How can I raise my SATs scores by 300 points in a month?
Last month, I took the SATs for the first time and got a 1690, CR 540 MATH 620 WR 640.
It came out better than I had expected but I still want a higher score.
I am a junior, but I am taking the SATs since I am graduating a year early. So I am technically a senior.
Since early graduating was a last minute decision, I only had like three months to prepare for it.
I solved the whole blue SATs official guide book. My first practice test score was 1490 so I guess I
improved by 200, but I want a better score. Whatever it takes to get 2000, I am willing to
dedicate my time and work my butt off. How can I do it? I bought the Princeton Review prep book today,
which has 11 practice tests. How can I manage my time effectively to reach my SATs goal?
I’ve noticed that a bunch of prep books never give good tips. So, I came up with my own tips that will help you ace the SAT:
#1 thing you could do: Take a practice test once a week until your exam. You could easily hone your skills like this. And since the SAT is a very predictable test, you should be able to know which answers are the right ones after some number of tests. The Writing section has become the most predictable. In fact, this is how I raised my score from a 1240 to a 2350.
There are tons of practice tests online that were previously used for the real SAT. Just look at this glory:
My strategy: Fill in all the bubbles. It doesn’t matter if you can’t eliminate any answers. Just bubble them in. I learned that by bubbling in an answer, no matter how random, I still got a higher score than by leaving it blank and sparing 1/4 of a point. I’ll probably get a lot of negative criticism for this, but based on many people’s experiences, don’t leave anything blank, even if you have to guess wildly. To see if this works for you, take two different practice tests. For the first test, take it as you would; if you need to leave things blank, then leave them blank. For the second test, fill in all the bubbles, even if you have to guess. Then compare your scores.
Critical Reading: The first part is just sentence completion; you need to know vocabulary. I HIGHLY recommend that you memorize your word roots rather than the words themselves. It would be impossible to memorize all the potential words the SAT is going to have, so memorize your roots, then you could make a really good educated guess. Barron’s Critical Reading Workbook has a good list. However, if you do get this book, DON’T do the problems; Barron’s makes the test harder than it needs to be. The second part is reading passages. You just need to find the answers to the questions in the passages.
For the short passages, I recommend you read the whole thing thoroughly, then look at the question. If there’s a given number of lines, read one line before, that line, and the line after. For instance if the question tells you to go back to line 11, read lines 10,11, and 12.
Long passages are harder; I especially hate the double passages, which you have to compare the two passages and then answer. For the non-double passages, do the same with the short passages, except, instead of reading it thoroughly, skim is, and, instead of going reading one line before and after, read one sentence before and after. For the double-passages, skim over the first passage, answer the questions to that passage, then skim the second, answer for the second passage, then answer the rest.
It’s not too hard- it’s just that the time constraint is a beyatch.
Remember this: Never interpret the passage. Pretend you have perfect reading skills, but are extremely stupid and have no knowledge other than what is in the passage.
Math: Overall, not too hard. The concepts are really easy. Nothing more than the area of a circle and probability. Baby stuff. So why is everyone scoring so low? Because the math section never requires advanced knowledge; it requires advanced REASONING. That’s why it’s so hard. If you could decipher the questions, you’re good. The College Board tries to trick you a lot. I remember this one question on my SAT in which the problem looked really hard. It was the last question (all questions in the math section go from easy to hard) and I had ten minutes to spare, but whatever I did, I couldn’t get the answer. With a minute left, I found out what I needed to do: multiply the two factors the problem gave me. That was it. This is how the SAT tries to trick you. The math section contains Algebra I, Geometry, and tad bits of Algebra II. Even if you never learned Algebra II, you can still get a high 600.
Writing: There’s an essay involved; it sucks. However, the prompt will be a lot more vague than the prompt your English teacher gives you. I’ll give you a full explanation later. Then, you just have to learn grammar. Should be easy. This section is the easiest to improve upon. People do have trouble finding the error, so read to yourself quietly; this way you have a better chance of identifying the error (just avoid the nervous glances of the people near you). Here’s the catch: There are only TEN rules the SAT will test you on. Yep. I cracked the SAT Writing Multiple Choice. I’ll provide a link near the bottom. If you can’t implement one of the ten rules to an answer choice or a question, but it just sounds weird, then leave it alone. It’s probably right. Another huge, huge hint. The word “being” is almost universally wrong. If you have trouble selecting between two answers, and one of them contains being, then eliminate that answer. Throughout all of the SAT tests ever since the Writing portion was implemented to the SAT, I’ve only seen the word “being” correct twice, but that’s because the other answers were to absurd to be correct. Also, the word “which” is almost always right. The only time it’s ever wrong is when it says, for example, “People which play…” “Which” has to be “who.”
Essay: (Do NOT stress over the essay. Just because the tips are long doesn’t mean it’s the most vital thing on the SAT. The multiple choice is way more important. You will get a lot of press by your parents because that’s probably the only thing they feel they know about. Solving math problems might as well be speaking Swahili, but they’ve done essays. Again, don’t take the essay too seriously.)
Here’s how I do it (I got an 11 on my essay once, but 10s consistently) (Note: the following are only superficial tips. Yahoo! won’t let me post as much as I want to, so I’ll post a link near the end of this):
I’m going to use the prompt “What is the most important quality of a leader?”
Introduction: (YOUR MOST VITAL PARAGRAPH)
Sentence 1: Give a broad response to the topic. For example, don’t write “”The most important quality of a leader is perseverance”. It’s so dull. Write something more creative. Fancy it up, such as “Of all the traits a leader might possess, the most essential is perseverance”.
Sentence 2: Mention an abstract, nonspecific case. For example, “Any person can come up with a way to get past an obstacle; to keep others from moving forward despite being thwarted is far more of an admirable trait any person can possess”.
Sentence 3: Give the reason WHY this is true (aka, your thesis). This is the most important sentence of your entire essay; your essay hinges on it. Write “Leaders not only pose ideas, but model behavior for the rest of us to follow and nothing is more comforting than a leader whom we can always rely on”.
Sentence 4. Write “This can be shown through the cases of ____ and ____” to introduce your examples.
First and Second Body Paragraphs
Sentence 1: Topic sentence.
Sentence 2-4: Discuss the examples.
Sentence 5: Tie back to thesis
Sentence 1: Restate your thesis
Sentenced 2-3: Conclude
It’s a really good idea to pre-write your essay. Just use the same structure, just with different words. You want to get into the habit of writing two pages within 25 minutes; once you get that hang of it, you’ll have at least five minutes left before time is up.
Y!A won’t let me post as much as I want to, so I’ll just post a link some very extensive tips on the SAT essay here, including THE key to your essay (hint: it’s not the quality of your essay). (Read MY answer):
The only ten grammar rules the SAT tests you on:
Get this book for the BEST preparation:
This is by the College Board, the makers of the test. You’ll be working with genuine tests, and there’s no other way to better prepare yourself than that. However, this book gives crappy tips. Obviously the College Board doesn’t want you to figure that out, so it puts in some unnecessary exercises. Other books leave out some grammar rules and put in some unnecessary ones. In fact, some of the hard questions are structured exactly the same, so when you see one, you’ll know the others on the real SAT.
Same goes with a lot of the other sections.
If anything, do NOT use Barron’s or Guide Paradise. Barron’s makes the test look like Swahili and multivariable Calculus. Three of my friends used Guide Paradise, and their scores actually went down.
So. I’m currently working on a blog (not really a blog, but whatever). I’m putting extensive tips on the SAT. So far, I’ve finished CR and need to finish the Math and Writing sections. Hopefully it will help you: