Test dates for the SAT are being cancelled left and right. Yet, you still may be wondering: Should I still take the SAT? It turns out some students should, while others should not. We will be reviewing which students would benefit from taking the SAT and which should spend their time and money elsewhere.
11th graders looking to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship need to take the SAT. Approximately half of all Finalists for this award win a scholarship worth $2500 or more. Qualifying as a Finalist or Semifinalist, though, also looks good for college admissions since it is technically an award.
The next set of students we recommend should take the SAT are 11th graders looking to offset low grades. For example, students who have earned B’s or even C’s in Math can compensate through the SAT Math portion. Students with a relatively low GPA or inconsistent grades in any particular time can use the SAT as an additional data point to demonstrate their aptitude.
11th graders who already have strong grades – mostly A’s – AND have taken the PSAT, do not need to take the test. Taking additional SAT exams provides virtually no value since colleges can already see the student’s demonstrated aptitude.
High schoolers who haven’t yet completed Algebra II should consider holding off on taking the test. The SAT covers Algebra II, so the lack of fundamental knowledge will undoubtedly limit a student’s maximum test score. Once the student has taken Algebra II, they can consider taking the test based on other factors we have discussed.
Practice tests are always recommended to do in preparation for the SAT. However, if a high schooler is projecting practice test scores below their GPA equivalent, they should not attempt the SAT. To determine your GPA equivalent, simply take your unweighted GPA, divide it by 4.0, and multiply the result by 1600. For example, a student’s GPA equivalent of an SAT score who has a 3.5 would be ((3.5 / 4.0) * 1600), or 1400. So if you are a 3.5 student and your practice tests are coming in at the low to mid 1300’s, there’s no benefit of taking or reporting the SAT because you’re effectively showing a lower aptitude than your grades show.
Recap and Conclusion
Take the SAT if you’re in 11th grade and looking to qualify for the National Merit Scholarship. Take it if you have something to prove due to low grades from the past. Otherwise, save your time for other admissions boosting activities. There are plenty!
We hope that this provides some valuable insight into how to release some of the stress you may have while making your college application profile even stronger. We specialize in youth mentorship and college counseling. From 8th grade to 12th, we have you covered for any stage in your high school career. Schedule a free consultation with us here.
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