Higher Scores on the SAT Lead to Stronger Success in Life


From the beginning of time (or at least 1926 when the SAT was created), there has been nonstop debate as to the veracity of the SAT and its large part in the college admissions process.  Here, an incredibly long thread on a popular forum Reddit shows how controversial and the topic never rests.  The rhetorical piece in question, starts off by informing the world that the New Republic has never produced a more read article based on the topic.

At SanLi Education, one of Hong Kong’s Top Test Prep companies, we’ve seen thousands of students spend time with us in our SAT Prep Courses with many of them raising their scores hundreds of points.  Many of them have garnered entry into top Universities like Stanford, Upenn, Northwestern and more.  Despite obtaining entrance into many top Colleges, there are still many who ask “are the students more than just test taking machines?”

SAT Test Takers

Well, the answer was provided by one of Harvard’s most popular professors.  Steven Pinker, in the article shared a study about the correlation between higher SAT scorers and success in life.


Camilla Benbow and David Lubinski have tracked a large sample of precocious teenagers identified solely by high performance on the SAT, and found that when they grew up, they not only excelled in academia, technology, medicine, and business, but won outsize recognition for their novels, plays, poems, paintings, sculptures, and productions in dance, music, and theater.

ivy league admissions ratesNevertheless, students are finding their way into these elite academic institutions due to the higher standardized test scores.  So, then the question may be, do these Universities provide a “breeding ground” for better academic preparation in life?  Pinker continues with:

The economist Caroline Hoxby has shown that selective universities spend twenty times more on student instruction, support, and facilities than less selective ones, while their students pay for a much smaller fraction of it, thanks to gifts to the college. Because of these advantages, it’s the selective institutions that are the real bargains in the university marketplace. Holding qualifications constant, graduates of a selective university are more likely to graduate on time, will tend to find a more desirable spouse, and will earn 20 percent more than those of less selective universities—every year for the rest of their working lives. These advantages swamp any differences in tuition and other expenses, which in any case are often lower than those of less selective schools because of more generous need-based financial aid. The Ivy admissions sweepstakes may be irrational, but the parents and teenagers who clamber to win it are not.

While we understand the angst and sometimes even the challenges ahead in scoring higher on the exams.  We even relate with the frustration of events like the recent ACT being cancelled.  However, it’s very hard to deny the fact that these tests are actually quite legitimate in proving students are strong at:

  • Reading
  • Writing
  • Math

And if they are not due to the education they’ve received thus far, we are happy to help them improve these skills so they can fulfill the destiny that Benbow and Lubinski have shown to be true.