This post was originally published in our Paying for College 101 (PFC 101) group. It has been edited for clarity and flow.
December SAT scores are out. To all the parents of seniors, I hope your children reached their goal scores and are proud of all they accomplished. To parents of juniors, your children now have terrific feedback about what they need to improve. Specifically, you can share these tips with your student on how to raise their SAT score:
If you’re not happy with your Reading score, it means you probably haven’t yet developed a habit of reading for pleasure. Now is the time to change that, and it will alter the course of your life if you do.
Already an avid reader? Challenge yourself and choose more sophisticated books. For example, if you love sports, read Michael Lewis; if you like fantasy, try the Ranger’s Apprentice series; if you love murder mysteries, try P.D. James.
If you’re not happy with your Writing and Language score, it means you probably haven’t spent enough time reviewing the rules of grammar. If you do that now, your language skills will skyrocket, and not only will your enjoyment of college increase dramatically, but it will positively affect every moment of every day of the rest of your life. Our lives are composed of words, after all.
If you’re not happy with your Math score, it means you probably forgot a substantial amount of what you learned in Algebra I. The dirty little secret of education is that we tend to forget everything we don’t review, but the good news is that review generally only takes a moment.
56% of SAT math consists of Algebra I, but almost no school reviews that material after the class is over. Fortunately, you can relearn it quickly using Khan Academy’s Algebra I course. (Avoid their SAT prep, as there are much better free options for Math and Verbal).
The BIGGEST Tip to Improve Your SAT Score
The best way to improve your SAT score is to cut out the time you’re currently spending on electronic entertainment (Instagram, TikTok, video games, etc.), and spend the savings on reading, Algebra I, and the rules of English grammar instead.
Studies show that young people spend an average of nine hours per day on social media entertainment. In fact, it’s a terrific idea to join the “digital detox” and “dopamine fasting” trends.
Note: This is general advice on improving college readiness, applicable to most students. Those with clinically diagnosed test anxiety and learning issues should follow the advice of medical professionals. While an SAT score is an excellent gauge of college readiness, success in college is also a function of conscientiousness.
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