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  • Writer's pictureChristopher Chebat

Top 10 Tips to Improve Your SAT/ACT Score

Updated: Jun 15

Preparing for the SAT or ACT can be a daunting task, but with the right strategies and resources, you can significantly improve your score. Here are the top 10 tips to help you increase your SAT/ACT score:


A student studying for an exam

1. Start Early

One of the most crucial tips for SAT/ACT prep is to start early. Begin your preparation several months in advance to give yourself ample time to study and practice. Most experts agree that students should spend about 5 to 20 hours each week for about three months. However, the total number of hours is dependent on each student's individual goals.


2. Understand the Test Format

Familiarize yourself with the format of the SAT and ACT. Knowing the structure of the test, including the types of questions and sections, will help you approach the exam with confidence. Moreover, the examiners often test the same concepts in the same (or similar) way from exam to exam. Picking up on these trends can aid in your studies and help ease any test day anxiety you have on the morning of the exam.


3. Take Practice Tests & Blind Review

Regularly taking full-length practice tests is one of the best ways to improve your score on the SAT/ACT. Taking full-length practice tests under testing conditions is by far the best way to help you adjust to the amount of time you'll have per problem, view the largest volume of material in the shortest amount of time, and identify your strengths and weaknesses. With that said, there are some downsides to taking full-length practice tests. Often students can be burnt out after taking a full exam so they fail to adequately review their work or their mistakes. To address this pitfall - we introduce the Blind Review Method. Forcing yourself to Blind Review your exam prior to checking the answer key will ensure that your allocating the time necessary to weak study areas and will ensure your getting the most out of your practice tests.


4. Focus on Weak Areas

After taking practice tests and blind reviewing your work, analyze your results to determine your weak areas. For example, if you happened to forget how to multiply matrices on your practice test and blind review, take the time to review this topic with a study supplement or tutor. The extra time you spend with that specific weakness will ensure you get that problem right when it comes up in the future which will increase your overall score.


5. Use High-Quality Study Materials

Invest in high-quality SAT/ACT prep books and online resources. Materials from reputable sources like the College Board, Khan Academy, and ACT.org provide accurate and effective study guides. Purchasing commonly used prep books off of Amazon are also cheap and effective resources.


6. Create a Study Schedule

Develop a study schedule that outlines your daily and weekly study goals. Consistency is key, so stick to your schedule and make studying a regular part of your routine.


7. Learn Test-Taking Strategies

Learn and practice effective test-taking strategies, such as time management, process of elimination, and educated guessing. These strategies can help you work more efficiently and confidently during the exam.


8. Stay Healthy

Your physical and mental health play a significant role in your test performance. Ensure you get enough sleep, eat nutritious meals, and take breaks to relax and recharge. Ensure that your study schedule preserves some days off and accommodates all the extracurriculars your involved in. Remember, if you let the exam consume you - it will.


9. Consider a Prep Course or Tutor

If you need additional help, consider enrolling in an SAT/ACT prep course or hiring a tutor. Professional guidance can provide personalized strategies and support to help you improve your score more efficiently. A good tutor will know the patterns and subject matter consistently tested and will work to ensure your equipped with the tools necessary to perform on exam day.


The cost of a Prep Course or Tutor is often the variable preventing students from getting the help they need. Classroom-style programs cost around $2,200 to $3,000 for 8 weeks of prep whereas private, one-on-one tutoring can cost as much as $175 to $250 per hour. While Classroom-style programs are more affordable, they often dilute the voice of each student and the material is not personalized - meaning the program can result in a lot of wasted time and money. Private tutoring is a far more expensive option but can ensure your getting the tailored lessons you need to improve your score. This leaves parents and students in a terrible position and having to chose between two evils.


Thats where we come in - Olive Tree Academy Tutors offers our virtual private SAT/ACT Prep Program for the same price as a classroom-style program. Our team has refined our Program down to its essential elements in an effort to preserve the efficacy of private SAT/ACT prep while ensuring we aren't billing you for unnecessary work or expenses. You'll only be billed when our tutors actively work with you and there is no extra charges for materials, proctoring, or unnecessary lessons. We charge an hourly rate of $100 per hour, with most students completing the program within 12 to 18 hours. Call today to learn more about our program, pricing, and how we can help you reach your target score.


10. Stay Positive and Confident

Finally, maintain a positive attitude and believe in your ability to succeed. Confidence can greatly impact your performance, so stay focused and motivated throughout your preparation.


By following these top 10 tips to improve your SAT/ACT score, you'll be well on your way to achieving your best possible results. Remember, consistent effort and a strategic approach are key to test success.


For more resources and personalized tutoring services, visit our Resource Center or contact us today!

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