According to the College Board, "more than two million students take the SAT every year." Though some colleges do not require the SAT, most colleges want the scores that may predict a student's success in college. The SAT is one of the most important tests college-bound students face. There are a number of strategies students can use to improve their SAT scores.
If you are a junior and have taken the SAT for the first time, you may want to wait six months before taking the test again. Taking the test less than six months apart will not be of any benefit. Time is needed for more preparation. Colleges take the top scores from each year, so don't hurry on the testing. Read more, work on vocabulary, take more challenging classes your senior year, practice grammar and math skills and do a daily SAT question.
Bookmark the College Board website and visit it daily. Answer the daily question. Practice the critical reading that contains 19 sentence completion questions and 48 reading questions. Practice the 44 multiple choice math questions and 10 student response questions. Read approaches to the 25-minute essay and examples of the essay. Practice the multiple choice questions in writing that measure your grammar and communication skills. Take a practice test online. Look at the online course that has a free tour.
Consider taking a course. Sylvan Learning Centers offer courses in SAT preparation. Talk with your guidance counselor to find out if any schools or colleges have courses as well.
Buy a study guide, but beware. Many mass produced study guides are not up-to-date on testing material. They may have practice tests in areas that the College Board does not test anymore. Buy the official College Board study guide or one provided by a reputable learning center.
The best way to improve SAT scores is to practice taking the test. Take the PSAT your sophomore year and the SAT your junior year. Wait at least six months, then take the SAT again your senior year. With practice, you will build the confidence to do well and improve your SAT scores.
- Practice the essay by timing yourself. Take 5 minutes to plan the essay. Write a short introduction, one idea/paragraph in the body, and a short conclusion. Leave 5 minutes to go over the writing for editing.
- The SAT is only one part of the college application process. Even though it's important, it is not the only factor in determining acceptance.
Pauline Gill is a retired teacher with more than 25 years of experience teaching English to high school students. She holds a bachelor's degree in language arts and a Master of Education degree. Gill is also an award-winning fiction author.