Here are some truths and myths taken from the book, The Truth About Getting In, by Katherine Cohen:
MYTH: A straight-A student should have no trouble getting a 1600 on the SAT I.
TRUTH: Your classroom ability does not necessarily correlate to your standardized test-taking ability. It is helpful to prepare for the SAT I by taking practice tests eight to ten times prior to the actual test date.
MYTH: You should keep preparing for and keep tracking the SAT I until you are happy with your score.
TRUTH: Studies have shown that a student's SAT I scores tend to plateau after the third time, so there is little reason to go beyond that. In addition, too many attempts at the SAT I will look desperate to an admissions board.
MYTH: A high score on the SAT I guarantees you a spot in one of the nation's top colleges.
TRUTH: There are no guarantees when it comes to college admissions; and a high SAT I score is NOT your ticket in. Your transcript is more important than your SAT I score. The truth is, your application is comprised of both your academic and personal records, and your SAT I score is just one piece of the whole pie.
MYTH: Even if a school does not require the SAT I, you should take it anyway, as a sign that you are committed to learning
TRUTH: If a school doesn't require the SAT I, only send your scores if they are excellent and/or better than the grades on your transcript would predict.
MYTH: Take as many SAT II exams as possible-it's the quantity of your test results that counts.
TRUTH: Take the required SAT II exams and then only take any extra exams in those areas in which you excel. In addition, you should take the SAT II's right after you've completed course work in that subject. You can repeat these tests using score choice, and choose your best score in these subjects to send to the colleges of our choice.