College Board’s SAT Score Choice policy is pretty straightforward: it means you choose which of your SAT scores are sent to colleges. But why would you use score choice? How does it compare to superscoring? And does any of this apply if you send the four free score reports you get for each SAT test to colleges?
In this post, we’ll discuss the details of the SAT Score Choice policy, it’s pros and cons, and how it compares to College Board’s other score reporting options.
What is SAT Score Choice?
College Board’s SAT Score Choice policy allows you to choose what scores go to colleges. If you decide not to use Score Choice, all your test scores will be sent to the colleges you choose.
For example, if you took the SAT in December, March, and May but did not send any colleges your scores, then when you send a college your score report in June, it will contain your December, March, and May scores. But perhaps you bombed the March test…through Score Choice, you can choose to only send the December and May test scores.
You can only send these scores by test; you cannot send individual section scores to create a “super score.” However, some schools super score for you when you send in multiple scores. It is always best to review each school’s SAT score policy before sending so you can present yourself most favorably according to their policy.
The Pros and Cons of SAT Score Choice
SAT score choice is helpful if you completely bomb one of your tests and don’t want colleges to see your score. This policy also takes the pressure off during your test; unless you’re sending free score reports (more on that below), your college of choice won’t see your SAT score unless you choose to send it to them.
Unfortunately, you can’t take advantage of the SAT score choice policy if the colleges you’re interested in require you to submit all of your SAT scores. If that is the case, you must send them all of your scores. Be sure to review each school’s SAT score policy before submitting your scores.
If a school does require you to send all of your SAT scores, there is a high likelihood that they will super score your test for you:
SAT Score Choice vs Super Scoring
Super scoring is when you send in all your SAT scores and the college combines your highest section scores across all tests to create one “super score,” using this super score in your admissions decision.
Remember, score choice means that you can choose to send SAT scores from a certain test date, but you can’t pick and choose which sections to send.
Again, research your college’s score submission policy before sending your scores to ensure you are fulfilling all admissions requirements.
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Should You Send Free Score Reports?
Every time you take the SAT test, you have the option of automatically sending your score to four colleges of your choice, for free. Sounds great, right? Well, not so fast.
Unless your school requires you to send in all of your SAT scores, if you are financially able, we recommend foregoing the free score reports and waiting to send in your scores until you’ve seen them. This protects you from sending a low score to colleges.
How Many Times Should You Take the SAT?
On average, a student’s SAT score increases the second time they take the test and increases a bit more on the third testing. We recommend you take the SAT two, maybe three times. Any more than that and the cost, time, and stress put into a fourth (or more) test would be better applied to other parts of your college application.
Here’s what you should do: first, study well for your first test. When you get your scores back, use that information to inform your decision to take the test again. If you’re happy with your score, great! You only had to take the test one time. If you see room to improve and decide to take the test again, that’s also great! Because you studied well your first go-around, you can really focus on what needs improvement for the second time you take the test. After you take the test a second time, you can use the third time you take the test (if you need to) to drill down on very, very specific areas.
Just taking the test does not measurably improve your score. Taking the test + effective studying = improved score.
SAT Score Choice Policy
With the College Board’s SAT Score Choice policy, you get to choose which of your SAT scores go to colleges. This can be beneficial to you if you have SAT scores you’d rather not share with colleges. Remember, the best prevention for low scores is effective, focused studying. Take the time to enroll in a trusted study course or develop an effective study routine so you know you’re preparing well.