As scores rolled in, students started asking us IF they should retest.  I wrote about this previously in our post Who Should take the ACT or SAT Again?  Since that article, ACT has updated their statistics on who actually improves on a second attempt.  Overall, 57% of students will improve. To see your odds, according to ACT data which differs from students who prep with LEAP, consult the chart on the ACT site.

While considering whether to retest or not, the option of Super Scoring should be taken into consideration for students who already have two or more testing attempts on the same test.

math symbolsWhat is a Super Score?

As its name implies, it’s the BEST of your test scores.  ACT and SAT won’t Super Score for you, but many colleges will.  To date, I’ve not been able to locate a comprehensive list of all the schools that Super Score, so you’ll need to ask the college where you intend to apply.  That information is not always readily available on the school website – so ask!  Don’t be surprised when you find that some schools will Super Score one test but not the other.

How Does it Work?

The current SAT is simple.  If a student has taken 2 or more SAT’s the college will take their single best Critical Reading, Math and Writing across all testing attempts, add all three together and you have your new SAT total. When the redesigned SAT debuts in March 2016, you have just two scores to add together: one for English/reading and another for math.

ACT requires a little more calculation.  Locate the best English, Math, Reading and Science across all testing attempts.  Next add them together then divide by 4.  This gives you the new ACT Super Score Composite.  For an ACT composite, you’ll round down for .25 and up for .5 and .75.

Does it Make Sense to Super Score for YOU?

Don’t get too excited yet. It’s not always advantageous to Super Score.  Families are often perplexed when we advise not to Super Score.  You really need to do the math first.  Let’s take an example of a recently disappointed parent whom we advised not to Super Score the ACT.  She thought we’d tell her to do so, as there was a 1 point difference on the Super Score total.

Attempt 1 scores across the 4 subtests totaled 93 points for a 23.25 composite, rounding down to a 23.

Attempt 2 scores totaled 94 points for a 23.5 composite, rounding to a 24.

Super Score total is 95 for a 23.75 average, rounding to a 24 but no gain for the student.

The family was shocked to learn the student would need to gain four more points across the test to get to a 24.5 which would round to the 25 she covets.

Since this student has not yet done any test prep, it might make sense to engage in some prep and test one more time.  However, far fewer students increase on a third attempt, as compared to second attempts.  She may be better off to invest her time in crafting an excellent essay and flawless application.

Don’t delay in registering if you do plan to retest!  Do the math before you decide.