You can ace the SATs!

get a good score on the SATsEvery year, students and parents plan for the SATs with a sense of dread. The good news is, it’s not that complicated if you know what to expect. Follow these steps to a better SAT score.

Learn how the test is scored. For example, it’s best to leave the most difficult questions blank. Each correct answer is worth one point. You get scored worse for answering a question wrong than you do for leaving it blank.

Start early. Begin preparing for the SATs at least six months in advance. This might sound very dull, but it will pay off in the end.  You can’t cram for the SATs. They’re designed to test how you think about and respond to new information. Starting early helps you build up your endurance. The SATs involve focusing on test taking for many hours at a time. The more you practice, the easier this will become.

Don’t overcomplicate your essay. Clear, concise writing is best. A well-written essay opens with a clear statement of position, followed with two to three examples that back up the statement, followed with a closing paragraph that ties everything together. Also, it’s much better to use short sentence with active verbs than long meandering sentences.

Build up your vocabulary. The more you read, the better writer you will be and the more words you’ll be able to identify correctly on the test. Read the New York Times or similar publications every day. It’s a great way to increase your vocabulary.

Be careful on multiple choice questions. The test writers often try to lead you down the wrong path in the multiple choice section of the test. Just take your time and read the question and answers carefully before choosing the right answer.

Have questions about the SATs? Admissions counselors from hundreds of colleges and universities are available to chat with you online.