Unhappy with my SAT

akiboy

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I wrote my SAT 1 Reasoning Test a few days back and I am unhappy. I messed up one whole Math section and left quite a few Critical Reading questions. I was hoping for a good score between 2100-2200 out of 2400 but it looks as though my hopes are dashed. So , I am planning to take the SAT again. My query is wether taking the SAT again and then getting a a good score harms your chances to get into a good college (IVY League). For example , Lets say I get 1800/2400 in the SAT which I wrote 2 days back. i write the SAT again and get 2200. I heard that most prestigious colleges always consider your best SAT score. Is this true ? Will getting a good score in my second attempt on the SAT affect my application ? Please do let me know.



Akshay
 

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I wrote my SAT 1 Reasoning Test a few days back and I am unhappy. I messed up one whole Math section and left quite a few Critical Reading questions. I was hoping for a good score between 2100-2200 out of 2400 but it looks as though my hopes are dashed. So , I am planning to take the SAT again. My query is wether taking the SAT again and then getting a a good score harms your chances to get into a good college (IVY League). For example , Lets say I get 1800/2400 in the SAT which I wrote 2 days back. i write the SAT again and get 2200. I heard that most prestigious colleges always consider your best SAT score. Is this true ? Will getting a good score in my second attempt on the SAT affect my application ? Please do let me know.



Akshay
I, also, have heard that they consider your best score. But, of course, that was years ago. I sympathise with you Akshay... I was disappointed in my SAT score, too. Was sick on the day I took it, and I didn't retake it; my percentile ranking assured us that the test score wouldn't be a problem for any college to which I aspired to attend (I wasn't aiming for Ivy League! ;) ). Try again. I think they really do look at your best score, or your best 3 scores, or some such thing.
 
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akiboy

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Thanks . I have hope now


Akshay
 

The ClayTaurus

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I wrote my SAT 1 Reasoning Test a few days back and I am unhappy. I messed up one whole Math section and left quite a few Critical Reading questions. I was hoping for a good score between 2100-2200 out of 2400 but it looks as though my hopes are dashed. So , I am planning to take the SAT again. My query is wether taking the SAT again and then getting a a good score harms your chances to get into a good college (IVY League). For example , Lets say I get 1800/2400 in the SAT which I wrote 2 days back. i write the SAT again and get 2200. I heard that most prestigious colleges always consider your best SAT score. Is this true ? Will getting a good score in my second attempt on the SAT affect my application ? Please do let me know.



Akshay
The admissions office will have on problem answering that question for you, as it's on a school by school basis.
 

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I know for an almost certain fact that Harvard and most Ivy League colleges don't frown upon multiple retakes of the SAT to a point. The general consensus is that you can take the SAT up to three times. After that, it starts looking strange. Fortunately for you, you've still got 2 retakes left, and if you pull up your math score to above a 700 (preferably abouve a 750 since you're an international applicant), you hopefully shouldn't have a problem in that department. That being said, SATs won't get you into the Ivy League. SATs are more of a prequalifier. Do you need good SATs to go to Yale? Yes. Will having good SATs get you into Yale? No. It's more about who you are.

In addition, it sounds to me like you're focusing too much on the Ivy League. I know that everyone thinks these colleges are great, but there are other, equally good colleges out there. Don't just go for prestige. Places like UMichigan, UChicago, Northwestern, Pomona, Harvey Mudd, NYU, Duke, Vanderbilt, Boston College, Georgetown and many others are all amazing school, and equal to, if not better than, their Ivy counterparts in many departments. Just remember the Ivy League is really nothing more than a sports conference. Try to find the school that's good for you, not the one you think has the best looking degree.
 

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I got a 2200 on my SAT. But I don't particularly care about the SAT as I see most colleges (well, ones I want to go to) care only about the ACT.
 

Semper Fi

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I know for an almost certain fact that Harvard and most Ivy League colleges don't frown upon multiple retakes of the SAT to a point. The general consensus is that you can take the SAT up to three times. After that, it starts looking strange. Fortunately for you, you've still got 2 retakes left, and if you pull up your math score to above a 700 (preferably abouve a 750 since you're an international applicant), you hopefully shouldn't have a problem in that department. That being said, SATs won't get you into the Ivy League. SATs are more of a prequalifier. Do you need good SATs to go to Yale? Yes. Will having good SATs get you into Yale? No. It's more about who you are.

In addition, it sounds to me like you're focusing too much on the Ivy League. I know that everyone thinks these colleges are great, but there are other, equally good colleges out there. Don't just go for prestige. Places like UMichigan, UChicago, Northwestern, Pomona, Harvey Mudd, NYU, Duke, Vanderbilt, Boston College, Georgetown and many others are all amazing school, and equal to, if not better than, their Ivy counterparts in many departments. Just remember the Ivy League is really nothing more than a sports conference. Try to find the school that's good for you, not the one you think has the best looking degree.
I found it ironic that Mr. Conley wrote all this, even though it says "never trust a foreigner" underneat Mr. Conley, next to his avatar.

Anyhow, Mr. Conley knows his stuff. Listen to him.
 

Hobbit

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Retakes are not a problem. Nearly every school asks only for your highest test score and I've never heard of one asking how many times you took it.

On a side note, I made about little below 1300 (the essay portion was added a couple of years after I graduate high school, so it's out of 1600), which was a little under what I had hoped for, but my 31 ACT score carried me quite far.
 

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I second that. If you can't do well on the SAT then try the ACT. I didn't take it because my SAT scores weren't too terrible, but I had several friends who took it and, like Hobbit, did very well. The ACT I believe is more about testing general knowledge then aptitude (not that the SAT really does that), and includes sections on science in addition to reading, writing, and math. I'd definitely give it a shot. The ACT is graded out of 36, with the average I believe around a 23. Looking at the College Board's conversion chart I'd place your presumed scores at around a 28. For the schools your looking at anything about a 30-32 is better, although as an international applicant I'd aim for a 33-34. Of course ideally you'd want to get a 35 or 36, but that's about as common as someone getting a 2400 on the SAT (around 100 out of some 2 million people annually or so), and, honestly, based on your presumed SAT scores, I doubt you'd see such a substancial raise. The SAT and ACT may be different tests, but people's SAT and ACT scores generally don't diverge by such extravagent amounts

In addition, you might consider just taking your SAT scores as is. An 1800 would definitely get you into a good tier 2 school. I believe Northwestern's SAT average is around 650-680 for each section, you'd be right on that.

Finally, don't worry about it too much. You've taken the test and for now that's all you can do. I remember when I took the SATs. Not fun, and I knew I bombed them. But a few weeks later I got my scores back, and the reality was much better than I had predicted. I know you're nervous now, but don't underestimate yourself. I'm sure you did quite well.
 
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akiboy

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I second that. If you can't do well on the SAT then try the ACT. I didn't take it because my SAT scores weren't too terrible, but I had several friends who took it and, like Hobbit, did very well. The ACT I believe is more about testing general knowledge then aptitude (not that the SAT really does that), and includes sections on science in addition to reading, writing, and math. I'd definitely give it a shot. The ACT is graded out of 36, with the average I believe around a 23. Looking at the College Board's conversion chart I'd place your presumed scores at around a 28. For the schools your looking at anything about a 30-32 is better, although as an international applicant I'd aim for a 33-34. Of course ideally you'd want to get a 35 or 36, but that's about as common as someone getting a 2400 on the SAT (around 100 out of some 2 million people annually or so), and, honestly, based on your presumed SAT scores, I doubt you'd see such a substancial raise. The SAT and ACT may be different tests, but people's SAT and ACT scores generally don't diverge by such extravagent amounts

In addition, you might consider just taking your SAT scores as is. An 1800 would definitely get you into a good tier 2 school. I believe Northwestern's SAT average is around 650-680 for each section, you'd be right on that.

Finally, don't worry about it too much. You've taken the test and for now that's all you can do. I remember when I took the SATs. Not fun, and I knew I bombed them. But a few weeks later I got my scores back, and the reality was much better than I had predicted. I know you're nervous now, but don't underestimate yourself. I'm sure you did quite well.

Thanks for your reply Mr Conley. You actually made my day. By the ways you must be wondering why I am specifically targeting Ivy League institutions. Thats because almost all international students (especially Indian students ) attend these prestigious colleges. Plus , the atmosphere in the Ivy League institutes is very multiracial and wide. According , to a survey Harvard was found as one of the most appealing college for Indians. It was always my aim to be an ivy league student. I know it is very , very tough to get into Ivy league especially Harvard but I do want to give it a shot. But , I won't regert if I don't get into Harvard. I have given my second , third and fourth choices as Princeton , Stanford and California College of Technology.

Anyways , thanks for your reply again.

Akshay


PS:- Forgot. What is ACT ? Do I have to to write it ?

Thanks again
 

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PS:- Forgot. What is ACT ? Do I have to to write it ?
ACT is all multiple choice and comes in four sections. One section is math questions ranging from arithmetic to basic calculus. One section is sort of a 'fill-in-the-blank' grammer test. One section consists of a few short essays followed by a series of questions about the essay (reading comprehension). The fourth section consists of questions covering scientific analysis, rather than a trivia section of scientific facts. It contains such things as analyzing charts and drawing conclusions from experimentation results.

In addition, the ACT does not have a penalty for guessing. You get the same points for a blank question as you do an incorrect answer. And speaking of this 'guessing penalty,' remember this. Your net point gain from guessing is only positive if you narrow a question down to two possible answers. If you can't do that, leave it blank.
 

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Thanks for your reply Mr Conley. You actually made my day. By the ways you must be wondering why I am specifically targeting Ivy League institutions. Thats because almost all international students (especially Indian students ) attend these prestigious colleges. Plus , the atmosphere in the Ivy League institutes is very multiracial and wide. According , to a survey Harvard was found as one of the most appealing college for Indians. It was always my aim to be an ivy league student. I know it is very , very tough to get into Ivy league especially Harvard but I do want to give it a shot. But , I won't regert if I don't get into Harvard. I have given my second , third and fourth choices as Princeton , Stanford and California College of Technology.

Anyways , thanks for your reply again.

Akshay


PS:- Forgot. What is ACT ? Do I have to to write it ?

Thanks again
Well I'm glad your feeling better. Just relax and hope for the best.

One thing I will say, however, is that you need more safety schools. I'm glad to see you've selected some ambitious choices, but I think you should defintely find a few "backup schools" just in case. Every single institution you list accepts less than 15% of applicants, which is incredibly competitive. Again I'd urge you to consider schools such as Northwestern, Pomona, any of the University of California schools, UChicago, UMichigan (rolling admission), UWisconsin, UNorth Carolina, UVirgina, among others as equal goals. Remember, the Ivy League is just a sports conference. I can imagine that your family and probably a lot of the people you know are either applying to or want you to go to an Ivy school, but, honestly, these people don't know what they're talking about. The schools I've listed are all top schools that attract top students from around the world, and will serve you just as well as a Harvard or Princeton diploma. I'm not saying that you shouldn't aim for the top, but you don't want to set yourself up for failure either.

I'd suggest you go to www.princetonreview.com or www.collegeboard.com and use there College Finder tools to find a place that fits both your scores AND you.

Finally, I'd suggest asking around the board about colleges that interest you. I'm currently at Harvard, though taking a semester abroard at the moment, and I know Kathianne attended the University of Chicago, which is a top 10 school. Plus I believe we've got a few Lousiana Staters here in addition to a UCalifornia system graduate. I'm not sure where Hobbit went, but I'm sure he could tell you about his school. Those are the people that come to mind, but just ask around and I'm sure you'll discover someplace.
 

Hobbit

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Finally, I'd suggest asking around the board about colleges that interest you. I'm currently at Harvard, though taking a semester abroard at the moment, and I know Kathianne attended the University of Chicago, which is a top 10 school. Plus I believe we've got a few Lousiana Staters here in addition to a UCalifornia system graduate. I'm not sure where Hobbit went, but I'm sure he could tell you about his school. Those are the people that come to mind, but just ask around and I'm sure you'll discover someplace.
I probably won't be of much help. I started at the Naval Academy, which is closed to non-citizens. I could have gotten into Georgia Tech if they hadn't had a retarded transfer credit policy. I went to the University of Arkansas, which is a good school, by the way, but really only stands out as exceptional if you're going for a degree in business or engineering (Microsoft and especially Wal-Mart recruit directly from those two schools. The engineering school has a 100% hire rate).
 

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akiboy, I was in your position a few years ago. What do you want to study and do you plan on attending graduate or professional school? Top tier universities are generally a bad choice for undergraduates if you want to gain extra degree's, ie: PhD's, MS, M.D., DMD, DDS........

If you are wanting to gain extra degrees, go to a public university (not Ivy). I'm going to a public school now and paying just under $5000 a year in tuition. I would be paying over $30000 to attend Yale or even Duke and Emory. The course work is more difficult at the ultra expensive Ivy league schools, which means that you will likely get lower GPA's, which hurts your chances to get back into an IvyLeague school for graduate school. I'm making a 3.9gpa at my public university, which, along with a great MCAT, will be good enough to get me interviews at any of the IVY league Med schools.


The only justification I can see for attending Ivy league would be if you can get huge scholarships or only want a BS degree. The only school employers care about is the last one you got a degree from.
 
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akiboy

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Well I'm glad your feeling better. Just relax and hope for the best.

One thing I will say, however, is that you need more safety schools. I'm glad to see you've selected some ambitious choices, but I think you should defintely find a few "backup schools" just in case. Every single institution you list accepts less than 15% of applicants, which is incredibly competitive. Again I'd urge you to consider schools such as Northwestern, Pomona, any of the University of California schools, UChicago, UMichigan (rolling admission), UWisconsin, UNorth Carolina, UVirgina, among others as equal goals. Remember, the Ivy League is just a sports conference. I can imagine that your family and probably a lot of the people you know are either applying to or want you to go to an Ivy school, but, honestly, these people don't know what they're talking about. The schools I've listed are all top schools that attract top students from around the world, and will serve you just as well as a Harvard or Princeton diploma. I'm not saying that you shouldn't aim for the top, but you don't want to set yourself up for failure either.

I'd suggest you go to www.princetonreview.com or www.collegeboard.com and use there College Finder tools to find a place that fits both your scores AND you.

Finally, I'd suggest asking around the board about colleges that interest you. I'm currently at Harvard, though taking a semester abroard at the moment, and I know Kathianne attended the University of Chicago, which is a top 10 school. Plus I believe we've got a few Lousiana Staters here in addition to a UCalifornia system graduate. I'm not sure where Hobbit went, but I'm sure he could tell you about his school. Those are the people that come to mind, but just ask around and I'm sure you'll discover someplace.

As I said earlier that I won't regret if I don't get into Harvard. I just wanted to give it a shot. Anyways , I have also gone through the College list in CollegeBoard.com and I was interested in University of Chicago (a link to which Miss Kathianne had earlier given me ) plus also UCal system graduate. But is it tough to get into California College of Technology also ? I mean if not Harvard its okay. If not Princeton then also I won't sweat it. But , what about California College of Technology ? I will be sending my application to atleast the 4 of the colleges mentioned above plus UCal and Chicago. I just havta wait and hopefully see which college accepts me. But , i don't have this Harvard/Ivy League fixation only..I just wanted to try since 2 of my cousins did and they graduated from Stanford and Princeton respectively.

Thanks again ,

Akshay
 
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akiboy

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akiboy, I was in your position a few years ago. What do you want to study and do you plan on attending graduate or professional school? Top tier universities are generally a bad choice for undergraduates if you want to gain extra degree's, ie: PhD's, MS, M.D., DMD, DDS........

If you are wanting to gain extra degrees, go to a public university (not Ivy). I'm going to a public school now and paying just under $5000 a year in tuition. I would be paying over $30000 to attend Yale or even Duke and Emory. The course work is more difficult at the ultra expensive Ivy league schools, which means that you will likely get lower GPA's, which hurts your chances to get back into an IvyLeague school for graduate school. I'm making a 3.9gpa at my public university, which, along with a great MCAT, will be good enough to get me interviews at any of the IVY league Med schools.

Well , I actually am divided on what I want to pursue. Wether Nuclear Physics or Computer media Applications ...I still don't know. I heard California College of Technology , University of Chicago , Caltech , Georgia Tech are some of the top institutes in America offering the above courses. I have links to some of the top institutes in America offering the above courses. But , I do want to try the Ivy League first. Then , if I don't get thorugh I will obviously try the other colleges because I have varied interests such as Computers and IT management , Nuclear Physics , Media Applications which are offered in the Ivy League. So , its all luck and my hard work. i will send in applicatons to IvY League and wait and see. But , I do have backup. If not Harvard . then Princeton . if not Princeton then Stanford if not Satnford then Californai College of Tech. etc etc. How many times can I get rejected ?
 

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As I said earlier that I won't regret if I don't get into Harvard. I just wanted to give it a shot. Anyways , I have also gone through the College list in CollegeBoard.com and I was interested in University of Chicago (a link to which Miss Kathianne had earlier given me ) plus also UCal system graduate. But is it tough to get into California College of Technology also ? I mean if not Harvard its okay. If not Princeton then also I won't sweat it. But , what about California College of Technology ? I will be sending my application to atleast the 4 of the colleges mentioned above plus UCal and Chicago. I just havta wait and hopefully see which college accepts me. But , i don't have this Harvard/Ivy League fixation only..I just wanted to try since 2 of my cousins did and they graduated from Stanford and Princeton respectively.

Thanks again ,

Akshay
Okay, glad to know your not Ivy fixated. I'm really glad to see your applying to the UC system as well.

Now here is the question. Do you mean Calfornia College of Technology or the California Institute of Technology? This is very important question. I've never, ever heard of the former, and the only information I could find on the internet is about some community college, something you shouldn't be looking at. The latter, however, I am well aware of, and want to caution you. The California Institute of Technology is one of the premier technical colleges in the country, seconded only maybe by MIT. If I remember correctly, Caltech accepts less than 10% of applicants, most of whom have perfect or near perfect SAT I Math and SAT 2 Science scores and near- 4.0 GPAs. Caltech is argueably the hardest college on your list given the circumstances. Again, however, that is assuming we're talking about the same place.
 

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Well , I actually am divided on what I want to pursue. Wether Nuclear Physics or Computer media Applications ...I still don't know. I heard California College of Technology , University of Chicago , Caltech , Georgia Tech are some of the top institutes in America offering the above courses. I have links to some of the top institutes in America offering the above courses. But , I do want to try the Ivy League first. Then , if I don't get thorugh I will obviously try the other colleges because I have varied interests such as Computers and IT management , Nuclear Physics , Media Applications which are offered in the Ivy League. So , its all luck and my hard work. i will send in applicatons to IvY League and wait and see. But , I do have backup. If not Harvard . then Princeton . if not Princeton then Stanford if not Satnford then Californai College of Tech. etc etc. How many times can I get rejected ?[/QUOTE]

I'm not trying to be the bearer of bad news, but what you have picked as back up schools are just as hard to get into has Harvard and Yale. If you have scores between 1900 and 2100 then you need to have some less prestigious schools as backups (like some public schools).
 
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akiboy

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Okay, glad to know your not Ivy fixated. I'm really glad to see your applying to the UC system as well.

Now here is the question. Do you mean Calfornia College of Technology or the California Institute of Technology? This is very important question. I've never, ever heard of the former, and the only information I could find on the internet is about some community college, something you shouldn't be looking at. The latter, however, I am well aware of, and want to caution you. The California Institute of Technology is one of the premier technical colleges in the country, seconded only maybe by MIT. If I remember correctly, Caltech accepts less than 10% of applicants, most of whom have perfect or near perfect SAT I Math and SAT 2 Science scores and near- 4.0 GPAs. Caltech is argueably the hardest college on your list given the circumstances. Again, however, that is assuming we're talking about the same place.



The California College of Technology was listed in the CollegeBoard.com College Finder List. It is the California College of Technology in Sacramento.
I didn't choose CalTech.
And I am well prepared to get a score of 2100 in my SAT. I am working towards a perfect score and even though the chance of getting a 2400 is less I am confident I can get a good score of 2100. I don't mean to sound overconfident but compared to the Indian Math syllabus SAT Math is quite easy and I am proud to say that I am putting in a lot of efforts for a good score in SAT so that I can then concentrate on my academic performance , extra curriculars and community service to become an effective allrounder.
 

Mr.Conley

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Could you give me some more information such as your class rank, GPA, courseload, extracurriculars, and community service as well as interests and college preferences? That way I could recommend a few schools to you.
 

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