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10/18/2020 at 08:51PM

Is 1490 a good SAT score for MIT?

I finally had the opportunity to take the SAT last October 3 and achieved a 1490. However, MIT's 25th percentile is 1500. Should I report my 1490 or should I apply test optional?

In terms of context, I am an international non-English speaking student who had been trying to do the SAT since March but because of the pandemic, I was not able to do it until October when the only center in my country announced it was going to host the SAT with only two weeks in advance. I will only only be able to retake it in December as November test dates are not offered and I would like to know it is worth doing it because 1490 does not seem to far from 1500. However, I am also concerned that my Math score is relatively low (750) compared to MIT 25th value which I think it's either 770 or 780. I am also asking because I achieved 108 in the TOEFL and although MIT no longer accepts the TOEFL as a substitute for the SAT, I could apply SAT test optional with the TOEFL score.

@adri10/18/2020 at 09:22PM

I mean I would personally apply test-optional just because your math score isn't that high, and I don't think the score helps you in any way. Let your high grades in math/science shine instead of the SAT score.

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2 answers

10/18/2020 at 10:35PM

The MIT Class of 2024 stats are linked here:

The Middle 50% shows a range of 1520/1580, so 1490 is 30 pts off the lower 25%. The middle Math SAT range is 790/800 for 25%/75% so 750 is 40 pts off. The acceptance rates of Intl' students are 3.4% versus 8.3% domestic so it's more than twice as hard if you are applying from another country. I don't know what specific criteria they are tough on so I'm just thinking out loud that there might be many Int'l students with near-perfect Math scores.

Like CalTech, MIT is highly STEM-focused and that is why the majority of students applying have a lop-sided transcript fully loaded with the hardest math, science, and ECs in these areas as well. Unless you are interested in studying humanities or business versus majoring in science your math score needs improving. If you had for example a 780-800 Math Level 2 Subject Test score or scored a 5 in AP Calc AB or AP Calc BC that would make up for the math score. Also if you had A grades in difficult maths like Multi-variable calculus (Calc 3), that would overcompensate for 750 and they might give you a pass because SAT maths are much easier.

Just to clarify, you wrote you are a non-English speaking student but how did you score 108 on the TOEFL test then. You must have received something like a 25 to 27 on the speaking section no?

My recommendation is that you review your entire application and identify areas of Math excellence that can advocate on your behalf to show you understand high math and a very good student of math and science. If there are other Math examples than I wouldn't worry much about submitting the 1490. If your 750 is your only test score in MATH and you don't have a Subject Test, and ACT Math/Science score, or AP Score to support your math ability, I would not recommend submitting it then.

Best of luck in your MIT application.

@DebaterMAX10/19/2020 at 03:10PM

I agree overall! But I want to highlight the "Unless you are interested in studying humanities or business versus majoring in science your math score needs improving." as OP is in the mid 50% for Englist SAT and OP is close enough to the low math score 10pts below what you submit (refer to my answer) as 60/2=30 and OP is only 40 below the math score. But that doesn't matter if your major isn't math based as @match said.

10/19/2020 at 03:06PM

So Vinay (co-founder of Collegevine) says to submit your score if its with in 60 points of the 25th percentile. And as @match says you are 30pts off. So Id say you should submit the score. Vinay lays it all out here:

10/19/2020 at 04:53PM

Just to second this answer - scores are lower this year across the board, and your score is still solid. I would also recommend submitting.