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How Much Can You Raise Your SAT Score?

As we just discussed, how much and how rapidly you can raise your SAT score depends on how willing you are to change the way you take the test. Your potential improvement depends on other factors, of course, so it's impossible to give an average answer. Here are some other general considerations:

  • The more time you have to prepare and the more dedicated you are, the more improvement you can expect.
  • The higher your starting scores, the less room there is for improvement.
  • In general, writing scores improve more rapidly than math scores, and math scores improve more rapidly than do reading scores.
  • The more words you memorize, the better you'll do on the sentence completion questions of the reading section (and, as you'll discover, the better you'll do on some of the reading questions and even the essay).
  • If we divide all students into tortoises (slow, methodical) or hares (fast, impulsive), tortoises tend to improve more rapidly than hares (it's easier to get tortoises to solve problems more quickly than it is to get hares to solve problems more carefully).
As a rule of thumb, you must pick up four extra questions for every 50 points you want to raise your scores. Keeping in mind that the official statistics by ETS, the test publishers, "show" that the average combined improvement is 60 to 70 points, a 150-point improvement is quite respectable, 200 to 300 points is excellent, and 400 points is phenomenal. Improvements of 500 points are so rare that ETS often examines such answer sheets for evidence of cheating.

Having said all that, nobody can guarantee how well you'll do on the actual exam—nobody. No matter how well prepared you are for the SAT, the actual test is always different. Even Michael Jordan and Tiger Woods had their bad days; it happens. Over half the students who prepare for the SAT will retake it: some because they are disappointed with their scores, but also those who are happy with their scores but know they can do better.

I promise you that this book contains the best SAT information and techniques anywhere. And I promise that if you apply yourself to the lessons and drills and techniques—and use the techniques on the actual exam—you'll do the best you can possibly do on the day of the actual exam. But bad breaks happen to the best of us, so you may need to retake the test.

I just wanted to be totally honest with you. I'll always be totally honest with you about the SAT—you can count on it.

From The RocketReview Revolution: The Ultimate Guide to the New SAT and the PSAT by Adam Robinson. Copyright © 2005. Used by arrangement with Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

If you'd like to buy this book, click here.


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