redesigned SAT picAt this point, I am getting cross-eyed examining concordance tables* to give you a better understanding of what your teen’s SAT scores mean. That being said, here are my biggest take-aways:

  • It looks like the scores are scaled somewhat higher when compared to the old SAT. For example a combined score of 1000 on the new SAT correlates to 920 on the old SAT. (By the way, any comparison of test scores is not 100% accurate due to the innate differences of the tests.)
  • It appears the benchmarks – roughly 50 percentile – is 480 in the reading and 530 in the math.
  • One thing to note is that the deviation between the ACT scores compared to the new SAT scores is not as much as it was relative to the old SAT.

So what will this mean for colleges? Could they change their SAT score admissions criteria?  Probably not much if at all, as all scores are relative the student population taking the exam.

*Instead of providing you with 15 pages of concordance tables, I’ve provided the two most relevant.  Here’s the link to College Board for all the info about the new score correlations. Here’s a link for your teen to get the Score Converter app.

Here are some score ranges to put them in perspective:

SAT/ACT College Admissions Criteria

  • Highly selective (majority of accepted freshmen in top 10% of high school graduating class): scores: ACT: 27–30; SAT: 1290-1410
  • Selective(majority of accepted freshmen in top 25% of high school graduating class): scores: ACT: 25–27; SAT: 1280-1300
  • Traditional (majority of accepted freshmen in top 50% of high school graduating class): scores: ACT: 22–24; SAT: 1100-1180
  • Liberal (some freshmen from lower half of high school graduating class): scores: ACT: 18–21; SAT: 940-1070
  • Open (all high school graduates accepted, to limit of capacity): scores: ACT: 17–20; SAT: 900-1050

A little known reality about college admissions: Even if test scores are in the top 90 percentile and the GPA is 4.8, that is NOT a guarantee to admission. It means your teen is in the pool of eligibility. Some variables that make your teen stand out: Does the essay reflect not just what your teen has done but who (s)he is?  Is your teen an active leader in school or the community? Is your teen that ‘left-handed cellist player’ needed for the university orchestra? (Get my point with the last one?!)

This College Board link can help your teen use the March SAT scores for an initial college search.

If you haven’t already, you need to also begin a discussion with your teen’s school counselor or call me if you want to consult with a private college planner. I would be more than happy to provide you with a recommendation.

And what about retaking in June or October?

  • Retake in June if your teen feels like (s)he can devote some time to practice – if all of the College Board tests on their website have been done, go to (If the scores stay ‘stuck’ and your teen has worked with a tutor, go in for a couple of lessons to reinforce strategy and confidence.)
  • Take it on June 4 if your teen was doing much better on practice tests (Late registration deadline is May 25.) Your student probably fell prey to the first time ‘jitters’. I’ve seen this too many times over the years. About 55% go up that second time..
  • Retake in October if your teen is burnt out!
  • October is a good time to retake if your teen took the SAT with little or no prep and wants to take advantage of the summer months to prepare.

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