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Increasing 200 points on the SAT in One Month: Is it Possible?

By Laura Whitmore

I have many students approach me asking if they can go up significantly in a short period of time. Although I firmly believe that it long-term prepping yields the the best results, it is entirely possible (albeit unlikely) for your child to gain 200 points in a month span. I will try to provide you with a well-structured study plan in this blog post. The key will be a lot of hard work, dedication, and commitment from your child to make this happen (hint: their social life and other commitments may need to take a backseat for this short period).

Not in a reading mood? Check out my YouTube video instead!

Week 1: Assessment and Goal Setting

  • Diagnostic Review: Begin by having your child critically assess their past SAT performances or any preparatory examinations. This deep dive is pivotal for identifying recurring weak areas and specific mistakes patterns. A consistent review will refine their focus and make subsequent study sessions more effective.

  • Goal Definition: With identified areas of improvement, help them set tangible, incremental goals. For paper test takers, conversion charts, such as those from recent practice tests, offer clarity on the relation between correct answers and the resulting scaled score. For digital SAT aspirants, though the scoring can be nuanced, as a general principle, simpler questions may shift the score by around 10 points, with more challenging ones influencing it by up to 30 points.

  • Resource Gathering: Introduce them to the College Board's question bank, a vital tool released ahead of the August SAT. This allows questions to be filtered by type and challenge level, paving the way for a bespoke practice regimen.

  • Daily Practice: Encourage a rigorous daily practice routine, targeting at least three diverse question categories. For students with packed schedules, mobile apps like Preptly provide flexible, on-the-go practice when they aren't able to sit at a computer.

  • Vocabulary and Linguistics: Emphasize the importance of SAT vocabulary. A nuanced approach focusing on linguistic roots, prefixes, and suffixes can be more effective than mere memorization. (Please see my previous blog post on building SAT vocabulary).

  • Math Emphasis: If math is an identified challenge area, encourage them to compile a 'math cheat sheet.' This should consist of formulas, strategies, and solutions to tricky problems encountered during practice. They should study this cheat sheet at least twice per week and before any math practice they do.

Week 2: Intensify with Full-Length Tests

  • Mock Tests: Amplify their preparation by incorporating full-length, timed mock tests. To stay updated with the evolving pattern of the paper SAT, prioritize tests from 2022 or 2023. Should they be practicing for the Digital SAT, make sure to download the app BlueBook Exams, which has 4 official practice tests in it. You may also find other full length tests available from 3rd party organizations, like Princeton Review and Kaplan (hint: I heard Kaplan's tests were more challenging than Princeton Review's).

  • Review Sessions: Post mock test, allocate time for comprehensive review sessions. Analyze both correct and incorrect answers to understand the reasoning and strategy applied. Make note of performance issues (i.e. pacing too slow, making careless mistakes) and adjust accordingly.

Weeks 3 & 4: Consolidation and Mental Preparation

  • Consolidated Practice: Use the insights from the previous weeks to further refine and intensify the practice sessions. This is the period for synthesizing learning and addressing any lingering uncertainties.

  • Mental Well-being: As the D-day approaches, it's not solely about academic rigor but also about ensuring mental equilibrium. Assure your child that facing formidable questions is par for the course. Techniques such as deep breathing exercises, short meditative breaks, and visualization can be instrumental in managing stress.

  • Confidence Building: Furthermore, make sure they undergo at least two or three mock tests where they meet or exceed their target score, solidifying their confidence ahead of test day!

In Closing...

While the SAT preparation phase can be intense, with a well-charted plan and the right mindset, achieving desired results is within reach. This guide aims to offer parents a clear roadmap to support their children in this endeavor. While at STP we recommend at least 3-6 months of consistent preparation in order to increase the odds of achieving significant gains, it is entirely possible for a student to go up 200 points in a short period of time. Engaging with a community of fellow parents, sharing experiences, and seeking advice can further enhance this journey. Here's to effective preparation and outstanding outcomes. Wishing your child every success.

Happy prepping!


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