. Training and studying to improve one’s scores is hard work. It makes a difference if the student is personally motivated to put in the time and effort. We of course do all we can to make the work fun and engaging, but it remains work. It’s important that students want score improvement as much as their parents do.
Now that you understand both your scores and superscoring, let’s think about what’s next.
If your scores meet or exceed the requirements of the colleges to which you wish to apply, you can sit back and relax.
If your scores are not yet meeting the requirements of the colleges to which you wish to apply, you have several options:
- Take Practice Tests: If your student took our Small Group SAT or ACT Test Prep class, they are welcome to take proctored practice tests at our facility free of charge. This is a great way to continue elevating test-taking stamina and familiarity with the exam.
- Enroll in Stay Sharp: Our Stay Sharp course is designed to help students review critical portions of the exam and maintain their test-taking skills between exams.
- Individual Tutoring: If there is a large gap between the scores you desire and the scores you received, you may want to consider Individual Tutoring. Equally, if there is a specific area on which you need to concentrate to raise your superscoring, Individual Tutoring may be for you.