Many higher education institutions worldwide require a score in one of two standardized tests, the SAT and ACT. An SAT or ACT score is one of the main components of a college application alongside your grades, letter of recommendation, extracurricular activities, admission essay, and other pertinent documents.

Even though these two standardized tests last a little less than four hours each, they are very crucial in determining whether or not you are ready to move on to the next phase of your academic journey. Along with the other admission requirements, the score you get in the ACT or SAT will help your chosen college or university decide if you’ll be offered a place or not. 

This is why it’s important to do your best to get the highest score you can achieve. If you’re feeling the pressure, don’t worry. We’re here to help you work your way toward a score that you can be proud of. Just follow these practical tips!

Students improving SAT or ACT Score

Take a practice test

With practice comes better results. As part of your test preparations, take a practice test like it is the actual exam. Take it as if you are in the exam environment, and answer the questions according to the order of sections. Make sure you time yourself. You can take breaks if needed but do not stop for lunch. As they say, the ACT and SAT are endurance tests.

After your practice test, check your answers. Consider your practice test score as your baseline score. 

If you have target colleges or universities in mind, compare the score of your practice test against the recent incoming class’s average scores. Research the prospective colleges on your list to find the SAT and ACT averages from their incoming class.

If your baseline score exceeds the average score of your target schools, great. However, don’t become complacent. Take more practice tests and strive to do better each time. If your score is lower than the average from your listed schools, then it means you’ll need to study more. Exert more effort in reading, writing, and solving more problems, then take a practice test again.

Potentially improving your score by a hundred points or 1 point can make or break your chances of getting into your dream school, so keep taking those practice tests!

Know where you need to improve

In order to increase your baseline score, you have to know what your problem areas are so you can focus on these.

If you made mistakes on your practice test because you read the questions carelessly or didn’t consider all of the possible answers, you need to practice and drill more. Being careless could affect your score and it is something that you cannot afford to be during the actual test.

If you ran out of time and left questions unanswered, you need to work on your pacing. You can take more practice tests so you can become more familiar with how questions are structured, especially when it comes to reading comprehension and math questions. Being able to understand questions helps you come up with the correct answers more quickly. 

If there were questions in the practice test you didn’t know the answers to, then you have to identify the correct answer and focus on that subject area. It will help you gain more knowledge and be better prepared for the actual test.

Start early

Lastly, start your test preparations early. This will give you enough time to find a prep solution that suits you best. Plan your study schedule and practice tests in advance, ideally two to four months from the SAT and ACT test dates. Preparation is key to helping you become not only motivated to study but also confident on the day of the actual exam. So, instead of cramming at the last minute, set some time each week for your test preparations. 

Follow these tips to help you prepare for your ACT or SAT (or both) and get a good score that can get you into your dream school.`For more study and test-taking tips, check out our other articles here on MSM Unify.

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