Three Common Myths About the SAT Debunked

Myth 1: Colleges prefer the SAT over the ACT

All four-year colleges in the U.S. now accept the ACT, and it is highly regarded. Some admissions professionals will even tell you that they prefer it over the SAT because it is based more on coursework and better reflects how a student will perform in college. From a student’s perspective, the ACT will fulfill the need for SAT Subject Tests at many colleges. Is your student interested in the ACT? They can take a free ACT vs. SAT Comparison Test at Chyten to determine which test is best.

Myth 2: Colleges only see the scores I send them

This is often accompanied by rumors like “it doesn’t matter how many times I take the SAT because colleges won’t see it,” or “I will just focus on one section of the SAT at a time because colleges will take my highest score for each section.”

Score Choice was implemented by the College Board in 2008, but colleges are allowed to set their own rules on what scores they require. A few of the more popular colleges that require all test scores include: Colgate, Cornell, Columbia, GW, Georgetown, Johns Hopkins, Syracuse, Stanford, Tufts, Maryland, Penn, and Wesleyan. While many of these colleges state that they will still “superscore” (use the highest section across multiple test dates), the jury is still out on why they want all the scores. Some believe that they want to see how many times a student took the test. Most think it is simply in the interest of making certain that they have all the correct data to select the highest scores.

Myth 3: I don’t need to take SAT Subject Tests

First of all, you will need them if you are applying to the Ivy League, many small competitive liberal arts colleges (Amherst, Haverford, Williams, Vassar, etc.) or some popular universities like BC, BU, Duke, Georgetown, Tufts or UVA. Second, there is a large group of colleges that “recommend” SAT Subject Tests, let’s just say it’s a strong recommendation — they really like to see them. These institutions include: American University, George Washington, NYU, Northwestern, UNC-Chapel Hill and USC. Finally, some colleges that don’t require SAT Subject Tests in general, do require them for certain programs like engineering or nursing. A few even specify which subjects they require (Bio, Chem, Math Level II, etc.). The bottom line is that junior year is too early to cut off any options as to where you will be applying. And the best time to take them is at the end of sophomore or junior year for subjects you have just completed (i.e. if you just took U.S. History and Chemistry, take those tests); that way the material is fresh in your mind. To learn more about SAT Subject Tests go here: http://sat.collegeboard.org/register/sat-subject-test-dates