Explaining an often misleading statistic

By Mark Greenstein

Founder and Lead Instructor, Ivy Bound / Rising Stars.

January 2014

Permission hereby given to re-print, so long as author name and email are cited.

There's a misleading statistic that deserves explanation: the College Board reports that seniors improve significantly on their SATs over their junior year scores.  This is NOT the reason to delay one's SAT into senior year. 

The reasons for the improvements are many, but an extra 6 months doing school work is the least important of them (because the SAT is testing things learned from grades 6 to 10, not curricula inherent in grades 11 and 12.)  The real reasons students see significant improvements on their second SAT are more likely to include:

1) Testing Maturity,

2) Directed SAT-coaching,

3) Prior SAT practice testing,

4) Desire to really do well as college is approaching,

5) Desire to keep up with peers who have posted high scores.

None of these influences requires senior year testing.  The increases seniors see are increases that SECOND TESTERs see.   That second test (and even a third test) can be later in the Junior year. 

My clients at Ivy Bound often see 100 point improvements a mere two months after a first test.  The first three of the five above elements are in play when a student who takes a November or December SAT sits again for a January or March SAT.  

As for the last two elements, we like when our students have the mindset that "college CREDENTIALING is approaching", and that "i'll post early scores that my peers will later see".

Since it's not senior year learning that propels SAT scores, it's second testing and the things students do to make second testing better, heed this advice: do multiple SATs as a Junior.  Perhaps you will scorch the test then and not even need a senior year SAT. 


Ivy Bound 107 Fenn Rd.  Newington CT 06111             


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