How to Improve SAT Scores ~ Those planning on going to university know just how important the SAT is. That being said, preparing for the SAT takes time and effort—both things high school students are hard-pressed to give.
The truth, however, is that if you plan to go to a good university, you’re going to need a score to back you up. Because of this, it’s important to understand two things: first, you’re going to need to know what a good score is, and second, you’re going to have to understand how to improve your score.
Because the SAT has undergone format changes over the years, make sure that you’re using only up-to-date study resources.
If you’re looking to better understand SAT scores, we’ve got you covered. Below, we’ll go over not only what a good score is, but also how you can earn a great score on your next exam.
To get the most out of your score, carefully consider the points below. In doing so, you’ll gain critical information that you need to boost your SAT score in no time.
Here is a great video breaking down some points on how to improve your score. With that in mind, let’s first start by taking a look at just what makes an SAT score good—and what doors a good score can open.
What is a Good SAT Score?
The most important question you can ask is probably what scores are good. By knowing what score you should aspire to, you can better plan your matriculation process.
Unfortunately, the truth isn’t so black and white. There are different levels of good SAT scores—and even ones that are considered “good” by some may not be enough for others.
For this reason, it’s always important that you have an understanding of the average SAT scores for the university you’re trying to get into.
This will provide a much better understanding of the SAT score you should try for than general SAT admissions information.
This is because the SAT score required to get into more elite colleges can differ quite dramatically from the scores of public schools.
You’ll find, for instance, that the average SAT scores to get into Harvard are in the 700s, while some public schools may only require scores in the upper 500s to lower 600s.
By knowing where your school falls, you can better understand the level of effort you should put into the exam.
Before we go over that, however, let’s first take a look at how the exam is scored.
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How to Judge SAT Scores
If you’ve looked into the SAT for any amount of time, you’ve probably heard some of this information before.
Bear with us, however, as it has important implications on how you should study for your test.
For starters, one must understand that the SAT now has two required sections: reading and math. There once was a time when a third section, writing, was required, but now it’s considered optional.
For this reason, SAT scores today are generally lower than they were a decade ago—simply for the fact that the top-possible score is also lower.
So how much is each section worth?
Every section is worth 800 points each. This means that now the highest possible score that one can get is 1600.
Studies have shown that those who get into Ivy League schools generally have scores of 1400 and above.
The good news is, however, that the average scores for test-takers are much lower than that. The average reading score in 2016, for instance, was a shockingly-low 495.
If you study well, you should be able to distance yourself from average test-takers without a problem.
And though you might not achieve Harvard-level results, you may score high enough to get into just about any other university.
Of course, the SAT isn’t the only factor that will determine your university admittance. However, by getting a good score, you’ll be able to open more doors and opportunities for yourself.
Those looking to get into good universities should try for a score in at least the low 600s.
For more elite universities, attempt to get a score in the 700s.
This should be enough to open just about every door that you need—however, as noted, keep in mind that the SAT isn’t the sole measuring stick that will be used.
Also, remember that the more esteemed the institution, the higher your score will have to be.
Even the bottom 25% of those admitted to Harvard, for instance, score at least 1400 on the exam. The top 75%, on the other hand, score a perfect 1600/1600.
If these numbers seem impossible to get, don’t worry. With the right study plan, you can be on your way to boosting your SAT score.
And though you might not be able to expect perfect results, with the right time and effort, you should be able to score reasonably well.
For this reason, it’s critical that you develop an SAT study plan before taking the exam.
This will allow you to improve your score and increase your chances of getting into the university of your choice. Keep in mind that while you do this, however, that you need to maintain your grades in school.
You may even wish to engage in extracurricular activities—such as sports or volunteering—to help further pad your resume.
Because universities aren’t solely looking for academic individuals anymore, it’s important that you put together an impressive and well-rounded portfolio.
Because the SAT is one of the most important parts of this portfolio, make sure that you’re not skimping on your SAT review.
But knowing where to start with SAT studying can be overwhelming. If your local school doesn’t offer SAT prep classes to get you prepared, it can be even more difficult in finding the right study method.
If this applies to you, don’t worry. Below, we’ll walk you through some of the best ways that you can start improving your SAT score in no time.
How to Improve
Now that you know what a good score is, it’s time to consider ways that you can improve yours.
Because getting a good SAT score is paramount for those looking to get into good universities, be sure to take advantage of every opportunity to better your test-taking abilities.
But studying for the SAT isn’t as easy as it seems. In order to do so properly, you must first know the correct methods to increase your score.
If you’re not sure where to start, consider the following popular studying methods.
Take SAT Study Courses
SAT study courses are perhaps the most powerful way that you can start boosting your score.
These courses are taught by expert professionals who have an in-depth knowledge of the exam.
Usually taught weekly, these courses can provide you with comprehensive knowledge and the practice needed to excel.
Because you’ll be able to receive almost instant feedback, you can be sure that you will maximize your scoring potential.
The downside to these classes, however, is that they’re expensive.
Because of this, they might not be in every student’s budget. With some of the best course pricing in the thousands of dollars, make sure that you plan ahead if you want to take one of these courses.
It’s likely that you and your parents will have to set aside extra funds; however, the investment ultimately will prove worth it.
These great courses can raise your score by hundreds of points if taken long enough.
Of course, you’ll also have to be willing to focus and put forth the effort. If you do, you’ll find that SAT prep courses generally provide one of the best tools available for boosting your SAT score.
With this in mind, if you plan to take the SAT, make sure to look up study course options in your area.
It’s likely that you will have to travel to nearby big cities if you live in a small town, so be sure to map out your best option.
The SAT isn’t a test that you can master overnight. This is true no matter how smart you are.
For this reason, don’t attempt to start studying with only a week or two left before the test. Studying for the SAT is something that should be done before you even have the test date penciled in on your calendar.
In other words, consider starting to study as soon as you get into high school.
You don’t want to start too late, as this can leave you confused when it comes time to take the test.
For this reason, expose yourself to content on the SAT as soon as you can. If your test date is already approaching, there’s nothing you can do to make up for the time that’s already been lost.
What’s important is that you start studying now.
Generally speaking, however, don’t cram. Give yourself a few months at least to start brushing up on your SAT knowledge.
By having time to let the information marinate, you’ll be on your way to a better score.
By studying digestible amounts of information over time, you’ll better absorb and retain the information.
Keep this in mind as you start to study for the test. If you haven’t started studying and don’t have a test date in mind, consider putting it as late as you can.
Make sure that you leave enough time to take it a second time if needed.
Focus on Your Grammar
Because the SAT has changed formats so many times, it can be confused knowing what to study. That’s what makes prep courses and books so great.
However, there can still be points of confusion. If you’re new to the SAT, you might not realize that up until recently, the writing portion of the exam wasn’t optional.
Instead, the test was graded out of a total of 2400 points.
As thankful as you may be that the writing portion was cut as a mandatory requirement, keep in mind that its removal had important ramifications on the rest of the test.
Namely, the English reading portion has grown in importance. Now, don’t get us wrong.
It’s still scored and weighted evenly on a scale of 800 along with the math.
However, the way the English portion is considered has changed. Those making the test now put a greater emphasis on the grammar portion of the exam.
For this reason, make sure that you have a solid understanding of grammar before you begin. In doing so, you can better prepare yourself for the exam.
And we get it: grammar can be difficult. Not too many people like studying it.
However, making sure that you have a solid understanding of your gerunds, participles, and other grammatical constructions can help you boost your score.
Study with a Friend
Finally, if you want to get the most out of your studying, make sure to do so with a friend. By working with a friend, you’ll be able to study the exam in a greater number of ways.
You may find, for instance, that your friend understands some sections better than you do—or vice versa. Because of this, you’ll be able to build off each other’s understanding of the test content in order to achieve a better score.
Even better, you never have to feel as if you’re wasting your time explaining something that you already know.
With research indicating that teaching can be one of the best forms of learning, you can actually solidify your understanding of the content by studying with a friend.
Don’t let this replace studying by yourself, however.
Make sure that you schedule a time to study alone and with friends so that you can get the most out of your study sessions.
Consider adding your group study session to the end of your weekly schedule so that you can recap the information you learned over the course of the week.
By following this tip and the others listed above, you can be on your way to improving your SAT score in no time.