What if you’re a straight-A student with a 3.9 unweighted GPA and you’re in the top 10 overall in your school, but you have a low SAT score of 1010?

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    Lisa Buchwalter
  • lisabuchwalter@gmail.com

Lisa Buchwalter Answered 8 months ago

Low test scores, Subpar test scores, SAT, ACT, test optional, fairtest, fairtest.org, test flexible, low SAT, low ACT, additional informationSome students, no matter how smart or hardworking, do not score well on standardized tests. If your test scores are significantly lower than one would expect given your grades, and you have used all the resources available to you to improve them, you should consider applying to some test optional schools. The trend in admissions is towards going test optional, and every year more schools are added to this list. FairTest.org maintains a comprehensive list of test-optional schools. Some top schools....View More

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How does it look to take the SAT and ACT a total of four times?

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    Lisa Buchwalter
  • lisabuchwalter@gmail.com

Lisa Buchwalter Answered 8 months ago

If a university uses ScoreChoice, they will not even know how many times you have taken each test. If they do not employ ScoreChoice, however, they will not look unfavorably on taking a TOTAL of four tests. If, however, you are getting close to taking EACH test a total of four times, for a total of eight, and you are not improving, it may be a good idea to concentrate on other factors such as your academics or your extracurricular involvement. After sitting for the test this many times, scores are unlikely to go up, unless you are doing some....View More

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Is it better to take the SAT or the ACT exam?

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    Lisa Buchwalter
  • lisabuchwalter@gmail.com

Lisa Buchwalter Answered 8 months ago

Every single college in the US will now accept either test, the SAT or the ACT. In fact, in 2012, the ACT actually surpassed the SAT in being the most popular test for students to take. It honestly does not matter which test you take. The key is to take the test where you score the highest. It is to your advantage to take at least one practice test for each test, to see where you do better. You can find the SAT/ACT concordance table, to convert your score and see where you will do better, here. In most cases,....View More

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What are the free online sites to prepare for the SAT subject tests?

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    Lisa Buchwalter
  • lisabuchwalter@gmail.com

Lisa Buchwalter Answered 8 months ago

There are now many sources that allow you to prepare for you SAT, ACT and SAT Subject Tests. For SAT-related tests, look at Schmoop, which is part of the College Board. The CollegeBoard has also has free diagnostic tests for each subject. At this point, Khan Academy offers free SAT prep, but not for the SAT Subject tests.

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How much impact will my SAT score have?

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    Lisa Buchwalter
  • lisabuchwalter@gmail.com

Lisa Buchwalter Answered 8 months ago

Few American universities have a formula anymore for determining admission. In most cases, especially for the more selective universities and colleges, a holistic review is done. If a school is not test optional, SAT scores are one factor that are considered, but your academic credentials are actually more important. Adcoms will look first at your academic record – your grades in the courses you have taken, and then the difficulty of your curriculum, or how much you have challenged yourself in high school. Next, they will look at your test scores. It is hard to put a number on how....View More

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What are the minimum requirements for grades and test scores to the UC schools?

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    Lisa Buchwalter
  • lisabuchwalter@gmail.com

Lisa Buchwalter Answered 8 months ago

Admission requirements for freshman applicants to the University of California campusesUC has slightly different admission requirements for applicants who are international students. If you're applying as a freshman, you must:1. Complete 15 year-long academic courses with a 3.4 GPA:2 years of history (in place of U.S. History, history of your country)4 years of composition and literature in language in which you are instructed3 years (four years recommended) of college-preparatory mathematics that include the topics covered in elementary and advanced algebra and two- and three-dimensional geometry.* (Approved integrated math courses may be used to fulfill part or all of this requirement)2....View More

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Are there minimum SAT/ACT scores and grades for US schools?

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    Lisa Buchwalter
  • lisabuchwalter@gmail.com

Lisa Buchwalter Answered 8 months ago

Most US schools do not have minimum requirements for admission. There are some exceptions to this in some state universities, such as the University of California system, where you must have a certain GPA and test scores to even be considered. See [topic 61] for more details on this. For other colleges, most do a holistic review, taking into account everything at once – your grades, test scores, extracurricular activities, letter of recommendations, essays, and demonstrated interest. If you are below the college’s average for SAT/ACT or grades, you may still obtain admission by excelling in one of the other....View More

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What is more important, grade point average or test scores?

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    Lisa Buchwalter
  • lisabuchwalter@gmail.com

Lisa Buchwalter Answered 8 months ago

Most US colleges are more interested in your grades than in your test scores. Along with your grades is the difficulty of your curriculum. How much have you challenged yourself? Lower grades can be offset by higher test scores, and vice versa. But colleges are increasingly moving away from test scores as determining whether or not you will get in. In fact, there is a growing trend for colleges to go Test Optional, meaning that instead of test scores, they will require you to answer a few more essay questions, or send in a graded paper, or a project. For....View More

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What is the best time to start preparing for SAT/ACT and essays?

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    Lisa Buchwalter
  • lisabuchwalter@gmail.com

Lisa Buchwalter Answered 8 months ago

We usually suggest that SAT/ACT prep begin at the beginning of the junior year. There are tests available to determine whether the SAT or ACT is the best test for you, and if one is clearly preferred, then you will not have to split your time between the two tests. You can maximize your results by first determining which test is best for you, and then concentrating on that one test. Test scores generally get stronger the older you get, and so there is no reason to begin to test too early. Consider taking your first test in the spring....View More

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Is it better to go to my safety school or to take a gap year and apply again with better test scores and more extracurriculars?

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    Lisa Buchwalter
  • lisabuchwalter@gmail.com

Lisa Buchwalter Answered 8 months ago

This is a tough question, and again the answer is, “It depends.” If you like your safety school and think that doing particularly well there and being at the top of your class and perhaps in their honor program, would allow you to get into a top graduate school, then consider going to your safety school. If you are extremely confident that your scores will go up and that you can do something meaningful that will enhance your application, and that you believe in doing anyway, and if you are really unhappy with your safety school, then consider taking a....View More

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I’m in 10th class. I want to go to the US and study. When should I take the SATs?

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    Kriti Chawla
  • kritich4@gmail.com

Kriti Chawla Answered 8 months ago

You should take your first attempt in class 11th. Prepare well for it so that you don’t need another take. However, it is okay if you are not satisfied with your score and want to take another one. Most of the students take 2 attempts. Try getting done with your SATs by end of 12th class summer at the most.

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What is more widely accepted: TOEFL or IELTS? What are the pros and cons of taking both in comparison to each other? And if one has to take it, when is the best time to do so?

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    Kim Dixit
  • kim@theredpen.in

Kim Dixit Answered 7 months ago

For students who are applying to both the UK and the US I normally recommend IELTS because the UK visa process prefers that test and most US Universities accept it. Most students who are only applying to the US will take TOEFL. Also check whether your colleges accept the Pearsons English test or Duolingo. These tests are cheaper and more frequently offered than IELTS and TOEFL. 

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I gave SAT for the first time in March,2018 and scored 1190( 570 English and 620 Maths) and then gave SAT for the second time in May,2018 and ended up scoring 1390( 700 English and 690 Maths). Should I retake the SAT for third time? I had initially planned to give my SAT Subject Tests in October and November( US History and Maths Level 2 respectively).I plan to appear for either IELTS or TOEFL. Also, instead of giving the SAT for the third time, should I try my hand at ACT as well.

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    Tom O'Keefe
  • thomas.joseph.okeefe@gmail.com

Tom O'Keefe Answered 7 months ago

You may be slightly too focused on the standardized tests. While I'm sure you're capable of doing even better, a 1390 is perfectly respectable on the SAT, and a slightly higher score is unlikely to make a significant difference in your outcomes; colleges and universities in the US tend to have a holistic approach to admissions, so good test scores (and grades) in the absence of strong essays, deep and well-substantiated outside activities/passions, etc will not necessarily assure you acceptances. If you think your score is going to jump another 200 points on a retake, then by all means, take....View More

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Can I still aim for a CS major with an ACT composite score of 28 at a decent University? I'm not aiming for Ivy Leagues.

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    Judith Winters
  • judith@jwcchk.com

Judith Winters Answered 7 months ago

Students should take the ACT 3 times if they have not reached their testing potential. Some colleges superscore the ACT subscores- My second comment is how do you define decent University?Here is a link to top undergraduate computer science programs -https://www.niche.com/colleges/search/best-colleges-for-computer-science/?type=private&type=publ...Northeastern U and Penn State don't look at standardized testing for international students- some of the schools are test optional!Superscoring the ACT is when you take the best section scores from multiple test dates (i.e the best English, best Math, best Reading and best Science) and recalculate a NEW composite score. While this practice of superscoring is more prevalent on the SAT, many schools superscore the ACT. Colleges that currently superscore ACT's are: Alfred College Amherst College Babson College Bard CollegeBates*Baylor UniversityBeloit....View More

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I was told that if I apply early with a really good SAT/ACT score of 1520+/34+, have strong extracurricular activities, good marks in high school, I might be able to bring my cost of attendance down at UT Dallas. Is this true?

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    Lisa Buchwalter
  • lisabuchwalter@gmail.com

Lisa Buchwalter Answered 7 months ago

It's true! Those are very high scores for UT Dallas, which has generous scholarships even for international students. The university has tried hard to increase its diversity over the past few years, in particular by having diversity scholarships. In addition, there are many Academic Excellence Awards, the Eugene McDermott Scholars awards, and other scholarships available as well. To see some of the details, see https://www.utdallas.edu/isso/finaid/Here is the link specifically for scholarships https://www.utdallas.edu/finaid/scholarships/ . Here is the link for the Diversity Scholars. It includes a video specifically for international students. https://www.utdallas.edu/diversity/departments/community-engagement/diversity-scholars-program.htmlHope that helps! Feel free to reach out to me with any more questions.

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How important is the SAT essay score? What kind of a score would qualify as decent? And would a low score reflect poorly on an overall good score on the SAT?

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    Lisa Buchwalter
  • lisabuchwalter@gmail.com

Lisa Buchwalter Answered 6 months ago

The SAT (and ACT) essay is becoming less and less important. In fact, only 26 schools in the United States now require the essay at all. You can read a good article on this subject here, along with a list of the schools that absolutely require it and those that only recommend it. As long as your two main scores are good, I would not worry too much about a low essay score. To fully answer your question, however, I'd love to know where you are applying and what your scores are. That would help better target how much this score....View More

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I've recently entered 12th grade and am done with my main SAT (1530) and Physics and Maths Level 2 subject tests (800 in both). Considering that I have a lot of time on hand, should I take the Chemistry SAT subject test or would a third subject test add no value to my profile?

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    Geetha Swamy
  • geetha.swamy53@gmail.com

Geetha Swamy Answered 6 months ago

Wow! Congratulations! Your scores are really impressive. No, adding a Chemistry test is not necessary. But, if you really want to prove your merit in every science, you might want to take the Chemistry test. A third test for someone as smart as you should not be a challenge. And no university is going to object to seeing your ability in all the sciences. I am assuming you are interested in the engineering field.  Most schools generally require only 2 SAT subject tests and the number of schools requiring the subject test is also decreasing. Check the entry requirements of....View More

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I have a decent CV: 35 in ACT, 90% in 11th, State Level Sports, etc. Can someone please suggest target/safety universities for economics? Most important factor for me is the financial aid.

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    Lisa Buchwalter
  • lisabuchwalter@gmail.com

Lisa Buchwalter Answered 6 months ago

Hi there,It sounds as if you have your reach schools already. Please let me know what they are so that I can help you round out the list. Also, check out the related articles on scholarships for international students, listed on the right side of this page. I'm happy to help once I have more information! 

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    Rishi Chintamaneni

How do AP courses and exams affect my college chances from India? (US Citizen). Does it matter how I prepare for the exam?

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    Anupama Singh
  • advisor@indexcc.net

Anupama Singh Answered 6 months ago

You'll likely be treated the same as all applicants regarding AP exams.  Some schools don't actually look at the exam results as they only consider those if you're offered admission and to grant you credit.  Others may consider those scores so it's worth asking the schools you're applying to about how they review test scores.  As for AP courses, they are considered rigorous, but your application will be considered like all others in terms of did you take advantage of the curriculum that was offered to you.  There have been a lot of questions answered already about AP exams on....View More

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What standardised tests should I take up this year or in the forthcoming year (apart from the SAT) to build on my resume for a reputed business undergrad course from a good university?

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    Geetha Swamy
  • geetha.swamy53@gmail.com

Geetha Swamy Answered 6 months ago

You have not mentioned what curriculum you are presently pursuing. If it is the IB , then you do not need any other scores. If it is an Indian curriculum, you could do some AP exams in related areas like Math/Calculus/Statistics and also Macro/Microeconomics. If your SAT Reading and Writing Section scores are not great (say < 600) then also do a TOEFL test. Otherwise, you could build up your resume` by working in some business organisation or starting up a small enterprise of your own.

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    Harshavardhan Haribhaskar

I'm an Indian citizen, but I've only lived in India for the first year of my life. After that, I've lived in Singapore, Vietnam, Indonesia and now China. I have been taught in English all my life in all the schools I have been to. I am taking the IBDP, and I am predicted a 7 in English Standard Level, and I have a 720 on my SAT Reading. I will be a high school senior after summer, and I plan on applying to American colleges (some T20 schools, some less selective ones) for my undergraduate program. Do I still have to take the TOEFL? I live in Beijing, and there are no TOEFL centres here (some people were caught cheating, so the test centres have been closed down). Also, if I have been speaking English fluently all my life, do I need to prepare for the TOEFL at all?

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    Saugat Pandey
  • saugatpandey02@gmail.com

Saugat Pandey Answered 5 months ago

Hi, That's a great question. It looks like you are fluent in English. However, you have to appear for TOEFL no matter how long you have lived outside your country of birth or nation. It looks like you will be fine in TOEFL since you have a pretty good score in SAT and IBDP and you won't have to study a lot for it. Just go through some videos and sample TOEFL tests so you can have an idea what kind of questions you will face. 

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Universities in Canada and the UK don't require submitting SAT scores, but if I do, will it make my application more competitive? And how much of a difference will it make?

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    Lisa Buchwalter
  • lisabuchwalter@gmail.com

Lisa Buchwalter Answered 5 months ago

If you have a strong SAT score, I see no reason not to send them to the universities in Canada and the UK to show your talent. Just as in the US, when SAT Subject tests and AP scores are not required, we suggest that you send them anyway, to make sure you are putting your best foot forward. It is hard to say how much they will help, but if they are good they will definitely not hurt.

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How will a SAT score of 1320 be reviewed by HKU and HKUST for engineering, from an A Levels student in India, considering it just meets their minimum requirements for US applicants.

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    Geetha Swamy
  • geetha.swamy53@gmail.com

Geetha Swamy Answered 5 months ago

Both HKU and HKUST are highly competitive. A score of 1320 is good but not exceptional. Wait for your A level scores. If they are excellent, you stand a chance of getting in.

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I'm in 12th CBSE. Financial Situation of my family isn't that good. My parents told me not to take any further steps towards applying abroad, but they obviously wish to send me to a good University. Are there any good Colleges (USA , Canada, HK-Singapore), that just might accept me with my Board Marks or SAT(1450, may), IELTS TOEFL, assuming I can afford the expenditures later on?

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    Geetha Swamy
  • geetha.swamy53@gmail.com

Geetha Swamy Answered 5 months ago

There are all kinds of opportunities for financial aid and assistance in good universities in the world. Even with financial aid, it is likely your parents may have to spend some money. The question is how much can they afford. There are also universities that less expensive where you have a good chance of being admitted with merit scholarships since your SAT score is good and you seem to be a good student. I could probably give you more focused advice if I knew a little more about you and your aspirations!

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I'll be applying to Hong Kong soon (for engineering). I have a 1320 SAT Score. Should I send this score or retake the SAT in October to be more competitive? (I'm an Indian student, taking my A Levels in March)

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    Geetha Swamy
  • geetha.swamy53@gmail.com

Geetha Swamy Answered 5 months ago

Hello! A SAT Score of 1320 is pretty good. If your A level results are very good, I think you will not need to retake your SAT's. Also, only some of the HK Universities are that competitive. If you are not looking at the best ones like HKU and HKUST, you will very likely get admitted with your good A Level scores and your present SAT score. If however, you are looking at the top 2, you might want to retake your SAT but be sure you prepare well enough to make a difference.

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Will it be easy for Indian students to fit abroad specially in America and Canada when their confidence level is not very high and their English is also not very good?

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    Geetha Swamy
  • geetha.swamy53@gmail.com

Geetha Swamy Answered 5 months ago

This one is a strange question. Adjusting to a new environment is never a cakewalk. It requires guts, determination and a desire to succeed. Ability to converse comfortably in English helps but there are a lot of people in these countries who have gone there with very limited English. Students can take Foundation courses to improve their language in these countries. It also helps to build confidence.

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I'm currently in my last year of the British system and studying three A levels. I'll be sitting for my SATs in October and submitting my essay via the common app. Since we don't use GPAs, how would my A level grades factor in?

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    Judith Winters
  • judith@jwcchk.com

Judith Winters Answered 5 months ago

You will submit your predicted A level scores when  you apply- For clarification you should state that you attend a British school, whereby, you don't have a high school transcript. If  you took the IGCSE's you should submit them as well. Make sure to answer this question on the common app-International applicants: Is promotion within your educational system based upon standard leaving examinations given at the end of lower and/or senior secondary school by a state or national leaving examinations board?

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Can someone take the SAT in December and then apply for regular application?

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    Judith Winters
  • judith@jwcchk.com

Judith Winters Answered 3 months ago

Absolutely you can take the Dec SAT test and apply for regular decision- the test is administered on December 1, 2018 and your application does not need to be submitted until Jan 1st in most cases- This means that some schools have later deadlines, after Jan 1st,  for regular admissions- here is the info from the College Board regarding the release of your scores for December 1 Test DayIf you took the SAT with Essay:December 14: Your multiple-choice scores will be available.December 17–19: Most SAT Essay scores will be available.Within 10 days after you receive all scores: We send colleges your scores, and we send your paper....View More

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Is 1290 a decent score to apply to a good American university or is it better to apply in Canada?

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    Tom O'Keefe
  • thomas.joseph.okeefe@gmail.com

Tom O'Keefe Answered 5 months ago

While 1290 is on the lower side for the most elite American colleges and universities, admissions processes at all of these schools are comprehensive/holistic, and that score is certainly high enough not to be disqualifying. It is best to consider your test scores, grades, athletic/extracurricular activities, personal passions, work experiences, and overall life narrative in assessing the strength of your application rather than simply focusing on an SAT score.

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If I appear for ACT, is it important to appear for SAT subject tests?

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    Lisa Buchwalter
  • lisabuchwalter@gmail.com

Lisa Buchwalter Answered 3 months ago

There are now very few schools that still require you to take Subjects Tests if you sit for the ACT. The ones that still require them are: CalTech, Cooper Union (for Engineering), Harvard and Cornell (for Arts & Science and Engineering), Harvey Mudd and MIT. To make sure, you should check the requirements college by college. In many cases (such as Georgetown) SAT Subject Tests are still STRONGLY recommended and you may be hurting your application by not sitting for these tests. To find out current requirements, go to the individual college websites or else this quick reference, made in....View More

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I want to submit for Early action to a few colleges for which deadline is Nov 1st. Can I submit via common app now but what if the scores get sent later than Nov 1st? Will my applications get rejected if ACT scores reach later than Nov 1st? Kindly advise.

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    Anupama Singh
  • advisor@indexcc.net

Anupama Singh Answered 3 months ago

Generally universities know that students will be taking tests in Nov and Dec, and they often wait for test scores to come in.  However, each university will process applications as they need to.  Your academic record is the most important piece of your application and test scores generally provide support for the academic record.  In the application you're asked about tests and just fill out that information there thoroughly with accurate information and your application will be considered fairly.

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Should Math be compulsorily opted in classes 11 and 12 if I want to apply to T20 colleges in the USA? What can I do if I didn’t take Math? Will a high SAT Math 2 subject score help?

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    Anupama Singh
  • advisor@indexcc.net

Anupama Singh Answered 3 months ago

Math is important and you should take as much math as possible in school.  You should also have SAT (or ACT) math scores that show your ability.  Before you take SAT math subject test, check to see if the schools you're applying to require it.  Many schools do not require the SAT subject test so it's important to check to see if you really need to take it.  However, having a strong math test score is not going to replace taking math classes in school.  Having math classes in school is the most important.

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Applying to the US, medium of instruction in school is English. A number of college websites say an english proficiency test is not required as long as the medium of instruction is English, but I'm not sure about all. Is it such for all? Or will some universities require me to take the TOEFL/IELTS irrespective? Also, a 730 on SAT reading and writing, since that is also a part of the waiving criteria for some schools.

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    Anupama Singh
  • advisor@indexcc.net

Anupama Singh Answered 2 months ago

There's no one-size-fits-all answer to this question as each university will have their own requirements for this.  Some will not require any additional English proficiency test for Indians who went to English-medium schools, some will accept your SAT, and others will want TOEFL or IELTS.  You'll need to check with each school you're applying to about their specific requirement; it should be on the respective schools' websites.  It can never hurt your application to send in test scores; the only thing it can hurt is your bank account.

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Is the TOEFL reading section comparable to the SAT reading section in terms of difficulty?

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    Anupama Singh
  • advisor@indexcc.net

Anupama Singh Answered 2 months ago

These two tests are completely different from each other and measure different abilities.  Consequently, they are not comparable.

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