This question appears simple enough. Much like asking, “what’s a good temperature to cook swordfish on the grill?” But ask professional tutors, and many of them will give somewhat wishy-washy answers, many of which amount to “it depends on too many other factors.” I’ve always been data-driven, and I think there is a clear enough answer to this question. You can apply the “it depends…” reasoning to various situations, but people usually know what is good and what’s not. A .300 batting average is good. 145 Fahrenheit for the swordfish on the grill is good. For most colleges, students should aim to score 1200 or above to turn their scores into assets. For the top 50ish colleges, students should aim for 1400 or above. For the ACT, these comparable scores are 26 and 31. For the Ivies and comparable, you just have to get as high as you can get. That wasn’t so bad, was it? Now the question becomes, how can you use this information. When I started tutoring, I offered almost everyone 12-session packages. Most clients put about the same amount of time into test prep. But today, the length of packages should usually be tailored. Once families have obtained a starting score, the distance from the score goal should dictate the length of a package. Can you get to a 1400 from an 1150? Yes, it’s possible, but it will take a good deal more than 12 hours, most likely. And so families and students need to weigh the value of reaching a particular score against the effort required to (possibly) reach that score. We at Sexton Test Prep are skilled at recommending packages that align with desired scores. Now, of course, many other factors do contribute to what makes a useful SAT/ACT score. But, if your family is anything like mine, you probably are not looking for more factors to sift through in life! Simple benchmarks help people make good, big-picture judgments. Close calls do abound, but if your fish isn’t hot enough, you just shouldn’t eat it. I hope everyone enjoyed their Super Bowl, and that “The Call” didn’t take away from your experience.
Please contact us with any questions about good scores and what it takes to get them.