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Myth Busted – Is the SAT Curved?

Are some SATs easier than others? We bust a myth that many students fall prey to.

The majority, if not all, of the tests you take during high school are curved. This means that the grade you receive is dependent on how well the rest of the class did – if everyone did poorly, your grade would increase, and if everyone did very well, yours would fall. However, is the SAT also curved? Will the quality of your peers or the session in which you take your SATs affect your results?


This post aims to address the mystery behind the SAT curve and some tips on how to get the best results in your SATs without falling prey to common myths.


Is the SAT Curved?

To address the elephant in the room: while the SAT has been widely perceived to be a curved test, SATs are, in fact, not curved. At all.


This means that your final SAT scores will entirely reflect your actual performance during exams. In other words, your peers’ performance during SATs will not affect your scores.

Next, it is also important that we consider whether when you take the SAT can affect your scores. This requires us to look closely at the SAT’s scoring system.


In response to the fact that SATs are widely administered throughout the world, your scores are balanced following a system that the CollegeBoard calls “equating”.


The function of “equating” is to ensure that all SAT scores released are fair and consistent, and are accurate indicators of your academic capabilities when taking exams in controlled environments. The Board has also released an official statement to address this misnomer, where they stated that the process of “equating” upholds the fact that no single candidate will have an advantage or disadvantage when taking the test, irrespective of when and where they take it.


In conclusion, there is no best time to take your SATs because the examiners will employ the “equating” process regardless.


Using the SAT Curve to Your Advantage: 5 Do's and Dont's

Now that you have gained knowledge about the SAT “equating” process, it is time to discuss how you may leverage this information to maximize your chances of scoring well.


Do's

  1. Use the raw score conversion table to predict the number of correct answers you’ll need to attain the scores you’re aiming for. The first step is to determine what score you would like to achieve, and then refer to the raw score table to identify how many correct answers in each section you would need to get. Looking at practice papers released officially by the College Board is a great way to start.

  2. Take it with a grain of salt. Yes, this article has informed you that CollegeBoard does have its unique grading system, “equating”, but there is no point in trying to break down or analyse how it works as it is different every year, and only the Board knows precisely how it functions.

Dont's

  1. Mix up “SAT Curve” and “SAT equating”. Both are fundamentally different processes, with the former being non-existent traditionally, and the latter existing to ensure that all SAT scores are fair and balanced.

  2. Assume the timing of your SATs will dictate your score. This ties back to the “equating” process, whereby the SAT Board eliminates any variation in difficulties so that no candidate would gain a competitive edge over another.

  3. Try to cheat the system. Honestly, don’t. It is virtually impossible to use the raw conversion table and leverage the “equating” process to attain high scores. And if anyone tells you otherwise, chances are he or she isn’t particularly well-versed with how the SAT functions.


Need Help with College Applications?

The SAT is certainly an important component of college applications. However, if you are looking to get accepted at Ivy League universities, Stanford, Cambridge, Waterloo or any other competitive university, you will have to face an extremely cut-throat application process.


Our experience shows that early mentorship is key to a successful application. We offer a highly personalized one-to-one mentorship programme to students in Grade 8-12 by working with a select cohort of 10 students per grade. Our purpose with is to select a miniscule cohort of applicants, give them an individualised experience, and help them develop a distinctive, powerful profile for college applications.

Since our intake is limited, please drop us a message on WhatsApp (‭+91 96194 58430‬) or email (info@ivieschaseyou.com) to inquire about our availibility for your child. Our engagement officer will then guide you forward with the process.

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