How students can improve their SAT scores


A student filling out answers to a test.

The SAT is one of the most important exams of a high school career, especially if you’re considering applying to college. The very thing that could separate you from other applicants in your dream college could be your SAT score. Fortunately, there are some tips from students who have studied and earned a good score on the SAT that should help propel you towards a good SAT score. 

There are many great resources on the web that will greatly improve a student’s SAT score. Most of these sources are free to access as well.

“[Watch] khan academy videos,” junior Brandon Mendoza Gaytan said. 

Utilizing these free resources is key to improving your score. It’s best to make a habit out of using resources as well.

“First, I took a practice test to see what my score would be,” junior Molly Gard said. “Then, I went back over the questions I got wrong and looked [at] what I messed up on. After that, I did lessons on Khan Academy on topics I wasn’t so good at. I repeated this pattern a few times over a couple months before I took the SAT.”

If you want to ensure a high score on the SAT, the first thing to do is very simple. You just need to utilize your opportunities as much as possible.

“Take it more than once,” Mendoza said. 

There’s a bit more to do than just taking the SAT more than once.

“I’m not sure if you can ensure [a high score], but try to get your best potential, try to learn the format of the test so that you can learn how to time your pacing well,” Gard said. “A good score is never guaranteed as the content is not exactly the same each and every time, so be sure to study a variety of topics that can be on the test.”

On that note, it is best to make preparations between tests to continually improve scores. To do this, a fixed schedule for studying is best.

“[Study for] at least 2 weeks to a month before the test,” Mendoza said. 

However, the amount of time to study for the SAT may just depend on what is being aimed for. Depending on if whether a top percentile score or a simple passing score is being sought, different amounts of study time may vary.

“It honestly depends on what your goal is,” Gard said. “If you want to have a top percentile score, I would say you should have a consistent schedule for at least a month. If you simply want an average ‘passing’ score, take a couple of practice tests within a couple of weeks before the test to get yourself used to the format.”

With the excessive effort required in snatching a very good SAT score, it’s easy to wonder why this studying is necessary. However, there is a good reason to study hard for the SAT for lots of people.

“If you want to impress colleges that require the SAT to apply, it is a good idea to study for it to increase the chances of a higher score,” Gard said. “Also, I believe getting a high enough score on it is a graduation pathway.”

Even with the studying methods outlined, it can be difficult to find the motivation to actually study. Fortunately, there are various methods to increase motivation.

“Personally, I motivated myself by imagining the positive outcomes of getting a higher score, such as better chances of getting into good colleges,” Gard said.