Do you need to raise your SAT or ACT scores fast? I’d normally say that you need to take your time, start early, and practice practice practice but sometimes it just doesn’t happen that way. This article will take a look at some of the best ways to raise your scores in as little time as possible. Students often struggle with their SAT and ACT’s scores, but it doesn’t have to be that way. There are many effective approaches for SAT and ACT preparation out there, so we’ll go over 3 tips to get the process started. If you’re looking for SAT or ACT score improvement ideas, this is an excellent place to start!
1) Beat the test, don’t relearn high school
In our organization, we believe 1 main thing about the SAT and ACT- these tests are NOT academic tests. Now, I know many will disagree with me on this but let me explain my logic. There is no such thing as an academic test when the answer is provided to you. It simply doesn’t exist. When the answer is provided, it automatically becomes a logic and reasoning test- period. This is not to say you can’t take the test academically, it just means that the test is not an academic test in nature. So if we know this simple truth, we also can conclude that there are multiple ways to take these tests. This is where our good news comes in!
The quick way to prepare for these tests is bypass the traditional tutoring approach and go straight to the strategies. The tutoring process is not only incredibly time-consuming but it’s also redundant and boring. The fastest way to get the results you want is to learn test-taking strategies instead. These will help you save time and also give you tools in the event where you don’t know the answer. Below is a quick video that shows you a few test-taking strategies that our company teach to give you a better understanding of what we are talking about.
Many SAT or ACT prep courses cover content that is already familiar to students and that take much longer for preparation. We recommend using test-taking strategies and tips for SAT or ACT preparation, which are different from those used in high school. For instance, many of the practice SAT problems mirror real SAT questions on topics like geometry and algebra. If you want a faster way to raise your score–and maybe even enjoy learning again in the process–try taking a strategy course instead. It will teach you how to approach questions differently. It will teach you critical thinking instead of foundational concepts. We are not saying that you shouldn’t know the material or basic arithmetic and grammar skills, we are saying that you need to start tackling these tests in a different way if you want to raise your SAT or ACT test scores fast. We teach these strategies to our 7th graders, many have never been through algebra or geometry, and are scoring higher than 90% of high school seniors across the country. It doesn’t take a genius to score high on these tests, it takes a different way of thinking.
2) Stop checking your work
Do you typically check your work after every question? This is a great way to wear yourself out–not only do you need the harness your energy for the length of the SAT or ACT, but this is a huge waste of time! I recommend that students stop checking their SAT and ACT answers because many times, you are checking your answers even when you are confident you got them right.
So many students come to us saying that they don’t understand why their test scores don’t reflect their academic ability. More often than not, we can pin point exactly why they feel this way. The fact is, the SAT and ACT are both timed tests. You simply can’t take the same time and consideration on these tests as you would taking a test at your school. You have to be smart about your time and realize that you only have about a minute and a half to answer each question.
For many students, checking their work is a BIG way for them to score well on the tests they take in classes at school. They have the ability to make sure that they performed every step correctly. It’s that insurance policy that will allow them to feel comfortable with moving forward to the next question. The same cannot be said about the SAT and ACT. If you go back to check your work on all of these questions, GOOD LUCK. You will find yourself bubbling in questions quickly at the end because you have ran out of time. Our recommendation is to skip this step and take the test-taking strategy approach instead. Again, using methods the first time will allow you to be confident in the answers you are bubbling in the first time. These simple methods can also shaved down a ton of time. Please refer to the above video for reference. Also, we have an entirely free test prep course that takes you through all sections of the ACT and SAT and teaches you some of our strategies and tactics that we teach our clients.
If you MUST check your answers, simply mark the questions you are unsure about and go back to them once you have completed each section. These are the only ones you should be checking on.
3) Stop reading the reading passages
Now this concept might sound counterintuitive but just hear us out. Going back to the time element, figuring out ways to shave off the amount of time spent on each questions is invaluable. That is the one thing you can control about these tests. You know exactly how much time you have to take the SAT or ACT (both clocking in around 3 hours) and you need to make sure you are staying within those parameters.
What reading the passage does is waste time. Yes, you heard me right- it just wastes your time. Some students have even admitted to us that they reread the passages 2 or 3 times! Let’s put that into perspective. You might be spending upwards of 20 minutes without even answering the questions themselves. What both the SAT and ACT test writers provide is something very important. If you just jump to the questions themselves, they actually tell you where to find the answer! Let me give you an example:
You see here on the pactice questions through the College Board official site, they have a large passage- maybe takes about 5-7 minutes to read through. But if you skip over to the question portion, it tells you exactly where they want you to look. They want you to look at line 3. So instead of reading the entire passage, just skip over to line 3 and read a sentence before and after. How much time could you have saved just by figuring out what they are looking for in the first place? That’s how we teach our students how to increase their scores fast on the reading section. Skip to the questions themselves and figure out what the writers are asking for FIRST, and then go to the passage.
Let’s take one more example so you don’t think this strategy is just a one-off. The very next question indicates that the answer can be found within the first paragraph.
So for this one, just read the first paragraph and you will be able to find your answer. It’s as simple as that. Nothing to relearn, no grammar to understand, nothing. Just a quick way to blow past wasting time so you can focus on the areas that need your energy and attention. I guarantee, if you implement this strategy into your testing, you can easily raise your SAT or ACT scores fast with this simple trick alone!
What to do next:
Our biggest piece of advice for those who want to raise their SAT or ACT test scores fast MUST start taking strategies seriously. It is virtually impossible to relearn everything you need to know on the SAT or ACT in the short window between tests. Start thinking critically, get yourself into a formal test prep program (here is a link to ours), and get to work! It will be worth it in the long run, we promise.