5 Steps to Improve Your SAT or ACT Score

Whether you want to receive more scholarship offers or be accepted into your dream college, getting a good ACT or SAT score can help you accomplish this. Many students who take these exams again usually improve their scores, which is why you should take it at least twice. If you are looking for tips on how to improve your SAT or ACT score, then look no further. Here are some suggestions for maximizing your score.

Step 1. Choose your target score range

Before taking a college entrance exam again, take some time to reflect on your past experiences. Did you study enough? Were you distracted in any way? Doing so will help you develop a plan for overcoming your past mistakes. Also, determine whether you want to take the SAT or ACT score and what you want to accomplish. Are you trying to land a scholarship or just impress your target college? Use this information to decide on a target score range. Having a clear goal will help you stay motivated during the entire process.

Step 2. Register for your exam

Ok, now that you have your target score range, check out the upcoming SAT or ACT dates and decide when you want to retake the test. Make sure you factor scholarship and college application deadlines into your decision. Also, you should practice for the exam at least 2 months before the test. Now that you have chosen your date go ahead and register because test centers for college entrance exams usually fill up quickly. It only takes a couple of minutes to register. Just sign into the ACT or SAT website, choose your date and center, and pay for your exam. Also, don’t forget to check to see if you qualify for any registration fee waivers. These waivers are available for students who come from low-income backgrounds and may not have the funds to pay for the exam.

Step 3. Develop a practice routine and schedule, then practice, practice, practice!

Now its time to study. First, visit the website of the college entrance exam that you plan to take to look for practice materials. Their homepage should have a link to suggested study resources, usually developed by them or a partner. It’s a no brainer to use their materials. Since they created the exam, they would be in a better position to develop resources to help you study. Once you acquire the resources that you need, then set up a practice routine and schedule, then stick to it. You may have to make tweaks from time to time, but as long as you commit yourself to study hard, you should be ok.

Step 4. Take a full-length ACT or SAT practice test

After about 2 weeks of practicing, take a full-length practice exam. I would do this on the weekend, since he ACT lasts two hours and 55 minutes, and the SAT lasts three hours and 45 minutes. Take a full-length practice test is hands down, the best way to simulate test day, and to gauge whether you are ready. The score that you receive on one of these practice exams is predictive of the score you will get on the real test. Both the SAT and ACT offer full-length practice tests for free. You can take them online or print them out. The cool thing about taking a practice exam online is that you receive your scores instantly (except for the essay section). Now its time for the real thing. Get a good night’s sleep before test day, and make sure you have a nutritious breakfast the next morning.

Step 5. Retake the SAT

After you take your exam, just relax and wait for your scores to arrive. It takes about 2 weeks for ACT scores to be sent and about 3 weeks for SAT scores to be sent. If you did not reach your desired score, just remember, you can always take it over, as many times as you would like. As long as your score increased, you shouldn’t be concerned. That means that you are headed in the right direction. Reflect on the test preparation process and what you could have done better. Also, consider taking an ACT or SAT preparation course or hiring a private tutor. Don’t worry; if you keep working hard, good things are bound to happen.

What did I miss? What advice would you give to someone who is trying to get a higher score on the SAT or ACT?

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