When it comes to acing the SAT, the third time’s the charm for one South Forsyth High School senior.
Cody Baetz scored an error-free 2400 points on the test, which measures a student’s verbal, math and writing abilities.
The SAT and ACT gauge what a student has learned from high school classes and both are often used as entrance exams for many colleges and universities.
The perfect score on the SAT is 2400. On the ACT it’s a 36. Baetz scored a 35 on the latter exam.
The 17-year-old said the SAT score was a surprise, though he had taken the test twice before and scored a 2130 and a 2230.
“I was only going to take it two times, but then I talked to my counselor Ms. [Jolie] Kimmel and she encouraged me to take it a third time,” he said, adding he didn’t prepare as extensively for the third test.
“I just kind of took it once more just to see how I did,” he said. “And I got a 2400. I think it was mainly due to the classes I took at South, especially AP [Literature].”
Baetz said he’s better at math, so he focused on vocabulary as part of his preparation for the third test.
He said his top college pick is MIT, where he wants to study engineering and mathematics.
Kimmel said she encouraged Baetz to take a third shot at the test after he asked, given his high scores the previous times.
“He was applying to prestigious schools like MIT, Cal Tech, Stanford, Harvard and a foundation fellowship at UGA,” she said, adding that he had nothing to lose by trying again.
Kimmel said she discussed with Baetz the high admission standards such schools have. Since they're so competitive, she said, even a small improvement could help him maximize scholarship dollars or edge out other applicants.
“We were incredibly proud in that he got a perfect score,” Kimmel said. “He definitely mastered the challenge that our superintendent put out there.”
The school system launched an initiative called the 2400 Challenge two years ago to encourage high performance on the SAT and ACT.
Kimmel said before Baetz the county had never before had a student who scored 800 points on every section of the test.
She said students who want to do well should take the test the first time in the spring of their junior year and a second time at the beginning of their senior year.
“Usually that third time is once they’ve taken that prep to improve on one, both or all three scores,” Kimmel said. “We suggest not really taking it more than three times. Scores tend to go down after that.”
She said students are encouraged to take the SAT and ACT, as well as practice tests in preparation.