ACT and SAT Superscoring: Get that Super Score!


So you’ve taken your standardized test for college admission. Multiple times, even. But you’re still just a few points shy of your goal. You don’t get it—some of your subscores have gone up, but maybe some went down, and now you don’t have that ideal composite score. Is there no hope?


Well, have no fear: superscoring is here to save the day!


What is Superscoring?


Some universities will take your highest subscores from various test dates and calculate a new, higher score. This new super composite, or “superscore,” then becomes the number that university looks at to determine admission as well financial aid.


Each university has a different superscoring policy. Some schools superscore using your scores from all test dates. Others only superscore using submitted scores. (For instance, you might take the test three times but only choose to submit two sets of results to a university.)


ACT Superscoring


To calculate your ACT superscore, universities basically average the best scores from each subcategory of the test: English, Math, Reading, and Science. Again, the schools do this for you, but if you’d like to calculate your superscore yourself, here’s a quick example.


Let’s say you’ve taken the test twice. The first time was in December, and your subscores were as follows:


  • English: 28
  • Math: 27
  • Reading: 29
  • Science: 31


This would give you a composite score of 29.


The second time you took the test was in March. That time, you got these subscores:


  • English: 29
  • Math: 25
  • Reading: 32
  • Science: 29


Your second composite score would be a 29 again.


Now comes the part with some math. But don’t worry—it’s pretty simple! First, you’ll want to draw a table with six columns. The number of rows will depend on how many times you’ve taken the test. In our example, we said you took the test twice, so your table would look as follows:


Test #EnglishMathReadingScienceComposite
Test 12827293129
Test 22925322929


Once you’ve filled out your table, fill in the superscore row with your highest subscore, like so:


Test #EnglishMathReadingScienceComposite
Test 12827293129
Test 22925322929



Next, simply average that bottom row of superscore section scores!


29 + 27 + 32 + 31 / 4 = 30


The number you get will be your superscore. (If you get a decimal, make sure you round to the nearest whole number.) Now fill in that last blank spot on your chart with that new superscore:


Test #English        MathReadingScienceComposite
Test 12827293129
Test 22925322929



And that’s that!


Depending on the range of your scores, you could hop just one point or several. That’s why it’s to your advantage to take the ACT multiple times—the more time you invest, the better your payoff in the end.


SAT Superscoring


Once again, if you choose to superscore your SAT scores, the school will do it for you. But if you want to calculate it yourself to satisfy your curiosity, the process even simpler than it is for the ACT: simply add up your highest Math and Evidence-Based Reading and Writing scores.


For example, let’s say you took the SAT three times. Your scores were as follows:


Test #MathEvidence-Based Reading and WritingComposite
Test 16306201250
Test 26345941228
Test 36706101280


All you do now is add up your highest subscores, which I’ve marked in bold above.


620 + 670 = 1290


Using the superscore method, you’ve now raised your SAT Composite Score by ten points! Similar to the ACT, you can see how taking the test multiple times can only benefit you.


Does My College Superscore?


As I mentioned before, each university has a different policy when it comes to superscoring. For schools that superscore the ACT, check out this list. For schools that superscore the SAT, check this one out.


Both of these lists are kept up to date, but it’s always best to double-check with your university of choice. Usually, you can find the information on their first-year admission page. Otherwise, call the office of admission and they will gladly answer any questions.


Final Thoughts


Whether superscoring is an option for you or not, it will help you immensely to take the ACT or SAT multiple times. When you give yourself more chances, you’re setting yourself up for success!


But keep in mind that you don’t have to do it alone. If you want focused help in preparing to (re)take the ACT or SAT, sign up for tutoring with Learning Ascent. We teach prep classes with up to 10 students that provide concept review as well as test-taking strategies that will help you boost your score. We also have private tutoring, if you prefer one-on-one attention. Call us at 630-587–2795 or set up an appointment online today! Click here for Homework Help resources.


Featured image credited to Gioia De Antoniis.

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