What is the SET designation?

For several decades, CTY has used the College Board’s SAT®, which was intended for college admissions, as an above-grade test for academically advanced middle school students. When 7th or 8th graders earn scores of 700 or above on one or both parts of this standardized test that was meant for high school juniors and seniors, they learn how advanced their mathematical and verbal abilities are. The SAT Math (SAT-M) and SAT Evidenced-Based Reading and Writing (SAT-EBRW) test each have a top score of 800, so earning a score of 700+ on either part before age 13 is exceptional! The SET designation recognizes this accomplishment.

How does a student under age 13 get registered to take the SAT?

CTY is not involved in the registration or administration of the SAT. When registering students under age 13 for the SAT through the College Board®, families should first visit this link: Students Under 13 – SAT Suite | College Board to download the Account Creation Consent Form. Once completed, the form can be emailed to accountrequest@collegeboard.org. Registration is not available online for students under age 13. You should contact a College Board SAT Program customer service representative at 866-756-7346 for assistance with the registration process or with any other questions.

How does a student qualify for the SET?

Students who earn a score of 700 or above on either the SAT-M or SAT-EBRW test before age 13 are SET-eligible. To receive this designation, students must join CTY (https://cty.jhu.edu/get-started). SAT scores can be uploaded to MyCTY or sent to CTY by College Board (if they still offer to do so).

We designate students older than 13 as SET participants if they score 10 points for each additional month of age over 13 on either part of the SAT. For example, a student who tests at age 13 and 3 months would need a score of 730 to earn this designation. The oldest a student could be is 13 years and 10 months (with a perfect score of 800 on the SAT-M or SAT-EBRW test).

Does my child have to take the SAT on June 4? 

Not necessarily. CTY recently sent an email to let families know that SET was resuming this summer and that if students were about to age out, they could register for the June 4 test. For some, that deadline might make a difference; however, younger students may have plenty of time to take the SAT before turning 13.

Be sure to visit College Board’s website for information about test dates, registration deadlines, test locations, SAT practice and preparation, etc. The schedule for test administrations in the U.S. differ from the schedules in different countries: https://satsuite.collegeboard.org/sat

For students who missed the May 5 registration deadline for the June 4 test, please note that the College Board has posted a late registration deadline of May 25, 2022 on their website: https://satsuite.collegeboard.org/sat/registration/dates-deadlines

Can students retest if they are not satisfied with their SAT scores?

Once a student has qualified for the SET designation, they do not need to retest until they are ready to take the SAT for college admissions. Students may find that there are more productive ways to use their time than retaking a test that they performed extremely well on.

On the other hand, if students under age 13 take the SAT and are not satisfied with their scores, they may opt to retake the test.

Are there additional pathways to earn the SET designation?

Not at this time. The PSAT, ACT, SCAT, and other tests or portfolios cannot be used for the SET designation. If that changes, these FAQs will be updated and families will be notified.

What about students who could not take the SAT during the pandemic and have aged out?

While we certainly understand the challenges and empathize with these families, our research department is planning a new longitudinal study tracking SET participants, so we need to be stringent about honoring the current eligibility criteria.

Why would a student take the SAT as an above-grade test?

If you are interested in having your child take the SAT before age 13, that would assess how strong their mathematical and verbal abilities are. Whether or not they qualify for the SET designation, it may give you and your child useful information about their readiness to tackle advanced content and coursework.

When is the optimal time for a CTYer to take the SAT? And should all CTYers take the SAT?

Most CTY students are around 12 years old when they take the SAT to see if they will qualify for the SET. Although some students younger than 12 have qualified for SET, we do not want to encourage students who are too young to take the SAT because we want this to be a positive (challenging but not overwhelming) experience for them. Please remember that the SAT is designed for college admissions; thus, it is typically four grade levels above when CTY students take it in 7th or 8th grade.

So, the answer to the second question is “no.” Some students may not be interested in taking the SAT as a 7th or 8th grader, and others may feel overwhelmed by the idea of taking a test that is meant for students in high school. CTYers should not feel obligated to do this. We encourage caregivers to respect their child’s decision. If you are unsure whether this would be a positive and valuable experience for your child, you might ask yourself, “How does my child react when something is extremely challenging? If they do not perform as well as expected, will they be able to put things into perspective and view it as a learning experience or will they internalize the results as a deficiency or failure on their part?" You know your child best and what they can and cannot handle.

Will the SAT score remain on a student’s College Board record?

For questions about your child's College Board record, please contact the College Board at 866-756-7346.  

If my child does NOT take the SAT, will it impact their membership in CTY?

No. Once your child has joined CTY and has qualified to participate in our programming (by taking the SCAT or another test), they do not need to retest. They can continue taking courses and availing themselves of CTY programs and services that they are qualified for.

Will students who achieve the SET designation receive services?

Students who achieve the SET designation will have access to grade-appropriate online and on campus courses, as well as support services (webinars, workshops, resources, etc.) that are available to other students in the CTY community. To meet the advising needs of the diverse community of CTY students, including those designated at the SET level, a new holistic group-level model or approach is being developed by CTY’s Student Support Unit. More information about these resources and opportunities will be provided in the future.