It’s worth the time to improve SAT scores
Art by Accolade staff reporter Katherine Kim

After three to four hours of taking the SAT, students feel the relief of getting the test over with. This standardized test that students struggle to do well on is the best way of getting admitted to college. 

Because everyone knows how important the SAT is, they find ways to help themselves get a better score. Many high school students start practicing for these standardized tests as early as freshman year to build their stamina and help familiarize themselves with the questions. In addition, students attend after school SAT classes and take abundant practice tests to target the types of questions they consistently miss. 

But why is everyone so concerned about getting a high score on the SAT? 

According to blog.prepscholar.com, the better you do on it, the better you look compared to the rest of your class, which is a huge asset in college applications.

And it’s an even bigger benefit if you get a high score. If a college admissions officer were to accept only one person from you and another competitor with a similar application, it is guaranteed that the officer would choose the person with a better SAT score. 

As a former Valencia High School student who eventually chose Pepperdine University to attend college, my sister had a similar experience. Her counselor told her that she would have to have an excellent SAT score of around a perfect score to compensate for her low 3.7 unweighted GPA if she wanted to get into competitive schools. So on her next crack at the SAT, she got a 1550, which helped her get acceptance letters from colleges like New York University, Northeastern University and Colgate University. Currently, as a senior, I am now in a similar situation. 

Without the SATs, the admissions officers would solely rely on your GPA, essay and  recommendation letters from teachers and counselors for those who are applying to private schools.

Even if you get an unsatisfactory score of around 1100 the first time, don’t give up. Just get a better score and show colleges that you have the potential to improve in a short amount of time. Of course, it will not be easy. I had to commit many hours after school to study for the test even though I had a lot of homework to do. I didn’t really have a choice to slack off on practice tests because I started practicing late into my junior year. 

As I was looking for practice tests, I heard from a senior friend that Khan Academy really helped her improve. Khan Academy partnered up with the College Board to provide practice questions and full-length practice tests for free online. So I made an account, and Khan Academy used my PSAT and past SAT scores to make personalized questions for my needs. This process helped my score in math to improve by 100 points and 50 points in reading and writing. It targeted the question types that I kept getting wrong and tested my knowledge until I fully understood those questions. 

Now, I’m so glad that I am satisfied with my SAT score and I feel confident to apply for my dream schools. So even though it’s hard right now, in the future, you’ll be thankful for all the preparation you did because you’ll get a score that you’ll be proud of.

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