#SAT/ACT Testing

As you research a college and its application process, you may find a passage that defines the school’s score choice policy, like this example from Johns Hopkins University. Or, you may come across a mention of superscoring in an article discussing standardized testing. But what is superscoring, who does it, and why does it matter to you or your student? 

What is superscoring?

Superscoring means combining individual section scores across multiple test sittings to produce a single (often higher) score.  

For example, say a student took the SAT twice and scored as follows: 

Verbal Math Total
March 680 720 1400
May 710 700 1410

Schools that superscore would combine the March Math score and May Verbal score for a superscore of 1430. 

Now, say a student took the ACT twice and received the following section scores:

English Math Reading Science Composite
August 27 30 27 29 28
September  26 27 30 30 28


Schools that superscore would combine the English and Math scores from the August test, and the Reading and Science scores from the September test, for a composite score of 29. 

Superscoring is a relatively common method of accepting SAT scores. Many schools also accept ACT superscores, but it is less common than SAT superscores. Additionally, bear in mind that schools will have different policies for each test. Superscoring the SAT does not mean that the school will superscore the ACT, or vice versa. 

What schools accept superscoring? 

An increasing number of schools accept superscoring, especially for the SAT. However, it is important to understand that not all schools do—most notably, neither Penn State nor University of Wisconsin Madison superscore, although both institutions will remain test-optional for applicants through at least 2023. 

The College Board provides a list of schools and their methods of evaluating SAT scores. The ACT does not provide a similar document, but many schools have chosen to go test-optional in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. We always recommend checking on the university’s website or contacting an admissions counselor. 

Why is superscoring a good thing? 

Superscoring is beneficial for applicants for two reasons. First, it often produces a higher score than a single sitting. Second, it is a more accurate representation of the skills and hard work that students put into preparing for this exam. Even ACT’s own research teams suggest that superscoring is more predictive of student success in college than a single sitting. 

Should my student try to increase their superscore? 

In a word, yes. Statistically speaking, students tend to do better on both the ACT and SAT after taking them a second time. 

If your student has already taken the SAT or ACT more than twice, then deciding whether or not to take it again is a conversation worth having with your student, with their guidance counselor, or with us. 

Have more questions? Still struggling with superscoring? We can help.