High school students who are considering applying for selective colleges should take the SAT. Even though test-optional admissions are increasing, a high SAT score will help you impress college admissions officials. These are my tips for increasing your score after I have taken the SAT three more times.
Reading was my most difficult section. Even after making mistakes, my first practice tests showed me that I got at least 15 wrong questions. Remember that the questions in the practice tests are Objective, and not Subjective. Many questions in the reading are answered in the passage, but the question is not interpreted differently in the answer. Reading section is my favorite because you don’t need to interpret the passage in order to find hidden meanings or symbolism.
My Princeton Review book advised that you should not read the whole passage, and instead skip to the questions. However, I find it extremely helpful to read the entire passage to understand the questions. I don’t go to the questions until I run out time in a section. Time Management is essential to excel in this section. With only 65 mins to answer 52 questions, there’s not a lot of room for distraction.
Reading is often difficult. Your score could be significantly different from your practice test score.
Writing section was much easier because I could practice every test and improve my writing skills. I was able to identify my weaknesses in writing: questions relating to sentence placement, finding the main idea, transition words, and excerpts. I was most helped by learning comma and idioms/diction rules. It is essential to review your mistakes, discover patterns in scores, and figure out what you need most.
If you excel at SAT math-style questions, the mathematics section can increase your score. My first practice test score was 620. I scored 800 on subsequent practice tests. One of the key things is that the questions in math are very simple. This makes it easy for people to hurry through them, but also gives them ample opportunity to make errors. I see the math section as a room filled with booby traps. You could make 10 mistakes if you make even a few small errors.
Math was also a priority for me. I struggled with trigonometry and geometry, just like most test-takers. I learned the concepts and practiced more, so I was able solve these types of problems on tests.
Tips for general guidance
I can tell you that prep books such as Kaplan, Princeton Review, and Barron’s will not help you score a 1400+ in the SATs. First, these companies have not been approved by College Board (the company that creates SAT test). Therefore, their practice questions are quite different from what College Board uses. These books are too complicated and don’t accurately represent the actual SAT. I didn’t use any of the test-taking techniques they suggested because it made it difficult for practice tests. Nine weeks before the day of the SAT, I would take a practice test each weekend to see if I was making progress by using official College Board tests (link: https://satsuite.collegeboard.org/sat/practice-preparation/practice-tests).
To make sure you have correct answers for every question on practice tests, I recommend having a Google Doc/Notebook. You can write down the reason you did not get it right, what made the answer choices incorrect, and what makes the right answer . Is it time-consuming? Maybe, but it takes about an hour to do. ”
These words were very helpful to me.
The SATs are not a clear-cut way to score high. There are many strategies that will work for you. Preparation took me between 30-60 minutes and an hour per day. This helped me increase my score more than 300 percent. It’s not an easy journey but you will get there.