Did your first attempt at the college admissions test give you a lower score than you hoped?
Are you preparing to take an admissions test for the first time and want to achieve the highest possible
While there are no magic wands to wave over the test to get a high (or higher) score, you can implement
a solid strategy to help improve your performance on any standardized test.
First Things First
If you’ve never taken a standardized test before, how do you know how well you may score? You can
take a practice test. (https://collegereadiness.collegeboard.org/sat/practice/full-length-practice-tests)
But first, before you go charging off to fill in a practice answer sheet, consider taking a a prep course to
get familiar with how the admissions test is presented and the types of questions you will find on the
test, whether the practice version or the real thing.
You can find courses online or engage a tutor to walk you through exactly how to prepare for an
Once you are familiar with what to expect, (https://satmarketplace.com/8-steps-teens-can-do-to-helpwith-sat-or-act-prep/) you’re ready to learn how well you may score.
Admissions Test Practice Pointers:
- Set up your practice area to mimic the location of the actual test. Eliminate distractions such as music,
TV, or other streaming devices.
- Make the other people in the area aware so you won’t be disturbed.
- Turn off your phone.
- Provide plenty of light.
- Have your pencils ready.
- Set a timer.
Take your practice exam with focus and determination. What you will learn after you check your scores will give you a roadmap of your next steps.
Practice Test Baseline Score
Okay, what did you learn from your practice test?
Did you do well on one section but not on the others? Did you score less than you thought you would on
the test? More than you expected?
Knowing your baseline will help you organize your study time until the actual test.
What questions did you miss outright? What questions were you sure you got right that were wrong? What questions did you completely skip because you didn’t understand what was being asked?
Now that you have pinpointed your strengths and your weaknesses, it’s time to break down where you
shine and where you struggle.
Isolate those questions you missed but thought you got right. Did you make a simple mistake? Or did
you misunderstand how the questions was asked?
Now review the questions you had no idea how to approach. Were you missing a math formula? Or
were you unsure of a concept in the reading section?
These missed and skipped questions will be your focus for study.
Find similar practice questions and set aside some time to analyze them and work through each step.
Compare your work with the answer guide to get familiar with the concepts presented.
Don’t be afraid to work many of each type of question. The more you practice a certain type of question,
the quicker you will recognize it on the test and be ready to answer with confidence.
And if you’re stuck on how to complete a problem, you can find videos to walk you through the steps.
Take plenty of notes, then practice those problems until you have a good grasp of the concept.
Practice, Practice, Practice
Just like any skill, scoring well on tests can be improved, and nothing will help your SAT score more than
practice. Once you’ve mastered the trouble spots you isolated on your practice exam, you can work on
practicing the overall exam.
Set up your practice area to mimic the actual testing environment as much as possible. Make sure you
won’t be disturbed during your practice time.
The steps to taking a full practice exam are the same as taking the actual test.
Scan the problems to locate the questions you are certain how to answer. Completing these answers
while you’re fresh will leave you more time to focus on the others that may need more of your thinking
power to answer.
Take your time on each question. Read thoroughly and be sure you understand
(https://satmarketplace.com/sat-writing-and-language-mastering-the-art-of-word-economy/) what the
question is asking you.
Eliminate answers you know cannot be correct, then carefully consider those that remain to select the
solution or comment you believe is correct.
If you run into a question you cannot answer, skip it and come back at the end if you have time.
Remember, skipped answers don’t count against your overall score.
But if you do skip questions, be vigilant about keeping your answer sheet in line so you don’t mark the
right answer on the wrong line.
When you are finished, and if you have additional time, go over your answers. While your first answer
will most often be the correct one, sometimes recalculating math problems or rethinking reading
questions can point out glaring errors you can correct.
When time’s up, calculate your score. How did you do?
If your score improved, congratulations! If you are still not satisfied with your final score, don’t panic.
Walk away from the test for a day and come back to try another practice test. The more you practice,
the better and faster you will get.
Hire a tutor
A coach can help you improve in a sport, and a tutor can help you improve your SAT score.
(https://satmarketplace.com/sat/) Not only will a tutor assist you with your problem areas, he or she
will also teach you important test-taking tricks (https://satmarketplace.com/what-to-eat-to-boost-yoursat-score/) to aid you while taking the SAT.