Dear College Made Simple Reader,
Whether your high school student is taking the SAT for the first time… or sitting for the SAT IIs… or strictly looking to improve previous SAT scores…
There are a number of easy things they can do to get the best possible score. Today, we review five of the most important ones.
5 Ways To Improve Your SAT Score
1. Allow yourself plenty of time.
When you start studying is entirely up to you. And it’s been shown, time and time again, the sooner you start studying, the better you’ll do. It’s a self-evident truth – but it’s only further reinforced by studies that show the same thing.
Not only can you increase your score an extra 50 or 100 points by getting ready earlier… but the study itself will be easier as well. You see, while you will be spending more hours getting ready, the most powerful part of starting early isn’t the extra time as much as the chance for your mind to process everything.
In other words, you’ll remember more of what you cover –without the stress of “cramming.”
2. Don’t underestimate practice.
Nothing – absolutely nothing – will give you as big a leg up as practice tests.
With practice, you’ll memorize the test instructions, so you won’t have to spend time figuring out what you’re being asked in each section. With practice, you’ll get a better feel for the questions you’ll see, and the types of thinking you’ll need to apply. Building strategy is key to improving your score.
And, of course, with practice, you’ll learn your weakest areas, and hence have an opportunity to focus your study where it will do the most good.
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3. Commit to a word a day.
Hopefully, you already know a good number of the SAT vocabulary words. That said, very few people know enough to feel confident without study – and, as mentioned earlier, cramming a bunch of words at a time isn’t the best way to retain them.
If you start early enough, though, you can add a word a day without too much trouble, and cover most of the gaps in your knowledge.
With only a word a day, you can really focus on it – go over the definition, use it three times in everyday conversation, and review it again before you go to sleep. And on top of that, you will be able to identify more words based on the root, the prefix and suffix of the words you are memorizing. Memorizing words is an easy – and highly effective method of prep.
4. Relax your mind.
For many students, the hardest thing about the test is knowing that you’re being tested.
Some studies show that many people get “dumber” under test-like pressure – they miss questions with answers they know.
The solution? Learn how to relax your mind.
Studying early and taking many practice tests help here – the confidence you gain can make a big difference.
But there are plenty of other things you can do as well. Practice various breathing techniques – anything from counting to ten to full-on meditation. Calm yourself just before the test starts – and between any sections, if you have the time.
Learn to recognize when your mind is tensing – and, as you notice it, do your best to sooth your mind.
5. Prep yourself right.
This should go without saying – but before the test, get a good night’s rest.
After all, nothing dulls the brain like lack of sleep. (Also try to make your night-before meal a light, healthy one.)
Of course,you should have a good idea of what will help your body work best – the key is, don’t give it short shrift during the drama and tension that often precede an SAT sitting.
Treat yourself right – and you’ll help yourself in the end.
To your college admissions success,
Co-founder, College Planning Network, LLC
College Made Simple – The Free Educational Resource of College Planning Network, LLC