This article is for anyone looking at improving their SAT score. It can be either for increased or better college opportunities or to qualify for more scholarships. It may also be because one might feel that performance on the exam was much below the potential.
It’s a common perception regarding the SAT, that most students perform much better on their subsequent attempts rather than their first attempt on the SAT. However, we at SAT Champ don’t favour this opinion. We believe the improvement should be attributed to the self-analysis which a candidate goes through after not performing up to the expectations in the first attempt on the SAT. The other reason might be that the student realizes that practising a mundane set of questions leads you to nowhere. In a standardized test like the SAT, scoring is based on your analytical and reasoning skills. So, even if you put in extensive hours practising the questions which did not develop your reasoning skills along with your logical ability, it is a sheer waste of time that will drive you nowhere. The internet is flooded with stories of students who, in spite of giving repeated attempts and studying like crazy, were not able to see any improvement in their scores. This can be attributed to the widely held notion that only Practice can help you increase your SAT score. However, what matters the most is your thinking process. How your mind processes the information when you read a question? In what circumstances it is better to eliminate than to solve? And more importantly, how fast and accurately are you able to do this in a time-pressured environment. At this point, your SAT tutoring takes the niche. An efficient SAT tutor will help you get rid of all your doubts by explaining in the easiest and efficient way to solve a variety of problems.
We believe the first attempt, if taken under the guidance of an excellent SAT tutor, can easily make you achieve your target score, saving you the agony of going through a repeated attempt. However, by any chance, if you plan to improve on your mock test scores or if you are willing to give a repeated attempt, this article is for you.
Since you already have a baseline score in hand, you can always compare your actual scores with the practice test scores.
If the actual scores were much lesser than the practice test score, the most probable reason for the same would be the exam day anxiety. In this case, it will be reassuring to know that the test anxiety generally diminishes on its own with subsequent testing experiences. However, this should not serve as an excuse for a subsequent attempt as you will have to put in the effort again and go through the increased mental stress of performing better in your next attempt. We believe whoever guided you in your SAT prep did not do full justice to his job. We at SAT Champ ensure that we assess a child after his prep phase with us whether he is ready to give the SAT by asking him to write a mock test in just test like situation and analyzing his scores in detail along with the child.
If the actual scores were similar to those of practice tests and still you strive to improve your SAT score, we believe either it’s an issue with the content knowledge or with the time management. In this case, one should interpret one’s score report very minutely. Looking at the sub-scores which include a score ranging from 1-15 for each of the following categories:
• Command of Evidence
• Words in Context
• Expression of Ideas
• Standard English Conventions
• Heart of Algebra
• Problem Solving and Data Analysis
• Passport to Advanced Math
One can identify the areas where the performance can be improved. This assessment is instrumental in identifying your areas of strength and weakness. You can be assured that if this identification is made properly, half of the battle is already won as you can easily plan your further course of action in the right direction. Along with this, one should try to memorize the questions or sections where you were caught off-guard during your actual SAT.
Sometimes, not pacing yourself throughout the test also leads to much lower scores than one target, which can be attributed to poor time management applied during the exam. Maybe one spends a lot more time during the initial phase of the sections, leaving you time-crunched for attempting the rest of the section thereby inducing a lot of stress resulting in careless mistakes, which you might have avoided. Also, once you are aware that you have messed up on the initial section, it might have a cascading effect leading you to perform poorly in the rest of the sections as well.
Moreover, you should develop a habit of studying the same amount of time for English and Math each day. This way you gradually condition your brain to not feel fatigued on the test day and feeling equally active in solving both English and Math sections. Remember, on the SAT exam, you will be spending an almost equal amount of time for both sections.
Another area which can lead to a dramatic improvement in score is the “mock tests”. With our experience, we have analysed that the students who saw a dramatic improvement in their score during their SAT journey gave prime importance to their mock tests. Any mock test you take should be practised in realistic test conditions as if you were giving a real SAT exam. Try to feel the anxiety and pressure which creeps in when you are not able to solve questions or lag behind time. This will not only prepare you for a 230 minutes long marathon on the actual SAT but also develop your skills of pacing the SAT correctly. Also, after taking the mock spend at least double the time of your test attempt in self-analysis and identifying the gaps. Make sure to discuss your mock in detail with your SAT tutor as to what could have been done better and what were the shortcomings which need to be improved. This will fine-tune the self-analysis which you did by yourself for the mock.
Therefore, proper guidance is definitely required to perform to your potential on the test day.
Our point of view – SAT can be aced, but that surely requires the guidance of top SAT instructors, which can effectively make a difference in your SAT prep.