Test-Taking Strategies
Establish a Target Score
There are several factors that determine what score you’d like to achieve:
  • What your baseline score is. If you score low, aim for the middle range. If you score in the middle range, aim a bit higher.
  • The amount of time you have to study before the test.
  • The average scores of the most recent freshman class at the schools you want to attend. This information is usually available from the schools’ admissions offices.
  • What else you need to do between now and test day. Remember, the SAT is one piece of the admissions pie. Don’t overprepare for that one piece if it means slacking off on your grades, application essays, or extracurricular activities.
Your target score should not be 2400—even if you have a realistic shot at that. The idea is to use your baseline scores to identify weaknesses and to determine what you need to spend the most time on as you study. Try to get away from the number. Focusing on a set number, especially an unrealistic target score, is counterproductive. We’ll return to this point when we discuss test anxiety.
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