Here's How You Can Improve Your SAT Score

Cyril Zachariah
Updated on Jul 07, 2022 02:31 PM IST

Appearing for the SAT exam? Read the article to know how to improve your SAT score and increase your chances of getting accepted into your dream university. Also, check out how to qualify for a scholarship based on your SAT score.  

Here's How You Can Improve Your SAT Score

International students seeking admission to undergraduate programmes or foreign institutions take the SAT exam. The College Board administers the SAT exam, which is a multiple-choice, pen-and-paper test. The purpose of the SAT exam is to quantify a high school student's readiness for college and provide universities with a single shared data point from which all candidates may be compared. Whether you are preparing for the SAT or only considering taking the test, any preparation you do now will greatly boost your chances of scoring high whenever the day comes.

According to testing trends, scoring at least 1200 on the SAT will put you in the 74th percentile, which might be pretty good for a number of popular US colleges. However, in case you are unsure of your chances of getting into your dream college with your current SAT score, you can always retake the SAT and improve your score.

Reports by College Board show that two out of three students who retake the SAT, improve their SAT score. This, however, needs more thinking and trend analysis - retaking the SAT is recommended only if you have received a score that is below the college average. So, now the question arises, how do you maximise your potential before and during the SAT exam? Read the article till the end to how can you improve your SAT score.

Not all foreign universities have the sameSAT Cutoff Score or neither all universities compulsorily require them. Let our experts help you understand the SAT requirements for different universities abroad.

Learn About SAT Cut-Offs for Foreign Universities!

How to Improve Your SAT Score?

Now that you are retaking the test, you would have an idea of what mistakes you cannot afford to make this time. Make sure you have improvised your strategic preparation plans this time to improve your SAT score and increase your chances of applying to the US college of your choice:

Figure Out Your Target Score Range

This time, have a clear goal as to which college you want to get into, which score range you want to target and what requirements you need to meet for a scholarship. The ideal way to do this is to first shortlist the colleges you want to apply to and note down their SAT cutoffs for admissions and scholarships.

However, progress would not happen without effort. You must choose a goal that takes full advantage of your abilities while also being practical. Generally, an increase of 200 points is a realistic goal if your score is less than 500. On the other hand, you can endeavour to increase your score by between 100 points and 150 points if your SAT score is higher.

When determining your target score for the desired university, you should consider the middle 50% score ranges of those schools' admitted students. The middle 50% is the area where 50% of accepted applicants succeeded.

For example, consider Princeton's middle 50% range of 1460-1590, where 25% of students received a score below 1460, 50% had a score between 1460 and 1590, and 25% received a score over 1570. The following table outlines the middle 50% range of SAT scores for different universities in the United States:

University Name

SAT Score Range of Middle 50%

Brown University

1420-1550

Caltech University

1530-1570

Columbia University

1480-1560

Cornell University

1400-1560

Dartmouth University

1440-1560

Duke University

1500-1560

Harvard University

1460-1580

Johns Hopkins University

1480-1550

MIT University

1520-1580

Northwestern University

1450-1540

Notre Dame University

1410-1540

University of Pennsylvania

1460-1550

Princeton University

1460-1590

Rice University

1470-1560

Stanford University

1420-1570

Yale University

1450-1560

Set Up a Schedule

Given that you are retaking the test, you would have an idea of what mistakes you cannot afford to make this time. Craft a study plan accordingly and allocate more time to sections of the SAT that you believe you are weak in. While doing so, do not forget to work more on your strengths, which could definitely help you score higher on the test.

Use the Best Practices

Take an SAT prep class, level up your skills, achieve new skills and stay focused to work on areas that are the most important. Always remind yourself of the reasons why you want to improve your score toprepare for the SAT exhaustively. We often tend to forget why we stepped on this journey in the first place, leading to us getting diverted from our goal, feeling less motivated and looking for alternatives. Do not do that! Make sure that you feel constantly inspired to do better and achieve your goal.

Take a Full-Length SAT Practice Test

Although you may have already taken a full-lengthSAT practise test before attempting the test for the first time, take it again to familiarise yourself with the test in a better way. It is recommended that you take at least one practice test around two weeks before retaking the SAT. It is even better if you take another practice test again if you have enough time left. Make sure you use an SAT Score Calculator to keep a track of your weaker and stronger areas where you need to improve.

Only Use Official SAT Study Material

There are numerous free study aids accessible online and offline to help undergraduate aspirants with SAT preparation. Many of these materials attempt to mimic the level of difficulty of the SAT exam, but their approximation is not always perfect. To be successful, regardless of how much content data you study, you must understand the actual Exam Pattern of the SAT. Exercise using questions from the official SAT exam to better prepare for the official SAT exam. You can also check out the best books to prepare for the SAT.

Look for a Mentor

If you feel that you need some assistance in order to comprehend the ideas or strategies to crack the SAT, look for a mentor. Ask a seasoned professional or one of your Math teachers for assistance. If you cannot find a mentor, another way to prepare for SAT is to take an SAT preparation course. Also, you can look for any free SAT prep classes available through any non-profit organisation or your school or online mediums like Youtube.

Organise a Group Study

The greatest way to set goals, share ideas, and hold one another responsible is to schedule regular study sessions with classmates. If you cannot get into a study group or are unable to locate an existing one, you can also start your own study group. The College Board has put out a manual for organising an SAT study group that offers basic advice as well as a list of things to prepare for the SAT.

Take Sufficient Rest

Above all, avoid taking stress before the test. Research has shown that taking the time to sleep before your test will significantly benefit your test score than sleeping for just four to five years. So, get a good nights sleep, try and feel confident and positive and you are good to go!

Section-Wise Tips to Improve Your SAT Score

The SAT exam lasts three hours and can be extended by 50 minutes if you choose to write an elective essay. If you are applying to prominent universities, it is highly advised that you take the elective essay. There are 52 reading questions, 80 Math questions, and 35 writing/language questions that you must answer.

SAT Writing Section

The writing section of the SAT is the easiest for some students and they find it quite scoring, but for others, figuring out how to raise their scores can be challenging. Before beginning the SAT Writing section, you must comprehend and be able to apply grammar principles. Do not lose attention to the underlined section and emphasise it when answering punctuation or simple grammatical problems. You must read the paragraph or the sentences around it to check the word choice, sentence structure, or add/remove questions.

SAT Reading Section

Applying various strategies can help you decide which one is ideal to implement as you try to increase/improve your SAT reading score. The following are the two approaches that can be used to improve the SAT Reading section scores:

1. If you understand the texts but are unable to complete them in the allocated time, try reading the questions first and underlining the key phrases that apply to the passage. When reading the passage, read with greater awareness or consciously and pay attention to the words and underline them.

2. If you are having trouble understanding the passages, read only the opening and last paragraphs and the first and last sentences of each paragraph. Then, move on to the questions and respond to the primary awareness questions. Return to the section and read the paragraph in which the line appears. This way, you would not have to worry about understanding each section thoroughly, and you can rather emphasise the bits of the passages that are required to answer the questions.

SAT Math Section

The SAT Math section includes a variety of questions with various numbers and words. All you need to do is practise and practise to score high. Furthermore, after each mock test, write down every question you got wrong and consider how to enhance your Math SAT score. If you see that you keep getting the same type of question wrong, focus your attention on that idea over all others.

Conclusion: In the end, it does not matter whether you are giving the SAT exam for the first time or second, there is always a ray of improvement that comes through persistent hard work. Follow the general as well as section-wise tips mentioned above to improve your SAT score.

Want to know your chances of getting accepted into your dream university abroad? Ask our experts at abroad@collegedekho.com To date, we have helped hundreds of students ace the SAT exam and score high.

Get Expert Tipsto Improve Your SAT Scores!

FAQs

Can I increase my SAT score by 300 points?

Yes, you can increase your SAT score by 300 points. Follow the strategies mentioned below to increase your SAT score by 300 points or more:

  • Create a study schedule and stick to it.

  • Use the divide and rule concept to master each SAT section individually.

  • Upgrade your methodological approaches.

  • Use only premium study materials.

  • Take as many practice tests as you can.

  • Conquer your mental obstacles.

Can I improve my SAT score by 100 points in a week?

Yes, you can improve your SAT score by 100 points in a week. It can be done by getting familiar with the test's format and enhancing weak points. On the other hand, increasing an already high SAT score by 100 points in a week is challenging since it calls for the acquisition of new abilities, which takes more time.

Is it hard to increase the SAT score by 200 points?

Yes, it is hard to increase the SAT score by 200 points and especially if you already have a high SAT score. It will take around two months or possibly longer of consistent study and self-evaluation to increase your SAT scores by 200 points. For this, you should start giving as many timed mock tests as you can within or you should at least try to give one-two a week.

How long does it take to increase the SAT score by 300 points?

It takes 150+ hours of study time to increase the SAT score by 300 points. However, one month most certainly would not be enough to improve your SAT score by nearer to 200 or 300 points. For this, you would need to study for roughly 38 hours per week, or even more than five hours per day.

Is two months of time enough to study for the SAT?

Yes, it can be said that two months of time is enough to study for the SAT. Your best chance of being well-prepared is after two to three months of continuous study. Although it can be challenging to maintain concentration, you need to have enough time to master the study material and avoid having your grades fall.

When should I start studying for SAT to get a good SAT score?

To get a good SAT score, you should start studying at least three months before the exam. Getting a head start on preparation allows applicants enough of a buffer to test out various study methods and become familiar with the test's specific topic.  

Can I prepare for SAT by doing self-study?

Yes, you can prepare for SAT by doing self-study. Follow the tips mentioned below to get the most out of your self-study venture:

  • Set a timetable.

  • Start by using official sources and materials.

  • Use only prep books with excellent reviews.

  • Utilise practice tests to monitor your progress.

  • Consider your flaws.

  • As required, look for a mentor.

  • Figure out ways to stay inspired.

Is 1400 a good SAT score?

Yes, 1400 is a good SAT score but it also depends on the university you are applying to. While this score places you in the 92nd percentile, which implies you scored the same as or lower than roughly 125,000 people. However, it may not be a very good score if you are heading to selective universities like Stanford or the Ivies. 1400 would, however, place you near the lower end of the SAT range for applicants to selective universities like Michigan, Cornell, and Dartmouth.

How do I set a target SAT score?

You can set a target SAT score by following the steps mentioned below:

  • Find out the average test scores of the colleges you are considering applying to.

  • Consider the criteria for scholarships (if you need one).

  • the outcome of your most recent test (it can be a timed SAT practice test).

  • Establish a goal and determine your target SAT score by examining the data and keeping every aspect in mind.

How many students score a perfect 1600 on GMAT?

Only around 300 of the 1.7 million students who take the SAT each year achieve the highest score of 1600. It is less than 0.0002%. Although getting a perfect 1600 on the SAT is exciting, it has no bearing at all on your college application. 

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