International SAT quiery

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Discus: Ivy League Schools: Harvard University: 2004 Archive: International SAT quiery
By Laxfan85 (Laxfan85) on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 03:31 am: Edit

I am an international applying to HYP from the UK.

I consider myself to be quite strong in math, but only got 640 on the math SAT section [760 verbal].

Taking IIc in June - likely to get 700+

I think it was the format of the paper - i didn't finish substantial chunks of math sections, which means that I got everything I did do nearly right...

How will this affect my application?

Comments - however brutal - greatly appreciated.

By Hotpotato (Hotpotato) on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 07:17 am: Edit

You should probably retake. I got 690 the first time I took it (640 verbal) and was really disappointed.

The main thing is watching out for traps they set. After doing a few practice tests I re-sat the test and got 780 math and 730 verbal.

It could effect your application.. My impression is that SAT's are quite important for international students (unless you have some other internationally recognised test that you do extremely well in).

By Laxfan85 (Laxfan85) on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 08:45 am: Edit

Thanks hotpotato

Where are you applying this autumn?

By Kkay (Kkay) on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 09:22 am: Edit

There's nothing to be brutal about ^_^ Perhaps you weren't familiar with the format of the paper, which means you really SHOULD BE. If you have enough confidence in your math skills, then I'm sure you can do it.

Good luck on your June SAT.

By Ambitiousyokel (Ambitiousyokel) on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 05:43 pm: Edit

It wouldn't hurt to retake. I took the SAT at 12 and 14, and then when I took it at 16 (after trig, in AP Calc), my score jumped 140 pts., 80 in math. Give it a shot, but the impression I have is that test scores are comparatively less important at US schools than Oxbridge.

By Hotpotato (Hotpotato) on Tuesday, May 18, 2004 - 10:59 pm: Edit

I'm matriculating at Yale this autumn (having applied last fall). I also made it into Harvard, Dartmouth and Cornell.

By Stanfordnualum (Stanfordnualum) on Saturday, May 22, 2004 - 03:01 pm: Edit

Hey international here also. They do hold very high standard (actually not really considering how elementary the math in SAT I is) against internationals in terms of SAT I math. I am from Hong Kong and I see MANY people with Cs and Ds in O-level get 700+. My friend got a "D" in pure math (A-level) but got 800 on SAT math (what does it tell you about SAT? LOL!). A "D" in Hong Kong's O-level is probably equivalent to a "C" in UK because of the grading but you got the idea. To prove you deserve consideration from Harvard, you'd better have 700+ (unless you got some unique ECs or prestigious awards...). MathIIC is a better measure of your math skill. Scoring 700+ will help a lot in case you get a disappointing score in SAT I again.

By Laxfan85 (Laxfan85) on Monday, May 24, 2004 - 08:51 am: Edit

Thanks stanfordalum - currently studying hard for the june SAT II testing date :)

By Attitudica (Attitudica) on Monday, May 24, 2004 - 10:02 am: Edit

I have 630 Verbal and 690 Maths in the SAT 1. That was my third attempt. My Sat II IIC score is 710, first and only try. You reckon I should retake the SAT a fourth time? Or it looks absurd.

I have an A Grade in both Maths and Additional Maths in 0-levels, and likely to get the same in A-level.

By Laxfan85 (Laxfan85) on Tuesday, May 25, 2004 - 04:20 am: Edit

No, no, no! Harvard themselves say in their viewbook that taking any test more than twice is likely to be counter-productive.

If you are really hellbent on improving your score, than concentrate on the IIC for just one retake.

I presume you are an international: despite internationals still getting 1600s on the SAT, the US Colleges are aware [hopefully...] that unlike the US applicants, we as internationals are not as familiar with the format of the test, and have to take substantial amounts of time out of our regular studies and work to familiarise ourselves with the format and practice.

Although 1320 is a low score by this board's standards, people have been admitted with lower grades.

It would be helpful if you had some sort of "hook" - something that distinguishes you and kind of "differentiates" your product from everyone else.

Are you planning to apply this fall, Attitudica?

By Attitudica (Attitudica) on Tuesday, May 25, 2004 - 11:15 am: Edit

Thanks for your concern Laxfan85. Yes I`m an International student from Pakistan, and I hope to apply this fall.

I`m not a big fan of the SAT, and I dont want to retake it anyway. All I`m concerned off is, whether a 1320 would keep me away from Harvard, even if I have a strong hook? (And a strong student academically otherwise). Retaking it and making extraordinary improvement on the SAT 1, lets say to a 1500 or more, would that make any difference, judging its the "fourth" attempt. Sigh fourth attempt seems so embarrassing lol.

By Attitudica (Attitudica) on Wednesday, May 26, 2004 - 10:35 am: Edit


By Stanfordnualum (Stanfordnualum) on Friday, May 28, 2004 - 01:33 am: Edit

I think it would probably help if you do get 1500+. But if your score doesn't improve, they would probably start wondering...

I am curious; is the O-level in Pakistan the same as the one in UK? What's their grading system?

In Hong Kong, the O/A-level exams are harder than the UK version and they are not generous in giving out good grades (only top 3-4 % get As in each subject). I told you many people with Bs and Cs in HKCEE math got over 700s on SAT math; I didn't take it because I moved to the US after form 4. I count myself lucky cos As are a lot easier to get in American high schools.

By Attitudica (Attitudica) on Friday, May 28, 2004 - 07:55 am: Edit

Yeah but would that 1500+ alleviate the fourth attempt thing. I dont know. I know many people whove gotten into ivys with 1300+ and many 1600s thatve been rejected.

Coming on to the second point, the O/A levels in Pakistan is a lot tougher than the one in UK. The A grade is set according to the regional grade boundary, and a lot of folks in Pakistan are book nerds, which thus raises the grade boundary much higher than that in UK or places where the number of students are very low e.g Saudi Arabia.

I`m supposed to be good at Maths, but I just dont have that thing to decipher little things that ive done in seventh grade and remember them
in mere 30 minutes. Thats all the problem there is to my SAT 1. I never revised Maths because I was too busy with the A-level course, not even for the third attempt. But I dont know if its all worth taking it again, even If I do score well on my practice tests regularly. I have summer holidays coming up, and I`d be over with A-level by Early June. I have time, but I dont know what I should do! :/

By Stanfordnualum (Stanfordnualum) on Friday, May 28, 2004 - 05:10 pm: Edit

I would think your As in two widely known and much more advanced math exams should erase any possible doubt due to the RELATIVELY low SAT 1 math score. Your verbal score is very good for a foreign student. But that's what I think. It's hard for me to assume their familiarity with O/A-Level.

My experience was kinda the opposite of yours. I got "F" in additional math when I was form 4 and I was a lot more worried than you are now. After all, in American high school, you have to be almost retarded to get F in anything. I still don't know what went through people's mind when they saw that grade, but my AP and close to perfect on SAT I (750) and Math IIC (780) seemed to make that "F" a non-factor at the end.

I went to Northwestern (my handle is StanfordNUalum but they decapitalized "NU" without my consent!) for my undergrad. FYI, they posed the stats of admitted internationals last year at:

Middle 50% range:
SAT I Verbal 600-700
SAT I Math 718-800
TOEFL 626/274

The stats for Harvard will be higher of course but you hardly find this kind of stats from any top school. Since NU is considered a "safety" for Harvard wannabes, I thought I would give that to you as extra reference.

My additional advice is, if you really want to study in the US, apply to many schools. These says, the admisssion seems so erratic a lot of time; even Harvard may be your first choice, don't treat schools like Northwestern/lower Ivies as "safety" even you have strong credentials.

By Cooldude (Cooldude) on Friday, May 28, 2004 - 07:43 pm: Edit

should i retake:
2nd attempt: 1400 - 800M 600V

By Attitudica (Attitudica) on Saturday, May 29, 2004 - 12:20 am: Edit

Hmmm. I know the average SAT scores for Harvard are way above those for NU. Yet still I`m not sure If I should take the "fourth attempt" just to prove that I can do the SAT Maths too and Improve the Verbal too. Perpelexed :>

By Attitudica (Attitudica) on Sunday, May 30, 2004 - 01:24 pm: Edit


By Stanfordnualum (Stanfordnualum) on Monday, May 31, 2004 - 02:40 am: Edit

"I`m not sure If I should take the "fourth attempt" just to prove that I can do the SAT Maths too and Improve the Verbal too."

I don't think you can look for a "yes/no" answer even it's the 4th attempt. Without knowing about your scores on your previous SATs, I think the odd is probabaly against you given you seem to hit a plateau and also, since it's your 4th attempt, it will benefit you only if you make a sizeable gain.

Cooldude, your score looks fine. I wouldn't retake unless you think there's really a lot of room for you to improve on V. Assuming English isn't your native language, I don't think any reasonable person would hold the seemingly subpar Verbal score against you because that's already better than the majority of native students here. If you took it without doing many practice tests and studying those "tricks", you may have good chance to improve on V. But if you've already done those or taken a Kaplan class, you're probably better off to shift your attention to SAT II and APs. To me, retake only benefits if you make a sizeable gain. A gain of 10 or 20 isn't gonna help and in some cases, may backfire because some people think there's that's where your plateau is. Again, this is my opinion and you may want to counsult with others on this. I think you can always make up any insecurity you may feel about your verbal score by doing really well on SAT II writing. All those tests probably will keep you pretty busy anyway.

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