The SAT is a very important test and score improvements can dictate qualifications for certain scholarships as well as admittance into more competitive colleges.
Therefore, it is important to pick up strategies that make these improvements reachable. Here are 7 ways to improve students’ future SAT scores:
1. Set a target score range:
Before taking the test again, a student should think about what score they need in order to accomplish their goal. These could be improvements in order to meet requirements for a scholarship, but in any case, having a clear goal can help the student recognize how much improvement needs to be made and helps them stay motivated in the rigorous process of SAT studying.
To decide a score range, the student should make a list of the schools that they are applying to and determine the range of scores accepted by these schools as well as the scores required for scholarships. This can help a student target their goal and understand how much work needs to be put in in order to reach that goal.
2. Take Practice Tests:
The number one thing that can help students increase their overall score is practice. The SAT is very strategy based and the best way to figure out where the student excels or where they need work is through taking as many quality practices SAT tests as possible. This will help the student directly practice the application of strategies necessary for a good score by exposing them to different question types. It is important to draw from sources that accurately represent the material on the SAT so students should:
Take actual practice tests from the CollegeBoard
Use Khan Academy to practice specific weakness areas, watch tutorials on how to effectively solve SAT problems, as well as use an official source that developed its resources with the CollegeBoard
Turn mistakes from the CollegeBoard practice tests into learning opportunities with SoFlo Tutors free video explanations to SAT questions
3. Begin studying as soon as the previous test is over:
As soon as the previous SAT is over, the student should write down as much as they remember from the test, focusing on concepts or question types that confused them or that they found difficult. These notes will be helpful in order to better target the student’s studying for the next test. If the student did not take notes after the test, they should try to recall general ideas about what sections they found the hardest or were harder than they anticipated in order to focus their studying for the next test.
4. Use the Score Report:
Student’s general inclination is to look at the total score and individual test scores and calculate how much they need to improve. There is a lot more useful information in the score report that can help the student specify what areas need to be improved upon to better their score.
Looking at sub-scores on the score report can again help a student target their studying so that they understand they need to focus more on Problem Solving and Data Analysis questions than just the math section as a whole.
5. Optimize Studying Techniques:
Because high school schedules are so demanding, it is important to take the time that is allotted for SAT studying as effectively and less time-wasting as possible. This means that the most efficient way for a student to improve is to identify weaknesses or areas that need improvement and heavily pursue them through practice. Here are some steps to follow in order to more efficiently study:
When taking a practice test, the student should mark the questions that they are unsure about
After, score the test and review the questions marked, even if they got them right, as well as all the incorrect answers
Keep a list of the general application of each question missed in order to see patterns as they continue to take more tests and focus more on these areas
6. Start learning material that can be memorized for the next test:
The SAT is composed of questions that test more abstract skills that require strategy and are difficult to study in isolation. A way for a student to quickly improve is to learn how to apply basic skills to different questions through rote memorization of the processes.
These processes are included in general math skills, like working through linear equations or applications of ratios, as well as in conventions of English, like parallelism or punctuation.
Memorization of the way to answer certain question types and being able to apply this to questions on the SAT is a way to not only save time on the test but also increase the student’s chance of answering the question correctly.
7. Work smarter and use the test to do so:
Because the SAT is so strategy-based, students can use this understanding to their advantage. Using the answer choices given as well as other clues can help guide students’ intuition about a problem. In the math section, for example, using the process of elimination to eliminate answer choices that are definitely wrong can save the student time and allow them to focus on what answers actually work in the given problem.
In the reading section, use the understanding that all the correct answer choices have to be supported by what is written in the passage, so if one of the answers is not, eliminated it and move on. In the writing section, again, use the answer choices to guide understanding about what the question is asking. Are the answer choices offering different punctuation? If so, a student should tailor their approach to answering the question based on that.
It is also important to recognize that there are no penalties for guessing, meaning that no bubble on the answer key should be left blank. Take an educated guess, move on, and come back to the question if there is time.
Learning from past mistakes, using these strategies outlined, and putting in some extra studying can help a student improve on their next SAT. If a student implements these 7 ways to improve their SAT score, they have earned and can expect their score to be higher when they retake the SAT.