SAT: Study All Things


Ajaybir Heir, Staff Reporter

College acceptance can be a gamble, but as students we always want the best chances. When you factor in all the variables that colleges observe to make admission decisions, standardized test scores tend to stand out. They can help students with lower GPA’s if performed well enough. Generally speaking, SAT scores are just as important as your coursework and grades.

As of March 2016 and ahead, the SAT is scored out of 1600 points while the national average lies at 1000. You can take the SAT as many times as you like and I advise you do so, all your junior and senior year. When studying for the SAT, focus on the three main groups tested. Math which can range from pre-algebra concepts to pre-calculus and English that consists of reading comprehension, grammar and word choice. In addition there is an optional essay portion which some schools can require, make sure to inquire as to take the correct SAT test.

To perform well on the SAT, the best strategy is to start preparing well before you take it. Focus on your weaknesses and pay attention in class, as the SAT is a comprehensive test of what you learned in school. Test prep materials are highly abundant and relatively simple to acquire. One source proven to increase scores and is completely free is Khan Academy, you may even input your past SAT and it will help you study on the concepts you need. An article from the Khan Academy website states that for every 20 hours spent studying on their website, an average of a 115 point jump in test scores follows, which is an astronomical difference. Make a schedule as to spread this out over an extended period of time and not a week or two before the test.

If you’ve taken the SAT before, you know it can be a grueling battle staying focused. A method widely used to counteract this is to take many practice tests where you are timed, available on the college board website under “practice tests” are nine full length SAT tests. These help those with test anxiety as they emulate testing conditions, as well as letting you know what you score. Although make sure to dedicate the time for these practice tests and cut down on distractions.

Now after you’ve taken the SAT and received your score, a good way of knowing if it’s sufficient enough to land you a spot at the desired college is to see where you lie among previous applicants. A good rule of thumb is if you lie among the top 50th percentile of those admitted, it gives a decent shot of getting in. If it’s not quite there don’t worry, just simply retake the SAT. Most colleges will take your best SAT score and the number of times you take it won’t matter in the long run as long as they see your scores improving.