By: Contributor On: October 4, 2010 In: Applying to College, Testing Comments: 0

Many students want to improve their SAT scores before sending off their college applications. Although an SAT prep class may be the most obvious solution, there are actually many other ways of bringing up your SAT score that are a little lighter on the wallet.

Check out these six tried-and-true techniques to improve your SAT scores.

1. Take a class.

I know what you’re thinking: as if high school wasn’t enough work as it is, now I’m telling you to take another class outside of regular school hours?! I hate to break it to you, but it might be just the help you need to prepare. I can’t speak for everyone, but after my PSAT I decided to spend two nights a week doing an SAT prep course – and my score went up significantly.

2. Buy the book.

SAT prep courses are pricey and not everyone can afford them, but if you’re motivated enough to study solo, you may not even need the course – just an SAT test prep book. I recently took the GRE (it’s sort of like the SAT, but for grad school) and rather than investing in a class, I bought one of those big test prep books for about $30 and spent two weeks just going through all the information, sample questions and practice tests that it offered.

Although it was tough to motivate myself to sit and study every day, my final test scores went up significantly from my first practice test. And best of all, I spent way less money than I would have on a class.

3. Start a study group.

If you decide to skip a class and just practice at home using a book, a study group can be a good idea. You are likely going to be more motivated to sit down for your daily SAT study session if you have a friend by your side to share study tips with – just don’t distract each other too much!

4. Get a tutor.

If there is just one specific area that you know you are struggling with, it might make more sense to get a subject-specific tutor. Having trouble remembering some of that early algebra that you need? Get a tutor to help you review the basics that you’ll need to ace the SAT.

5. Practice, practice, practice!

Practice is a sure-fire way to improve SAT scores. Most people do not do as well as they would like on their first SAT practice test – and why should they? It’s not like we’ve been taking SAT-style tests since elementary school! Practice will help you no matter where you do it, whether it’s an SAT test prep classroom, completing SAT prep questions alone in your room, or taking a timed practice test alongside your study group members.

6. Relax.

Another simple tactic to improve SAT scores is just to relax! Some students get so freaked out that they choke and miss questions they actually know the answer to. A good way to alleviate that panic is to practice. It’ll get you used to the questions that will appear on the exam and give you a feel for how much time you have to spend on each section.

If you feel yourself stressing, pause and take a few deep breaths to get more oxygen flowing to your brain — you can’t improve your SAT test scores if you’re a frazzled mess!

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