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Test Prep

Students preparing to attend college can often get confused by the test-optional policies at certain college and universities. When a student takes the SAT or ACT, it becomes a question how college admission boards use those scores to determine whether a student is considered a worthy candidate.

Score Choice vs. Superscoring

Three students talking with a teacherCollege scoring is divided into two categories: Score choice and superscoring. Score choice is when a student personally decides which scores to send. Superscoring is when a college takes the highest scores from each section across all the exams a student has taken. From here, the categories can be broken down even further into more specific policies.

Submission of All Scores Required

Many schools require applicants to submit scores from all standardized exams, mainly to see whether students improved their test performance over time. It’s important to know beforehand whether a school you’re applying to has a no-score-choice policy, since low scores may negatively impact the chances of being accepted.

Submission of All Scores Recommended

When a university recommends but doesn’t require the submission of all scores, applicants are encouraged to submit all ACT and SAT results. If one of your scores is significantly lower than the rest, you may want to refrain from submitting it with your application. Yet keep in mind, ACT and SAT scores may appear on your transcript and other documents aside from your college application.

Student Decides Which Scores to Send

If a student can choose which test scores to send, most will submit their best scores, which is advantageous for those who have scored inconsistently on several tests. Even if an institution lets you decide which scores to send, submitting all may be the best option. The high volume of applicants has led some colleges to an automated method called superscoring.


A college that superscores considers only the applicant’s highest section scores for the highest possible composite score. Colleges and universities that apply superscoring do it automatically after receiving your results.
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