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Ideally, you start studying for the SAT entrance exam 6-8 weeks before the actual test, although your ongoing classroom studies and outside activities will also prepare you for this important test. Taking the SAT once is good practice for taking it again, but an SAT prep course can boost your score by much more.
SAT Test Prep Tips
Follow some of these steps to raise your SAT score.
1. Practice Tests*. Taking practice tests can almost be as good as the real thing. They are meant to simulate testing conditions, questions, and time allowed. Practice tests also let you to learn how to pace yourself, as well as understand question structure and section orientation. These are two of the most important steps for improving your SAT score.
2. Study Your PSAT Results. Your PSAT results usually arrive in December, a few months after you take the test, but a few months before you take the SAT. Examine the areas where you got the lowest scores and work to improve them through practice tests and the following tip:
3. Read Broadly*. Improve your critical reading, reading comprehension, vocabulary and essay writing skills by reading voraciously. Language is two-thirds of the SAT test and should be a large part of your pre-test focus.
4. Take Often. The SAT is offered six times a year, but you certainly don’t need to take it that often. Still, taking it more than once is advisable. Not only will this boost your score a little bit, but colleges generally only get your top score. That extra edge could help you get into a better college. Taking the test a second or third time typically raises your score 50-100 points, though a good SAT prep program usually raises it 150-250 points.
5. Sleep*. This one seems obvious, but get a good night’s rest. You may be nervous, but try to sleep. If necessary, go to bed early. Falling asleep during Critical Reading won’t help your scores!
6. Eat breakfast* the day of the test. You’ll need to be mentally sharp and energetic to get a good grade. You don’t want to be focused on hunger when you should be focused on trig!
*Also good advice for taking the PSAT in the fall.
According to the National Association of College Admissions Counseling, the SAT score is the third most important factor in approving your college application. More than 58% of college counselors view it as “very important.” Simply put, your score is a significant part of how most colleges view you.
Once you’ve taken the test and gotten the best score possible, make sure you know how to use it to target colleges where you’re a good fit. A solid SAT prep program doesn’t just improve your score, it helps you use it to your benefit.
Good luck with the SATs!
For additional SAT tips, read Same Day Test Taking Tips for the SAT Entrance Exam.
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