Tips from an Orange County SAT Tutor: 4 things students can do to improve their SAT scores


Most college prep students are anxiously studying to take the SAT. These scores are pretty crucial to a college applicant’s future because it can, in part, determine where a student is admitted and whether or not they receive scholarship money. Students have the opportunity to take the test more than once, but this will take up a substantial amount of their free time and cause extra stress. One of the best things students can do is practice tips and tricks for improving their scores before the big day – our private Orange County SAT tutoring will have you prepared for test day.

1. Mimic the test as closely as possible

When prep students are taking practice exams or sections of the SAT, they are encouraged to duplicate the exam as closely as possible. Many students take a section untimed or allow themselves a couple of extra minutes to finish, which can artificially raise their score. Other students take a couple of sections in the morning and then take a long lunch break before finishing the exam. On the actual day, students will have to take the test very early in the morning from start to finish with only a couple of breaks. This means they’ll be more tired and need extra concentration to keep their score high. For students to know where they’re starting out it’s important to get a realistic base score when they take a practice exam.

2. Study vocabulary

One of the best things students can do to improve their overall SAT score is to work on broadening their vocabulary. This doesn’t mean that students need to memorize list after list of vocab words, but rather they should learn which words are most appropriately used in a sentence, which words have a positive or negative connotation, and which words are considered archaic. Students can do this by reading novels, news articles, and other academic texts or writing sentences where a particular vocab word might be used. They might do a word of the day challenge, or they might work on vocab with their study group. The important thing is that students can improve their vocabulary over time and be able to add these new words and phrases to their reading comprehension and writing skills on exam day (READ: IRVINE SAT TUTOR: Why Students Should Take the SAT Early).

3. Brush up on math formulas

It’s also essential for students to make sure they know the many math formulas that they’ll have to remember when taking the exam. Whether it’s a simple or advanced formula, forgetting one small piece can certainly mess a student up and lower their overall score. Students can do a few formula review sheets or take some notes that they can go over the days leading up to the exam. Most students who are good at math learn by doing, and so completing a few practice problems is always helpful.

4. Lower stress to improve concentration

When students are overwhelmed by the many tasks they need to complete during their college prep years, they tend to have more trouble concentrating on one important task such as the SAT. Starting a week or two before the big day students should eliminate, or at least minimize, the other chores they have in front of them. They may need to talk to a teacher or coach about their upcoming test date, or they may benefit from working with a private tutor who can help organize other assignments or college prep materials that are due within a few days of the SAT exam. The lower a student’s stress level, the more likely they are to be able to concentrate on the test and be successful the first time around.

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