The SAT exam comes with a lot of stress to reach a high score closer to the coveted 1600. But, a low score for one student can mean a high score for another, so, the first step to score improvement is knowing your ideal score.
Ideal scores can be summarized by looking at what your top choice schools require and what their accepted student body averages. Once you know the institution’s average score and your own goal, it is easier to form a plan. This plan will center around your last SAT score and the improvement needed.
With a goal in mind, you are ready to build a new study program that will make sure you are successful on test day. You will find program-building tips, study drills, and practice strategies that will keep you on track to get that 1600 score.
Retaking the SAT
Retaking the SAT exam does not need to come with the added stress. You are already ahead of the game and all you need is a whole new approach with new tips to improve your score. Even if your score was not as high as you might’ve hoped for, don’t panic! Read below if retaking the SAT exam is the best strategy for you.
Diagnostic Practice Tests: Taking an SAT diagnostic practice test will summarize the areas you might need to put more study time in. Getting an SAT practice test score will allow you to figure out why you did so poorly on your past SAT section scores. Realizing your weaknesses is the first step to addressing and strengthening them. If you realize that math isn’t your strong suit then you should check out how you can get a higher SAT math score along with these simple study strategies below.
Register for the ACT Exam: Perhaps the new SAT exam format is not the right fit for you and that is okay, it doesn’t mean there isn’t another aptitude college entrance exam for you. The American College Testing (ACT) exam is also another option for prospective college students.
The ACT has a larger recognition in the Midwest and East Coast, but it is a high-caliber exam that is also highly recognized in colleges and universities throughout the United States. Yet, there are a few slight differences between the ACT and the SAT. An obvious difference is that the ACT has a science-based section where test-takers need to answer questions and analyze scientific data, critical thinking, and reading comprehension. If you have stronger skills in science, then perhaps you could perform better on the ACT exam and score a higher overall score.
Retaking the SAT: The first obvious choice is to retake the SAT exam. With a bit of extra studying in weak areas, you can really improve your low score. Another positive is that many colleges also use a ‘super score’ as most professionals call it. A ‘super score’ is a combination of the best raw SAT section scores from each exam taken.
Yet, there are colleges that do not use the ‘super score’ strategy, which in that case many colleges take into account your highest overall score when evaluating your college application. On average, second-time SAT test-takers score higher than their first-time scores, making it easier to improve your score the second time around.
Take a deep breath and read through the following strategies to improve your SAT raw scores.
Math Refresher Courses & Resources
Math can be a tough subject for many test-takers, or simply an area where students can get rusty on certain levels of math. That is why a math refresher is always a great idea when preparing for the new and updated SAT exam. From free or tuition-based online resources to community college there are multiple arenas to get your numeric side of the brain up and going.
A free online math resource is The Gruber Institute’s Complete SAT Math Refresher. The online resource is made up of nine free lessons that include a study guide and a practice test at each of the sessions. The refresher includes subjects like fractions, decimals, percentages, deviations, comparisons of fractions, ratios, etc.
Another great resource is study textbooks like The Ultimate Math Refresher, which was written by the Lighthouse Review. The SAT prep textbooks include a complete and comprehensive review of the basic math rules and principles that you will need to retain before test day. You can find most SAT prep books at your local bookstore online for a little over $40.
These math refreshing tools will speed your progression once you start working on timed SAT practice tests. Along with daily math drills and memorizing mental math basics like multiplications, basic addition/subtraction, and formulas needed for geometry and trigonometry problems.
Reading Comprehension Strategies
Just like some struggle with math others struggle with the verbal sections of the SAT exam. The evidence-based reading and language section as the SAT exam likes to call it has been restructured to have most questions be related to a short passage. This means that test takers have to really hone in on their reading comprehension skills and reading speed.
Reading speed can only get better by actively reading. So along with your weekly SAT study sessions, you should also include an hour of structured reading. This reading time that is set aside can include any novel you have been wanting to crack open or full articles from your favorite trade magazine or current event news outlets. Reading will not only increase your reading speed but will also increase your comprehension as well as your vocabulary recognition.
Another strategy to speed your reading time is by only reading the first and last paragraphs of the passages before moving on to the questions. If any reason you cannot answer the questions adequately with only the information you read, then proceed to read the full passage or try skimming through the script for what is needed. Try practicing this technique at your dedicated reading hour; read a paragraph and then skip a few paragraphs and try to see if you can get an overall perception of what you’ve read. For more tips and tricks related to the verbal section of the SAT check out these reading/writing guides.
Yet, if you’ve tried these strategies and you are still scoring below your goal on practice tests, then maybe it’s time to look into other more tailored options like private tutoring. Private tutoring sounds fairly daunting when thinking about it, mainly because of the high pricing and doubt about picking the right tutor.
But, online instruction communities like Superprof do not just make it affordable, but they also make it convenient to your schedule and needs. With their no commitment pay-as-you-go mantra, it makes it much easier for students to be able to find a tutor that fits their SAT goals without breaking the bank.
With hundreds of tutors across the United States and around the world, there is a tutor that will fit your needs. Skills like time management, math, and reading are all strategies that your personalized SAT tutor can help you master.
Come SAT test day you will be ready to not only retake the exam but get the high score that you worked hard for.