SAT scores arrived this morning. Congratulations to all the students who got the scores they wanted or needed!
For those of you who didn’t, here’s a plan to improve your SAT score.
1. How far are you off from your target score?
Exactly how many points are you short of your goal score? Don’t look at combined numbers – as in “I got a 1900 but I really want at 2100.” It’s easier to break it down by subject. “I want to get a 650 in Math but I only got a 600.”
Roughly speaking, each question is worth 10 points. (Note: this actually depends on where on the curve you are, so, again, this is just a rough estimate.)
So, if you are 50 points below your target score, that works out to be that you need about 2 more questions right per section. (Note: this doesn’t take into account the deductions for the questions you missed.)
2. Examine your results
Detailed results will come out in another week. Look at how many easy, medium, and hard questions you missed.
If you missed any easy ones, that’s a perfect place to start working to reach your target score. If you missed the majority of the hard questions, maybe you should avoid the hard questions.
3. Analyze your results
If you ordered the Question and Answer Service (where they send you a copy of the test booklet with all the questions), you’ll receive that in another couple of weeks. (You can still order it up to 5 weeks after you took your test.)
You want to focus on both what you missed as well as why you missed it. For example, if you missed an exponent question because you read the question incorrectly, you want to practice reading the questions more carefully by underlining key words and re-reading the question before choosing an answer (or some other smart strategies.) On the other hand, if you missed the question because you forgot the exponent rules, you’ll want to review those instead.
If you didn’t order a copy of the January test, you can still figure out your strengths and weaknesses by taking the 2014-2015 Practice Test or a test from the Official SAT Study Guide and analyzing your answers.
Here are the free reports that I use with my students to help them see which questions they missed and why they missed them.
3. Create an action plan
Now that you know what topics you need to study and what strategies to practice, block out time on your calendar to do so. Start with the most frequently-tested topics first. Here are the most frequently-tested math, reading, and writing topics. There are tons of resources on the web to help you with math and grammar topics. I have a lot of them listed on the Resources page.
4. Shore up your weaknesses
Drill on your weaknesses until you can explain fractional exponents to your grandmother or dangling modifiers to your little sister.
5. Take another practice test
Take another practice test to see how you improved.
Track your results, identify your weaknesses in content and strategy (your what and your why on missed questions), and repeat.
You’ll be in much better shape for the next SAT test!
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