1500. Do I have to retake to be competitive?

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Discus: SAT/ACT Tests and Test Preparation: May 2004 Archive: 1500. Do I have to retake to be competitive?
By Tallyrand (Tallyrand) on Saturday, May 15, 2004 - 11:43 pm: Edit

I got a 1500 SAT score(700M, 800V). I'm happy that I made the 1500 mark, which was my goal, and I'm really happy I got an 800 verbal score.

But so many people have higher scores than me! I'm worried, especially since I want to major in biology. Is it true that colleges don't really distinguish between candidates with SAT scores above 1450? Or do they? Should I retake? I'm pretty sure I can make 800V again.

My top four schools are Columbia, Northwestern, Yale, and Stanford. I don't want to take the darn test again, but I don't feel *safe* with my current score. If I ever sounded like an arse over the course of this post, it was unintentional. I just need some advice.

By Miumiu016 (Miumiu016) on Saturday, May 15, 2004 - 11:54 pm: Edit

Some people say that after the 1500 mark colleges start looking at other things, EC's, GPA etc. I'm not so sure about that. I got a 1490 and I'm definitely retaking, hoping for an 800 in math (got a 730 last time, gah). How sure are you that your math score will going to go up? If you're at least 80% sure, retake :) You definitely don't *need* to. This is JMHO, of course.

By Godis (Godis) on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 12:10 am: Edit

stick with your 1500. retaking is just a waste of time.

By Aim78 (Aim78) on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 12:36 am: Edit

Not necessarily. In my opinion, it's much easier to improve a math score than a verbal score. It's all about using algebra to solve all types of problems, and not being tricked by easy answers. You've got an 800 Verbal, so that's perfect. Study math like crazy and you can easily bring it up. If you work hard enough I see no reason why you couldn't get a 1600.

By Godis (Godis) on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 01:21 am: Edit

it's not really all that important. i faced the same problem as the OP and i turned out alright.

By Tallyrand (Tallyrand) on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 04:56 am: Edit

I'm still considering whether or not to retake. The highest I've ever gotten in practice on SAT I math has been 720. If I work hard over the summer I could get it to 750+. Thing is, do I want to work that hard on something I could just be done with now, you know?

Do you think high SAT II scores can offset the need for me to retake? I already have an 800 for US History, am expecting an 800 for Writing, and a 750+ for Chemistry. And then there's Math IIC. Eh. Probably a 700 there, too.

Thank you all for your input so far.

Godis--i checked your profile. I see you're going to Columbia, one of the schools I'm looking at. What was your SAT score?

By Soulofheaven8 (Soulofheaven8) on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 09:12 am: Edit

As far as I am concerned, there are NO DRAWBACKS with taking the SAT again, especially since you got your 1500 on the first try. Three hours on a Saturday morning is a small price to pay to get perhaps a 1580 or 1590. Furthermore, I doubt that by taking the SAT again, you are going to be sacrificing other facets such as GPA and ECs.

And considering that you are applying to elite colleges, anything helps.

By Soozievt (Soozievt) on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 10:20 am: Edit

I'm a parent. I think that your score is great and well within a very good range for the most selective schools. I think once you get into this range (which was your goal afterall, good for you!), then it does not matter if you have a 1550 or a 1500. It is not going to be what makes the difference at this point of your admissions decisions. You definitely need strong scores to be considered and now you have them. Done with that part. Now the rest of your qualifications and application is what is going to make the difference. Most applicants to elite schools have pretty strong scores so that is not what sets them apart. You need good scores to play the game but little differences in fifty points is not what is going to win the game.

I have a child who got into selective schools, including some Ivies and her score was a little below yours. She happened to be strong in all the other aspects as well as testing. Kids on these forums, when discussing "chances" seem to be almost all their stock into stat numbers. I say once you have the requisite stats (and YOU do as far as the SATs), then the rest is what is going to matter.

Good job. I see no reason to retake.


By Vtoodler (Vtoodler) on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 10:46 am: Edit

you should retake if you really feel the need but remember that there is a good possibility of a lower score. so it's risky.

By Godis (Godis) on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 11:01 am: Edit

tallyrand, i too got a 1500, and after three minutes of contemplating a retake, i said, "•••• it."

By Stonedpanda (Stonedpanda) on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 12:57 pm: Edit

Doesn't it not matter if you retake and score lower?

By Keith (Keith) on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 02:07 pm: Edit

I wrote a long paragraph here but it really just reiterated what Soozievt said. She's right.

I go to a selective public school where the mean SAT is 1470 (thank goodness my school doesn't release class rankings!). If you look at the data for college acceptance from our school, it's not that hard to find people with 1600 SATs and GPA over 4.0 getting rejected from the most selective institutions, while there are others with 1500s and 3.8s getting in. To be sure, some of the 1600/4.1s got in and other 1500/3.8s did not - my point is that the numbers don't really matter beyond a certain level, which you've certainly achieved. Congratulations on a job well done.

By Wishful_Thinker (Wishful_Thinker) on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 06:04 pm: Edit

focus on other things now, your SAT score is in the bag

By H0peful (H0peful) on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 06:47 pm: Edit


Realistically, the people who got in to top schools from TJ with 3.8/1500s are those who are either URM, legacies, or recruited athletes. I am relatively familiar with every person who got into HYPMS and I dont think there was a single person who got in with a 3.8/1500 or worse into any of those schools without fitting in to one of the three categories listed above.

By H0peful (H0peful) on Sunday, May 16, 2004 - 06:48 pm: Edit

*Forgot about Kings of Chaos people...MIT doesnt care about other qualifications when it comes to them either. lol.

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