So, you’ve taken the ACT or SAT, you’ve earned some great scores, and now you’re applying to colleges. Maybe you’re wondering if you should take the test one more time, and try to do a bit better. On the other hand, what if your score goes down? Perhaps you’re hoping to gain admission to a particular school, and your composite score fell one point short.
For these reasons, among others, some schools allow you to calculate and include a “superscore” on your admissions application. A superscore is simply the sum or average of your best test scores on each section of an exam (depending on which exam you took).
For example, the first time you took the SAT, you achieved a really high score on the Math section of the test. The second time you sat for the exam, that score dropped a bit, but your Reading and Writing scores improved. If your college allows you to apply using a superscore, you could list that terrific Math score along with your higher Reading and Writing scores, even though you took the two exams on different dates. Then your superscore will be the sum of your highest scores on individual sections of the test.
The ACT superscore works in a similar fashion, except it is an average of your Math, Science, English and Reading scores, rather than a sum. Still, the concept is the same. You are allowed to take advantage of your highest scores on each section of the test, even if they are from different exam dates.
All of this sounds helpful, but not all colleges will consider superscores. Some schools want to take a look at all of your test scores from all dates, while others only consider the highest overall score that you have achieved from a single test date.
So can you – and should you – use your ACT or SAT superscore? The only way to know is to ask! In particular, it might be better to ask ahead of time. You don’t want to stress yourself out taking multiple exams if it isn’t necessary or won’t help you.
As you narrow your top college choices, contact their admissions departments and ask about SAT and ACT scores. Inquire whether they prefer one test over another, whether a minimum score is required for admission, and whether superscores will be considered. Now that you have this information, you can make an informed choice about college entrance exams.