SAT Tip of the Week: New Year, New You, New Score

SAT Tip of the Week - FullEveryone makes a few New Year’s resolutions. Most of them are about getting in shape, reading more, and other activities that improve one’s livelihood. In 2015, if you are a high school student gearing up to take the SAT, you should start it off with a different sort of resolution. Resolve to study one hour each day until the test on Saturday, January 24th.

Unlike most resolutions, this one is measured and specific – if worked on diligently it will result in tremendous gains. The SAT may not change your life, but jumping up in score by 200 or 300 points can really enhance your portfolio for perspective colleges. It can mean thousands and thousands of dollars in scholarship money and better odds for admission at selective universities. Getting a high score on the SAT is your chance to differentiate yourself from other similar applicants and showcase your aptitude to admission committees.

It all starts with this New Year’s resolution. Take the time each day to study your vocab, practice your math strategies, improve your essay structure, and enhance your reading comprehension abilities. While it may seem daunting, here is how you should break it down:

1. Start every day off with vocabulary for fifteen to twenty minutes. Whether it is learning new words, reviewing old ones, or doing a mix of both, this time will be well spent. Vocabulary is a crucial aspect of the SAT, with nineteen questions testing you solely on your ability to memorize and understand random words. The only way to succeed is to put in the time and learn these words. Fifteen to twenty minutes a day will get you on the right track.

2. Split time doing practice problems of the various components of the SAT. Aim for two practice essays a week to hone and sharpen those skills. In terms of the other sections, build up your weaknesses. While it may be fun to do all math sections if you are scoring in the 700’s already, your time is much better spent improving reading comprehension and writing. Balance out the sections, to make sure you are improving in every single one. Plus, if you are in the 500 to 600 range for a section, it’s a lot easier to boost your score than if you are already close to perfect.

3. Review old practice tests. Each weekend try and set aside five extra hours to take a simulated test that should mirror exact testing conditions. It will be well worth it!

If you are taking the test January 24th, an hour a day is 24 hours total (excluding practice tests). That’s literally just one day out of your entire life. Isn’t it worth it to spend one day to take your score to the next level? The SAT can make or break your college decision. So with 2015 coming in, make it a goal to spend one hour each day. The results will surely follow. Happy New Year!

Still need to take the SAT? We run a free online SAT prep seminar every few weeks. And, be sure to find us on Facebook and Google+, and follow us on Twitter!

Jake Davidson is a Mork Family Scholar at USC and enjoys writing for the school paper as well as participating in various clubs. He has been tutoring privately since the age of 15 and is incredibly excited to help students succeed on the SAT.