How I went up 250 points on the SAT

payton breck

Payton Breck is a junior at Radnor High School. In her free time, Payton enjoys sewing clothing, cooking, and watching movies (especially, and unapologetically, the Twilight series.)

payton breck

Payton Breck is a junior at Radnor High School. In her free time, Payton enjoys sewing clothing, cooking, and watching movies (especially, and unapologetically, the Twilight series.)

On my very first practice SAT, I scored an 1160. Now I have a 1410. 

In just around three months, my score improved drastically, and yours can too. Here are my tips to increase your SAT score.

Identify Your Weaknesses

Before I started test prep, I was convinced I couldn’t improve— I didn’t know where to begin. I quickly realized that I needed to pinpoint my areas of specific weaknesses. The diagnostic test my tutor provided me with told me exactly what these weaknesses were.

On the reading section, I found myself struggling to understand the overall themes of the passages. To improve my score, I committed myself to reading more. Whether you choose short stories, opinion editorials, or entire books, reading more will help increase your reading score.

For the writing section, I realized that my knowledge of sentence structures was limited. With math, my same advice with the grammar section applies. I focused on practicing questions that I continually got wrong. My tutor also provided me with math packets specifically focusing on questions I got wrong, which was extremely helpful.

In order to overcome your weak spots, it’s important to be honest with yourself and ask for help. Admitting that you need help is difficult and it took me a while to really be honest with myself. However, asking for help was the best thing I could’ve done for my score.

Simulate the SAT Environment

After taking more than ten practice tests and two real tests, I recognize the importance of creating a home testing environment that mirrors that of a real testing environment. It may seem grueling, but the more that you decrease distractions and focus on the test, the more your score will improve.

To simulate a true testing environment, put your phone in another room and eliminate all distractions. My tutor provided me with a testing watch, which is one of the most useful tools to help you time your test and keep you on track.

Critical Point Test Prep additionally offers proctored tests at their office, which I took a couple of times. These were extremely useful and exactly mirrored what an actual test was like.

Directly mirroring the testing environment during your practice tests will prepare you for the real test by making you more comfortable and focused.

Be Patient with Yourself

There was a period during my test prep when my score wasn’t improving. This was extremely frustrating and I felt as though I would never improve. Sometimes, my score would even fall, making me discouraged and unmotivated. Little did I know that it was this exact frustration that was causing my score to go down.

I went into tests with the expectation that I would not improve, and this caused my mindset to be negatively fixated on failure. To increase your score, you have to be patient with yourself and understand that your score will not be a perfect upwards trajectory.

If you continue to practice and even attempt to keep an open mindset on the matter, then improvement will naturally follow.

Does your child need expert guidance to master the SAT or ACT? We would love to discuss all of your child’s options and answer any question you might have.

I can’t say enough terrific things about Critical Point Test Prep! They helped my daughter with valuable test taking skills and time management. Her SAT test scores improved after working with them. They are professional and timely. The tutors are friendly and approachable. I will be using them again for my other student.

Kathy Henderson

Mother of Radnor HS Student

The highest rated SAT tutoring service on the Main Line

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