[NOTE: This refers to the pre-2016 SAT]
The College Board has just released the full score reports for the latest SAT. Here’s how you can get the most out of the report.
Download the report
1. Log into the Collegeboard site
2. Click on the SAT Scores link
3. Click on Understanding Your Score Performance link
4. Click on the Save As A PDF button in upper right corner
Look at each section in detail
1. Did you miss any easy questions?
(You know the questions are arranged in order of difficulty by mini-section, right?)
You’ll want to slow down a little and make sure you get all the easy ones correct. ESPECIALLY if you rushed through the easy ones in order to get to the medium and hard questions. It doesn’t make any sense to miss the easiest questions just to get a chance to wrestle with ones you’re even more likely to miss.)
2. Is there a certain topic that you need help in?
Study up on that topic. Get to know it until you can explain it to your grandmother.
It’s hard to get a feel for exactly what you are missing from these reports – they are too general. My reports are much more detailed and let you see exactly what you need to focus on.
3. Did you miss random questions across topic areas?
You might have some bad test-taking habits that are leading to multiple wrong answers. Slowing down, showing your work, and choosing your cupcake ahead of time are terrific strategies to use across a variety of problems.
4. Are you missing most of the hard ones?
Unless you’re shooting for a score above 600, you don’t need to tangle with any of the hard questions. Most of my students get 50-100 points higher per section by skipping the hard questions.
Where are those hard questions hanging out? Here’s exactly where they are located in the math, reading, and writing sections.
Take another practice test
I’ve got a list of all the available practice tests, in addition to the ones in the Blue Book.
Track your progress
This is where the magic is. You want to track not only WHAT you miss, but WHY you missed it. (My reports do this for you – well, you have to fill in why you missed a problem.)
And then you need to come up with a new strategy to prevent that mistake from happening again. Sort of like putting up guard-rails in the spots where you tend to drive off the road.
And, as well-meaning as my students are, “reading more carefully” is not a great strategy. What about underlining key words in the sentence or re-writing the problem?
And, btw, there are no “silly” mistakes on the SAT. When I first start working with students, they usually brush off the majority of their mistakes as “just a silly mistake.” As if “silly” mistakes are different than “real” mistakes and don’t cost any points. All the mistakes on the SAT – silly or otherwise – cost points. Figure out what’s behind every mistake you made and fix the problem.
Call in the cavalry
If you need expert advice on what to do next, contact me. I offer free 15 min consultations to help you figure out how to best help your student.
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