This is a question on many student’s minds.

We’ve helped hundreds of students increase their scores on through ACT and SAT tutoring, and it’s not uncommon that a student comes to us who has struggled to raise their scores on their own or with another service.

Here are three common (but by no means the only) reasons we see students struggle to raise their SAT scores.

REASON #1: You are avoiding your weak spots.

This is probably the biggest reason a student’s scores don’t go up on the SAT and ACT.

It’s easy to focus on things you’re good at. Focusing on your weaknesses? Not so much. If you only focus on the aspects of SAT prep that you enjoy or have a proclivity towards, you will simply not improve as much as you can.

Scrutinize every incorrect question. Did you not understand the concept or did you just make a sign error when distributing? Get down all that information, and then focus on it. Target that concept or skill in a workbook, Khan Academy, or with your tutor. Obsess over it and master it until you could teach it to a class full of your peers.

REASON #2: You care way too much

Here’s the reality: your best SAT and ACT scores might affect your future to a small extent, but they won’t dramatically change the course of your life (we actually wrote a nice blog article on this here).

They are third on the list of college admissions factors after GPA (#1) and the difficulty of your classes (#2).

So to a certain extent, the caliber of school you’re eligible for has already been determined by those first two factors. Many students forget that— the believe that the SAT is the end-all be-all test, and if they don’t get a good score on it, any chance of a happy life will evaporate.

As any wise adult will tell you, being successful and having a fulfilling life is much more than just getting a high score on a college admissions test.

What’s the point of a 1500 if you… don’t network with those in a career you’re interested in? …don’t work hard while you’re in college? …make good money but are continually in debt?

Of course we want you to get your highest scores on these tests, but when you give them ultimate importance in your mind, the likelihood you’ll choke on test day is very high. I know it’s counterintuitive, but many students care way too much about these tests and it’s stopping them from doing their best.

REASON #3: You have reached your potential

Maybe you started at a 900 and now you’re at a 1200 or 1300, but you’re trying to go up from here and you just can’t.

Now, by no means should you ignore the first two reasons and default to this one. I would wager only 5 to 10 percent of students whose scores aren’t improving is because of this reason.

The reality is this: life is filled with limitations. If you were born 5 foot 1, will you ever be able to dunk a basketball? I doubt it. And there is nothing wrong with that. There are tons of other talents you can have and things you can enjoy. Just don’t be unrealistic. If you think you go up 400, 500 points, it might just not be a reality.

Are you or is your student struggling to take their scores to the next level? We deliver expert ACT and SAT tutoring around Wayne, PA. Book your free phone consultation today here or by giving us a call at (610) 744-2527. We love helping students achieve their potential on these tests. For those students not able to meet in-person, we also offer interactive online tutoring with distance students.

By the way, here’s a Youtube Video we made answering this very question:

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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