Is it possible to raise a bad SAT score by 500+ points? HELP!!

<p>So I got a 148 on my PSAT. And I'm going into my senior year. I've wasted a lot of my summer and it's halfway through July. I really want to start studying hard for hours per day for the October test. So, is it possible to raise a 1500 score to a 2000+ in that range if I work hard? Im really determined and im tired of procrastinating and giving up. I want to prove some people wrong, that i can do it. Motivational advice and personal stories are greatly appreciated. Thanks so much.</p>

<p>177 sophomore PSAT, 185 junior PSAT.</p>

<p>1950 in January 2013, 2360 in June 2013.</p>

<p>I did absolutely no preparation for both of the PSATs and the first SAT. So my scores were fair; I couldn’t really complain about what I didn’t work for/care about.</p>

<p>Come April, I started worrying about my APs. So I studied for the 3 exams I took, and then finished out that month and a half (5s on all 3, too). Coming out of APs, I decided that I really needed to work on SAT stuff. After all, my dream is to go to some spectacular college. You know, the generic dream of many high-schoolers.</p>

<p>That left me with 2 weeks for SAT prep. If you come onto College Confidential, most people will point and laugh if you say that you left yourself with only 2 weeks. But I didn’t care much… I knew what I wanted and what I was willing to do.</p>

<p>My January scores were 670 CR, 630 M, 650 W. I was most disappointed with my M score; I consider myself to be a pretty great math student. So somewhere in February, I reconnected with an old math teacher of mine- one who scored an 800 on his M back when he was in high school (he’s probably in his late 20s, early 30s now). He showed me that the reason for my low (IMO) M score was that I was simply making stupid mistakes, and that I was skipping problems. A couple weeks of working with him, and I was hitting 750+ on every practice test.</p>

<p>So, that meant that I had 2 weeks to work on CR/W. I devoted the first week to CR and the second to W.</p>

<p>What I did for CR (and I notice that it seems to have caused quite a stir on College Confidential as of late) was that I found Noitaraperp’s CR method. Googling “How to Attack the SAT Critical Reading Section Effectively” will let you find it pretty easily. I want to take no credit away from Noitaraperp, but his/her advice boils down to common sense and raw logic. It should simplify your views of CR, making it less mysterious and more formulaic.</p>

<p>During this first week, I took the practice tests from the blue book, and ONLY did each individual test’s CR sections. So for example- I’d do all 3 of Practice Test 1’s CR sections, within like 5-10 minutes of each other, and then I’d score myself. The important thing- and I can not stress this enough- was that I reviewed all of my incorrect answers. I asked myself why I got the questions wrong, and I made absolutely sure that the correct answer seemed implicitly simple and obvious. My weakness for CR was always the reading comprehension; I’d like to say that I have a very good vocabulary/reasoning skills, so the vocabulary was never an issue for me.</p>

<p>If vocab is bad for you, I’d have to say- DON’T go out studying these absurd lists with thousands upon thousands of words. I’ll tell you right now that that is both ridiculous and impractical. For anybody who did use such lists (and had success with them), more power to you- but there are FAR more pragmatic methods of boosting your vocab. In particular, I would highly recommend studying Latin/Greek bases/roots. Most of the English language is derived from those. If you know a lot of them, you really can’t go wrong. Of course, this is not perfect, and you are probably bound to be thrown a few curveballs with words that don’t have Latin/Greek bases. Go with whatever feels right for you.</p>

<p>Writing is definitely the simplest section of the SAT (minus the essay). I did the same thing in the second week, but for writing. And it was easier to deal with too, being that there are only 2 multiple choice writing sections per test.</p>

<p>The writing sections test (and I really mean this) literally the same material every single time. It’s actually kind of funny. Go online and find a list of things that it’ll test. For example- you have idiomatic expressions, subject/verb agreement, adverbs vs. adjectives, improper comparisons, etc. Once you know the core of these issues, the test becomes almost sickeningly easy. If you can recognize even the slightest, most simplest of issues, you know that you are right. You just need to justify your decisions among choosing answers. It is also beneficial to know (on average) how many “no changes” or “no errors” you should be choosing. I haven’t done SAT prep since May, so I really don’t remember off the top of my head, but I believe it is somewhere around 4-5 per section (or around 20% of a section’s questions).</p>

<p>My essay received an 8 in June, and my multiple choice subscore for writing was an 80 (perfect). This meant that my essay dragged me down to a 770. But I would also like to admit that I did almost zero prep for the essay, so I got what I deserved. I have no worthwhile advice for the essay… sorry.</p>

<p>Math, then. Math could be hard, but it seems to be the easiest section for many people. I see way more 800s in Math than I do any other section, so I guess there’s that to inspire you. The concepts for Math are all simple. That’s the simple and brutal truth of it all. You <em>should</em> know all of the “material” for the Math section, assuming that you are a high school junior/senior. What makes it semi-difficult is how the questions are asked/worded.</p>

<p>I can only say that you need to take your time. Once more- the questions in Math <em>are not</em> terribly difficult. So, pace yourself. With practice, you will get better and better. In the prime of my practice, I could finish a section in 10-15 minutes, leaving me with all of the rest of the time to scan over my answers and finish anything I skipped.</p>

<p>If you’re anything like me, you’re getting a bunch of easies/mediums wrong, and then you’re scolding yourself for making stupid mistakes. Then again, you might be nothing like me, idk lol. But once you get your pace down pat, you should eliminate any superfluous errors. If hards are your weakness (and rightfully so), focus on the hards in your practice tests. A lot of them are recycled from test to test. Find shortcuts and strategies for them, because believe me- I ended up using a couple of them on test day. (Btw, I got one wrong in June, and it was a medium. As far as I’m concerned, that was a stupid mistake)</p>

<p>And for all of the SAT sections- if you’re shooting for scores of 700+ in each section- NEVER SKIP QUESTIONS!!! This part is big.</p>

<p>If you’ve read all of this, I’d like to salute you. I’ve written a lot here, and a lot of it I have posted around these forums (a lot). I figured I’d just write one big comprehensive “advice” post, and leave it be. </p>

<p>In the end, my scores in June broke down to 800 CR, 790 M, and 770 W. I had 2 wrong in CR (the curve is your friend!), 1 wrong in M, and 0 wrong in W (that damned essay). That means that I improved 130 points in CR, 160 in M, and 120 in W. In total, that’s a 410 improvement, from an already good score (YES, any score in the 1900s is good, and you should NOT be ashamed of that!).</p>

<p>What does this mean? In just two weeks (and just a bit of math tutoring months before), I improved my SAT score by 410 points. I’m now theoretically in the top 0.13% of all SAT takers, at least going by the Class of 2012’s scores. And please, I’m not showboating or bragging or anything immature like that…</p>

<p>…I’m just showing you that absolutely <em>anything</em> is possible. Spending your summer studying for the SAT is entirely commendable and noble, but you may not even need that. I did it in 2 weeks. Some people could possibly do it in 1 week, or even a few days. Others may need months.</p>

<p>Find a schedule that fits <em>you</em>. Never overwork yourself, and never discourage yourself. Improvement is generally gradual, not immediate. And make sure you’re going over your wrong answers!!!</p>

<p>In the end, the SAT is just a test. It’s only one part of your college application. I will not deny that it is a very big part of said application, but just remember- there’s a lot more to you than just a test score. (Dare I say that doing a lot of SAT prep shows great determination?)</p>

<p>Caerelum I find your story to be extremely inspiring. I studied for two weeks, albeit for the June subject tests, and got the scores I needed. I’m prepping for the sat for October and I’m studying by taking two practice tests a week and reviewing my answers. I got the same sophomore PSAT as yours and my junior PSAT was 190. My march sat was 2040 and I only need a 2200+ preferably 2250+ though so your story is really giving me hope.</p>

<p>Yup! Anything is possible.</p>

<p>A little bit of a correction to what I said above, though… I mentioned that the percentile I was in was the top 0.13%, but it’s actually the top 0.0013%. Just to give a little bit of perspective on what just 2 weeks of prep can give you!</p>

<p>I also did not say it above, but avoid extreme answers. General tip :3</p>